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St Stephens Hospital Hervey Bay – First HIMSS Stage 6 Hospital in Australia

8 December 2014

Congratulations to St Stephen's Hospital Hervey Bay who has been recognised as a leader in IT practice in healthcare in Australia by the international health information body HIMSS Asia Pacific. In a first for Australia, the hospital has been given one of the highest grades of award for its use of IT systems to improve patient care that HIMSS Asia Pacific can bestow. The award was presented in Hervey Bay, on Monday 8 December.

St Stephen's Hospital Hervey Bay officially became the first hospital in Australia to achieve HIMSS Stage 6 after an onsite inspection by HIMSS Asia Pacific representative, Dr George Margel. This is the first time an onsite inspection for a HIMSS stage 6 evaluation has taken place. St Stephen’s Hospital Hervey Bay is the first fully integrated digital hospital in Australia with 29 Cerner solutions and 20 devices being implemented.

Officially opened by the Hon. Peter Dutton, MP - Minister for Health and Minister for Sport on Monday, 8 December, he stated that the Federal Government was very proud to invest $50 million into this project. With the hospital's focus on management of medications, St Stephen's has the ability to save the Australian taxpayer through a reduction of hospital admissions based on complications from medications (currently approx. 2,500 admissions a week across Australia). 

Richard Royle, Executive Director UnitingCare Health (UCH), stated that this was an exciting first for the country and a great opportunity for the Fraser Coast to lead healthcare delivery in Australia. The hospital was also delivered on time and within budget. With no requirement for handwriting in the hospital, it decreases the opportunity for interpretation errors and allows nurses more time at the bedside with the patients. 

Anne Cross, CEO UnitingCare Queensland, stated that the hospital will contribute to a new delivery of care in Australia and that they are proud to be delivering better outcomes to the people on the Fraser Coast.

The hospital opened its doors to the first patients on Monday, 13 October 2014. 

The Federal Government Grant was received by UCH from the Hospital and Health Fund for Rural Health Initiatives in 2012 had the following clear objectives:

  • Providing additional essential health services to the Fraser Coast (with the larger elderly population) and lightening the load of the public health system
  • Ensuring St Stephen’s Hospital provides the best possible patient care in a highly efficient method through the provision of the latest in e-health technology
  • Benefiting the community through additional employment and training opportunities

One of the most significant areas that UCH was able to drive with the opening of St Stephen’s Hervey Bay is regulatory changes at the Federal level for PBS charging and at the State level for electronic medications management, specifically using digital signatures for prescribing.

Cerner congratulates UCH on what they have achieved at St Stephen’s Hervey Bay with their fully integrated digital hospital. We are proud to be their partner in this venture.  Cameron Burt, Cerner’s Vice President and Managing Director, Cerner Australia/New Zealand stated that the work that has been accomplished, especially in relation to medications management, integration of medical devices and connecting the hospital to the community, will bring many benefits to healthcare in Australia and is a great proof point for medications management in the country. 

St Stephen’s Hospital Hervey Bay is part of UnitingCare Health (UCH), a not-for-profit private healthcare provider owned by the Uniting Church. UCH is the only not-for-profit provider of private hospital services on the Fraser Coast.

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