SA hospitals: digital analytics tool to improve staff planning, patient outcomes

Monday, 06 September, 2021

SA hospitals: digital analytics tool to improve staff planning, patient outcomes

A new Digital Health CRC (DHCRC) project aims to enhance workforce planning and improve patient outcomes at South Australia’s major public hospitals.

Led by DHCRC participants the University of South Australia and SA Health, the project will provide and evaluate digital analytics tool that can provide advance notice of emerging risk of adverse events in healthcare environments.

The South Australian public health system will apply advanced data science techniques to support clinical and executive decision-makers, which includes optimising patient data analytics to create value for health consumers and stakeholders.

The project, which will aim to help issues such as ramping, suicide prevention, medication and falls incidents, will begin in Central and Southern Adelaide Local Health Networks clinical settings — the two largest in the state with a preliminary focus on general medical and mental health departments.

In the pilot phase, the project team performed research on the preliminary predictive harm algorithm development to more effectively inform safety, quality and risk management strategies related to patient medication strategies using 18 months of data from the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, explained Professor Marion Eckert, Director of the Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre at Uni SA. The phase is now being expanded to include falls risk and code blacks.

The digital tool will use existing software frameworks to build a visual, interactive program that will be accessible and reported via a dashboard summary for clinicians and administrators.

“This will allow them to view real-time insights that describe risk exposure in the hospital setting and produce their own assessments and predictions in real time to forecast special considerations for safety measures to be implemented,” Prof Eckert said.

Digital Health SA Director of Strategy and Architecture Alastair McDonald said the technology will be used to ensure the continuity of safe and quality care.

“Our Local Health Networks face a number of operational challenges in response to a population with increasing physical and mental health care needs,” McDonald said.

“This research project will help us form solutions and represents the importance of our partnership with the DHCRC.

“It allows us to team up with leading academics and be supported by the CRC’s Commonwealth funding, so we can use advanced digital technologies to support our workforce to maintain world-class care.”

DHCRC CEO Dr Terry Sweeney said the new SA project was closely aligned with the DHCRC’s focus on accelerating research into real-world application.

With patient safety incidents in Australian hospitals costing an estimated $4.1 billion during 2017–18[1], this critical research will deliver significant results for patients, in addition to a number of commercial drivers for the South Australian health system,” Dr Sweeney said.

“The ability to seamlessly predict risks in a hospital setting is powerful, and we look forward to this project delivering key evidence and scaling more broadly across South Australia and nationally.”

[1] The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care:

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