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Future of the Emergency Department: Views from Australia & New Zealand – Part I

September 19, 2011 - 2 Comments

Welcome to the first in a series of posts from the Cisco Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) healthcare team.

We’ll be providing regular news and insights from the region covering healthcare issues as well as the role of technology in supporting them.

This is the first of a two part video series on the future of the emergency department.

At a Digital Hospital Design conference hosted by Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) and chaired by Brendan Lovelock, head of the healthcare practice for Cisco ANZ,  industry spokespeople and medical specialists shared their views on how they envisaged the emergency department in the future.  Watch our video summary on what they said.

Opinions are differing on why emergency departments are crowded.  Some maintain that emergency departments are catching cases that could be managed by GPs or community health care services.  Others such as Dr. Sally McCarthy, President of Australian College of Emergency Medicine disagree.  According to McCarthy, research indicates that overcrowding is due to a growing general population as well as increasing numbers of elderly patients requiring emergency treatment. She also points to research suggesting that continuing improvement in health services also means that there are a higher number of therapeutic interventions available.

Effective communication practices are essential with this growing demand.  Emergency departments are complex offering 24/7 services provided by multiple groups of personnel .  These include different management levels, various specialized roles, ongoing staff rotations and often a large locum workforce.  Research has shown that one patient in treatment can talk to up to 13 clinicians or medical staff with up to 45 nurse interactions.

Healthcare specialists indicate that technology is already impacting the way that clinicians are working within emergency departments.  Clinicians are starting to talk to patients remotely using video conferencing infrastructure as well as accessing pre-existing medical histories or patient test results prior to consultations.  Professor Johanna Westbrook, Director of the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, University of NSW highlights that allowing clinicians to have ready access to patient information can assist in reducing the level of interruptions during treatment.

Commentators also suggest that the continuing development of systems and processes that monitor location and availability of clinicians, medical equipment and the medical journey of patients will enable treatment to be provided more quickly and with less stress for everyone.

Take a look at the commentary in our video offered by leading medical and research specialists Dr. Sally McCarthy and Professor Johanna Westbrook with industry designers and technologists including Dr. Ian Forbes Adjunct Professor, Health Architecture and Planning (GHAAP), University of Technology, Sydney, Katerina Andronis, Director Health, Deloitte Australia and Dr. Brendan Lovelock, Healthcare Lead, Cisco, who discuss their views on the future of the emergency department.

What’s your view on the future of the emergency department?

How are you seeing these kinds of medical services evolving?

Join our Digital Hospital Design LinkedIn group
Download the full presentations from the conference including references to research
Visit our photo gallery of speakers and delegates

View Part II of the Future of the Emergency Department:Views from Australia & New Zealand

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