IBM to deploy touch-screens to SA hospitals

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IBM to deploy touch-screens to SA hospitals

SA Health will deploy 3500 touch-screen devices to deliver clinical information, television programs, movies and internet access to patients’ bedsides.

They will be supplied by Telstra and deployed by integrator IBM under an eight-year, $36.7 million deal announced by state Health Minister John Hill today.

The 17-inch devices will reach eight metropolitan hospitals and four country hospitals in South Australia by next October, beginning with Noarlunga Hospital in southern Adelaide next week.

The touch-screen terminals will run on the Windows 7 embedded operating system and feature smartcard readers that allow clinicians to access clinical applications, patient records and test results.

Clinical applications are delivered as a secure, Microsoft terminal services session through SA Health’s local and wide area networks.

When clinicians withdraw their smartcards, the terminals revert to functioning as an entertainment unit, offering patients packages that range in price from $6 to $18 a day.

Hill said South Australia was the first Australian state “to put electronic clinical applications at patients’ bedsides on this scale”.

A similar initiative at the Mater Health hospital group in Queensland delivered television, movies, games, audio books, patient information and internet access via 660 touch-screen units earlier this year.

In Sydney, the Macquarie University Hospital offered internet access, television, clinical records, meal ordering and personal video conferencing through Siemens HiMed bedside units.

Telstra’s executive director of government Chris Pearce said video content for the devices would be curated by a working group of SA Health and Telstra staff on an ongoing basis.

The rollout follows a five-year pilot involving 100 beds at the 257-bed Lyell McEwin Hospital in northern Adelaide.

An estimated 12,000 patients per year were involved in the pilot, which Pearce said had “gone particularly well”.

By allowing clinicians to electronically order tests and medication, South Australia’s chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said the terminals could improve safety and reduce “the risk of errors with the traditional handwritten approach”.

The terminals will be deployed at the Noarlunga, Lyell McEwin, Royal Adelaide, Modbury, Queen Elizabeth, Repatriation General, Women’s and Children’s, Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Whyalla and Mount Gambier hospitals and the Flinders Medical Centre.

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