Industry News

NSW Health seeks best change management practices for virtual care integration

Health Infrastructure, an agency under NSW Health that delivers infrastructure solutions and services, is set to review global best change management practices to deliver digitally enabled health facilities in the state.

This research, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University and partner health services, has recently received backing from the National Health and Medical Research Council with a A$1.27 million (about $840,000) grant.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to Health Infrastructure chief executive Rebecca Wark, every health facility requires “some level of change management” to help hospital staff adapt to new facilities or new models of care.

Wark hopes that their research on best change management practices will guide the implementation of virtual care technologies in their health facilities, from initial clinical needs planning, health facility planning, design and construction, through to asset repurposing.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The review of global best practices in change management for virtual care integration is part of Health Infrastructure’s Smarter Hospital project. Following this phase, the agency will develop and pilot specialised change management approaches in redevelopment projects across NSW. This in turn will provide an evidence-based approach to implementing change in future virtual care projects.

“Specialised, tested methods to support the management of change will ensure that our future health facilities are equipped to integrate the use of innovative technology with in-person care to provide high-quality care for communities, particularly those in rural and regional NSW,” Wark further explained.

The project also aims to develop new methodologies that target specific challenges of integrating virtual care and which can be replicated in future projects.

The integration of virtual care across NSW is being guided by a five-year NSW Virtual Care Strategy. Released early this year, the strategy directs the sustainable scale of virtual care and its comprehensive integration as a safe option across the state. It focuses on six strategic areas: patient interactions, remote care and monitoring, care planning and coordination, clinical collaboration and innovation, patient self-management and autonomy and a digitally capable workforce. A task force has also been established to oversee the strategy’s implementation.

ON THE RECORD

“By fully integrating virtual care with face-to-face services, health systems will be positioned to offer better care for patients, realise efficiencies and provide optimal healthcare experiences,” commented Reema Harrison, Macquarie University associate professor and research lead from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

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