Testbed for innovative healthcare technologies opens its doors

Funding nears $10 million

The multi-million dollar Centre for Health Innovation, which is being used as a testbed to facilitate the research and development of new healthcare technologies, offficially opened in Melbourne today.

The $10 million centre is a joint initiative of Bayside Health, the Baker Heart Research Institute, Monash University, La Trobe University and industry partners.

Located at Alfred Hospital, it provides a single point of linkage for industry, health care providers and technology developers for collaborative research in the field.

One of the first technologies used in a mock ward at the centre is a voice-controlled communication device for doctors and nurses.

Developed by Vocera Communications, the technology demonstration will illustrate the speed and ease with which staff can communicate, increasing the amount of time spent with patients and improving patient care and safety.

The Vocera Communications System enables instant, hands-free conversation throughout a hospital building or campus.

It consists of system software and a lightweight, voice-controlled Badge.

Worn on a clinician's lapel, pocket or on a lanyard around the neck, the Vocera badge allows staff to call one another by simply pressing the button and stating the name of the person required.

Clinical staff often spend time running from one part of their ward to the other in search of help or to assist a colleague.

But with this technology, Users can call one another by role, group, or telephone number.

Calling by role connects a user to a recipient with the selected title, for example a duty nurse, while group calling connects a user to a particular department.

Each of these methods can enable more efficient communication between staff members as the user does not need to refer to duty rosters or on-call charts before seeking assistance.

Text messages and alerts can also be sent to the LCD screen on the back of the Vocera Badge, and users can request the location of each other as the system can detect a user's proximity to wireless access points.

This direct line of communication allows clinicians to easily complete processes such as bed and staff allocation, arranging for consultations, accessing databases, and ordering and providing medication.

As well as R&D the centre will demonstrate technologies for improved patient safety and more efficient health care practices. A key focus will be identifying team-based systems and processes that can reduce human errors and ensure effective communication.

In the centre clinicians and managers from hospitals around Australia can view, test and evaluate a range of products for consideration in their own facilities.

Facilities in the centre include a mock ward, operating theatre, testing lab and training facilities to be used by under-grad and post-grad nurses and doctors.

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More about Children's Hospital at WestmeadCollaborative ResearchHealthcare TechnologiesHeart Research InstituteHeart Research InstituteIBM AustraliaLa Trobe UniversityLa Trobe UniversityMilestoneMonash UniversityMonash UniversitySpeed

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