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July 2019

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The University of Melbourne’s Professor Vassilis Kostakos, PhD candidates Chapman Wang and Gabriele Marini nurse unit manager Ajimon Joy and project manager Clare McCarthy.

Northern Health gets its teeth into patient flow

Northern Health is the first health service in Australia to adopt Bluetooth technology to help improve patient flow.

The reliable operating room research project kicked off at Northern Hospital Epping in November in partnership with the University of Melbourne school of computing and information systems.

University of Melbourne PhD candidate Gabriele Marini ran the project.

It took off in an operating room where staff carried Bluetooth beacons to help researchers track their movement.

The project is now expanding to patients as well.

‘The purpose of the next phase is to track the location and movement of both staff and patients,’ Mr Marini said.

‘The resulting data will be used to identify metrics and correlations between patient and staff movements.

‘This set of metrics will then allow us to generate a statistical model to define and, potentially, predict how well the theatre schedule will function in the future.’

All data collected is anonymous and only the identification number of the beacon and the role covered by its holder are recorded for the purpose of the analysis.

‘It’s about creating an awareness and looking at our systems and practices from another perspective,’ said project manager Clare McCarthy.

‘This project will get people talking about improvements, safety and technology, while creating learning opportunities and building resilience.

‘That’s the hallmark of high reliability,’ she said.