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Adelaide healthcare network digitises manual processes

The Central Adelaide Local Health Network has digitised manual processes in more than 20 speciality areas to improve patient experience and alleviate the workloads of frontline staff

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The Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) has digitised manual processes in more than 20 speciality areas to improve patient experience and alleviate the workloads of healthcare staff at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and SA Dental.

In the initiative undertaken together with Personify Care, a local healthcare startup, healthcare protocols were converted into “digital patient pathways” and deployed to patients in under four weeks.

A digital patient pathway is the set of specific steps a patient needs to take before and after their procedure or treatment, in preparation for their admission or appointment, or as part of their recovery post-discharge.

The Personify Care platform takes those steps and digitises the manual processes that traditionally are paper-based or conducted via phone calls. This includes things that a patient needs to do, such as fasting or recovery exercises, or things a patient needs to know, such as bowel preparation, and assessments a patient needs to complete.

While many healthcare IT implementations require support from IT vendors, Personify Care’s platform has a drag and drop pathway builder that allows health services to define digital patient pathways in accordance with existing clinical protocols and administrative workflows.

This allows health services to remain in control of their digital patient pathways which they can update directly via the platform as clinical guidelines or workflows change. This can be done directly within the platform, without the need to rely on a vendor or internal IT.

The onboarding of digital patient pathways is supported by the Personify Care customer experience team that includes nursing and clinical staff who have successfully supported health services across Australia and internationally to deploy new pathways within two to four weeks.

Personify Care said its platform ensures all data is managed in accordance with local privacy and security requirements and adopts a range of best-practice security measures including Australian-based data storage, strong encryption, and multi-factor authentication.

In the past year, the platform has been used to deliver over 6.2 million patient interactions via digital patient pathways across a range of health services and clinical settings in Australia and New Zealand.

At The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, implementing a direct access endoscopy digital pathway has enabled frontline healthcare workers to clinically screen patients for eligibility for a direct access pathway and share guided bowel preparation instructions in advance of their endoscopy procedure, among other tasks.

This has reduced patient wait times by 71%, as well as the administrative burden on clinical staff with 40% of patients now able to access their procedure without a manual pre-admission phone call from nursing or administrative staff.

“Personify Care has enabled us to rapidly implement new patient pathways within four weeks, without needing to change existing clinical protocols,” said Paul Lambert, executive director for digital design at CALHN. “These pathways are already freeing up our teams to deliver high-value care, identify risks earlier, and implement new models of care for better health outcomes for South Australians in the future.”

The work between CALHN and Personify Care was supported by the Go2Gov programme established by the department for innovation and skills in the South Australian government to encourage and support local companies and businesses to bring innovative solutions to government agencies.

“The outcomes for the healthcare system and patients speak for themselves – and we’re excited to see a South Australian startup achieve such outstanding success and be able to prove the validity of their software with a large reference customer,” said David Pisoni, minister for innovation and skills.

Personify Care has doubled its Australia-based team in the past 12 months to meet the demand for its platform and is actively recruiting to support further growth next year.

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