St Stephen's Hospital clinical nurse manager Larnie Wright with mock patient Jan Wieland in the prototype patient room.
St Stephen's Hospital clinical nurse manager Larnie Wright with mock patient Jan Wieland in the prototype patient room. Stephanie Kay

Patients will be able to Skype loved ones from new hospital

NOBODY likes a hospital stay but if you fancy electronically ordering your meals from bed or Skyping your loved ones during your recovery, Hervey Bay's newest hospital has got you covered.

The latest and greatest in hospital technology is being tested out by the facility, set to be Australia's first fully integrated digital hospital, before its September opening.

A prototype patient room has been unveiled at St Stephen's sister hospital in Maryborough and it boasts everything from high-tech patient entertainment to electronic medical records.

General manager Leanne Tones said with construction nearing completion at the Hervey Bay site, the prototype room had been set up to road-test electronic equipment placement and movement.

"Now that we are moving closer towards the fit-out of the patient rooms at Hervey Bay we wanted to make sure things are ready, and that people and the new equipment can move easily and safely around our rooms," she said.

"Doctors, nurses and staff from across UnitingCare Health have been heavily involved in the design of the new hospital and its electronic systems and this prototype room enables us to see the benefits of their invaluable contributions in action."

The prototype room features a computer built in to cabinetry beside the bed and attached to a mobile arm above the bed is a multi-purpose patient entertainment system, with a screen and keyboard.

The 96-bed, $87.5 million private hospital was partially funded by the Federal Government's health and hospitals fund in the regional priority round.

Digital patient room

  • Clinical staff will use the bedside computers to access and enter data into a patient's electronic medical record (EMR)
  • EMRs will replace the traditional paper bedside medical chart and will contain a record of a patient's history
  • Monitoring systems will automatically send patient observations to the EMR
  • Only doctors and nurses associated with a patient's care are able to access their information
  • The patient entertainment system (PES) will allow patients to watch television and videos, Skype, electronically order meals and access educational information about their condition or illness
  • Doctors will be able to use the PES screen to show patients their X-rays and other scans