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Critically ill patients at Geelong Hospital are getting life-saving treatment faster than ever thanks to Australian-first technology which puts Geelong at the forefront of intensive care, Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said today.
Ms Pike said Geelong's Intensive Care Unit is leading the country as the only Australian ICU to have introduced cutting edge Smartcard technology to patients' bedsides.
"The most vulnerable and critically ill will now get the best life-saving care quicker than before, with specialists able to access vital patient details at the bedside with the simple swipe of a card," Ms Pike said.
"This has replaced the old paper-based system and is helping cut the time doctors spend chasing patient details, analysing and updating them by having them instantly available."
Ms Pike said each ICU staff member has a Smartcard that quickly activates the bedside system comprising a compact 17-inch flat panel display, a keyboard and a mouse connected to a database network.
"This ensures seamless, consistent access to information and saves critical time for staff," Ms Pike said.
"Even if it saves just five minutes at every ICU bedside per day, that's thousands of precious minutes gained every year in an environment where saving one minute can be the difference between life and death."
The Member for Geelong, Ian Trezise, said it was just one of several recent additions in a $1 million-plus blitz putting Geelong Hospital at the leading edge of regional health care.
"In addition to the Smart Card technology, Geelong Hospital has also been allocated $1.1 million for new digital radiology and x-ray equipment, making it the first regional hospital in Victoria to have this advanced system," Mr Trezise said.
"It will mean two x-ray rooms will be digitised so that images traditionally produced on film will now be available immediately on computer, allowing the quickest diagnosis possible."
The Member for Geelong Province, John Eren, said this complemented the state-wide Picture Archive and Communications Systems (PACS) project, which will allow all Barwon Health doctors to view digital images and diagnostic results via computers throughout the health service.
"Nuclear medicine and radiology examination results are also set to enter a new era, as Barwon Health embarks on the PACS pilot project that will see images traditionally available on film, converted to digital images," Mr Eren said.
"This will allow high-resolution pictures to be available almost immediately and will reduce the time staff spend managing physical film as it is transferred throughout the hospital.
"This raft of technological advances is helping speed patient diagnosis and treatment throughout Barwon Health and further demonstrates the Bracks Government's commitment to bringing cutting edge health care closer to where people live."
Last updated: 31 March 2008
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