Emergency department tech inspired by motor registries

Westmead Hospital's Dr Matt Vukasovic with the draft emergency department floor plan for the new hospital building

The head of Westmead Hospital’s emergency department has asked consumers for their thoughts on a range of technology for the new hospital building.

Westmead Hospital’s director of emergency medicine Dr Matt Vukasovic and emergency nurse manager Donna Robertson chatted with Westmead Redevelopment consumers at their regular bi-monthly meeting last week. He asked for feedback on a range of topics, including check-in kiosks and concierge desks, similar to those in in Service NSW centres.

Matt said: “we are keen to incorporate new technologies, supported by staff systems, so we can improve the patient experience.

“We need to trial things now in the existing emergency department, before we move into the new hospital building.”

The consumers shared their experiences and gave feedback on everything from the point of arriving at the emergency department, to admission, treatment and discharge.

“We’re taking inspiration from public and private companies who have redesigned their physical space and processes to improve the consumer experience. We’re looking into a range of check-in kiosks that allow patients to enter their symptoms and provide approximate waiting times before they are seen,” Matt said.

Buzzers, SMS messaging systems and TVs to advise patients of estimated waiting times are also being explored.

Consumer Evert Oeveren said: “I like the idea of buzzers. There is nothing worse than sitting and waiting your turn. You can go for a walk without worrying whether you should rush.”

Matt said various check-in kiosks could also take measurements like blood pressure and weight, while allowing patients to enter data like GP details and Medicare card numbers, without having to go to the reception window.

The consumers were supportive of further investigation into these types of technologies and looked forward to future updates.

Matt said: “technology is one of many tools we can use and this group has rightly noted that any new technology cannot replace people. We will continue to work with our consumers to make sure we get it right – from signage, through to the language and processes our staff use at every point of a patient’s journey through the emergency department.”

The consumers will be provided with an update on progress at their July meeting.

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