Free WiFi and mobile notifications to transform emergency department experience

Patient Joseph Tomicic and
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Blacktown Hospital’s emergency department will have an even greater focus on care and compassion under a new trial aimed at improving the patient experience.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard today announced a six-month trial at four hospitals that will provide better amenities and more information to patients and their families.

“Going to an emergency department to seek care or to support someone who needs help is a stressful and even traumatic experience,” Mr Hazzard said.

“While the NSW health system already provides some of the best clinical care in the world, the NSW Government is committed to doing everything we can to make the experience itself more welcoming.”

The trial will begin in November at Blacktown, Lismore, Liverpool and Nepean hospitals.

“Some of the best ideas are often the simplest – this is about making people feel as comfortable and cared for as possible and providing families and friends with a better experience while they wait for updates on their loved ones.”

The trial will introduce a patient experience role to greet patients and their loved ones on arrival at emergency, and provide information throughout each stage of their care, including key information on where to go, what to expect during the visit and real time updates on where they are in the queue.

Associate Professor Reza Ali from Blacktown Hospital said he was thrilled with the announcement.

“We want Blacktown to be the gold standard of emergency management in the world,” he said.

“This is the opportunity to make a big difference because the experience of the patient in the front end is the experience that the patient is going to live with for the rest of their lives.”

Local member for Riverstone Kevin Conolly, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, nurse unit manager Camille Dooley, member for Seven Hills Mark Taylor,clinical nurse consultant Helen Zaouk, emergency medicine director Associate Professor Reza Ali, director allied health Jacqueline Dominish.

This role will complement the great work already done every day by emergency department staff, freeing up our doctors and nurses to focus on clinical care and will support more than 16,000 nurses, midwives, doctors, allied health professionals and hospital support staff which have been added by the NSW Liberals and Nationals since coming to government.

Some of the other initiatives under the trial include:

 Access to free Wi-Fi, mobile phone charging stations, additional power points, water, refreshments and other essentials aimed at improving the waiting room experience;

 Tailored information sent to the patient’s mobile device about what to expect during their stay in the emergency department specific to their visit, and fact sheets on their particular condition/ treatment options as well as ongoing care after discharge, all available in multiple languages;

 Professional development for emergency department clinical staff on delivering a better patient experience.

The trial is based on successful models in other organisations such as Service NSW as well as hospitals overseas. NSW Health has partnered with Service NSW and the NSW Customer Service Commission to learn from their experiences in delivering improvements to customer service.

In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing a record $22.9 billion in health, representing a $1.1 billion increase on the 2017-18 Budget.

This includes $19.2 billion towards improving services in hospitals in NSW this year.

An investment of $759 million for acute patient services will fund an additional 40,000 emergency department attendances in addition to 2.9 million already provided.