Hospitals and Clinics

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite on patient safety and health systems improvement

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite is Founding Director of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science and Professor of Health Systems Research at Macquarie University.

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite is a leading health services and systems researcher with an international reputation for his work investigating and contributing to systems improvement.

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) recently announced it will award the 2021 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australia’s healthcare system to Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite.

Health equity

For 30 years the Humpty Dumpty Foundation has worked to help bridge the gap that often exists between available resources and actual needs through the donation of paediatric medical equipment. Humpty, like many other charitable initiatives, began with a humble goal. Its Founder and Executive Chairman, Paul Francis OAM, together with Patron Ray Martin AM, set out to raise some money to paint the walls of the Children’s Ward at Royal North Shore Hospital.

To date more than 440 hospitals and health services have shared in over $85 million of essential and lifesaving medical equipment for sick and injured paediatric patients.

Future of minimally invasive surgery

Macquarie University Hospital is the first hospital in Australia to have three robotic surgical systems. It remains the busiest centre for robotic urology in New South Wales and has rapidly growing programs in other areas. What is behind the Hospital’s success?

Conjoint Associate Professor Walter Kmet, CEO of Macquarie University Hospital, says that the story of robotics at the Hospital is driven by its academic health sciences identity.

Founder makes mobility reality

Shawn Wigham as Managing Director of Hospital Products Australia (HPA), runs a successful business providing equipment to Australia’s health care teams in aged care, hospitals and day-hospital procedure centres.

But what most may not be aware of, is his rapid growth since starting the business in 2013 having just been in health care a few years earlier. Being part of a 2nd generation health care family, Shawn learnt from his father on site and at trade show visits overseas. Prior to HPA, he spent 2 years working in fit-outs of operating theatres, neo-natal and general population ICU, throughout being more fascinated with what he saw.

Australia’s Nursing Crisis Snapshot

“Nursing, already under pressure, is reaching breaking point due to the pressures of COVID-19 and a disjointed healthcare system, including the acute, primary and aged care sectors”, says Kylie Ward, Australian College of Nursing CEO adding, “We must act now to protect our nurses and healthcare; the time has come for a national reckoning on nursing in Australia.”

Australian nurses cannot continue to work under the extreme pressure they are currently operating under – the impacts are mounting.

The almost 400,000 Australian nurses are a constant presence in every one of our major life milestones, national emergencies and global crises. The nurse of today holds a science degree, possesses highly technical training, valuable medical opinions, front-row expertise, is an effective trainer, and is skilled in population and systemic thinking. But the pandemic is inflicting a major emotional and physical toll on nurses.

In this “Perspectives” special, Australian Health Journal spoke with 4 nurses on the challenges they or nurses in their circle have experienced, the key issues as well some of the opportunities. These nurses come from national leadership & policy, large scale workforce management, a final year student completing over a year on placement across 6 Melbourne Hospitals and a NSW based ICU nurse stranded in Mexico, unable to return to a critical role in nursing to an already strained team due to incoming quotas.

While the issues are challenging, there are strategies that can be put into place to ease the pressure, to support nurses, and nursing care in Australia. These are discussed by the the 4 nurses.

– Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN CEO, Australian College of Nursing

– Adjunct Professor Alanna Geary FACN ACN Chair of Workforce Sustainability Policy Chapter & Chief Nursing & Midwifery Officer, Metro North Health

– Natalie Reyes, NSW based ICU Nurse Currently stranded in Mexico

– Hayley Pollock, Final Year Bachelor of Nursing Student & ACN Emerging Nurse Leader

GP lens on Aboriginal health and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic rolled through 2020 and the first half of 2021 without major lockdowns in regional communities, however recently that changed. The concern is now on vaccination rates in communities across Australia.

First Nation Aboriginal communities are at greater risk of outbreaks and transmission with low vaccination rates because of supply issues and changing advice rather than hesitancy.

Continuity of Care under COVID-19

Series 3, Episode 1

Under the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Healthcare system has handled the public health crisis by monitoring and responding to challenges in supply chains, testing & tracing of new infections and stock piling of essential equipment.

The public has largely responded by practising social distancing, understanding how hand hygiene can spread contagion and recently installing the COVIDSafe mobile application. Public health messaging has been largely effective and literacy improve, to combat the dangers of misinformation.

To open up access to medical advice during the pandemic, in March the Australian government issued MBS item codes for telehealth consultations, for advanced practice nurses as well as GPs and other specialists.

According to AMA President Dr Tony Bartone, as of mid-May 2020, around 10 million Medicare-funded telehealth services have been provided, either over the phone or via video, a significant majority of which have been provided by GPs and other specialists since the Medicare telehealth items were introduced in March.

However in recent months, the health system has mounting concerns on:

  • a reduction in general practice visits for testing, investigation or immunisation
  • lower rates of elective procedures resuming since being halted
  • reduction in laboratory testing
  • reduction in treatments and diagnosis of chronic and acute conditions
  • access to, and continuing to take medications

Those with pre-existing conditions have been urged to keep appointments and routine treatments to maintain their health.

Industry has taken action such as the newly formed Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC). The 15 health organisations forming CCC are an Australian first national communication collaboration of Peak Bodies, Industry and Healthcare Organisations coming together to stress the importance for people to continue monitoring their health and maintaining their regular care.

This Australian Health Journal episode on the continuity of care was produced with commentary from the following health industry associations and organisations: APNA – Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, RACGP, Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA), West Cessnock Medical Practice, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Medicines Australia

Co-design, adoption and interoperability

In October CEBIT AUSTRALIA held it’s yearly technology related conference. Australian Health Journal’s reporter Anne Dao spoke with health technology thought leaders on what needs to be consider in Co-Design, Adoption and Interoperability of technology aided healthcare delivery

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in clinical trials and clinical care

Australian Health Journal today continues a major episode release on Technology Aided Healthcare Delivery, with part 2 on Artificial Intelligence in trials and clinical care. Interviews were captured at AI, Machine Learning & Robotics in Health conference in October organised by Informa Australia.

The 2019 John Deeble Lecture and Panel Discussion

The John Deeble Lecture and Panel Discussion was established by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association to commemorate the life and achievements as distinguished scholar, health economist and health policy leader, Prof John Deeble AO.

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