Four days before the Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre was due to vaccinate thousands of Year 12 students, there was one major problem: the check-in kiosks essential to the entire operation couldn’t be delivered.
For most people that would have been a disaster. But Christina Igasto, chief digital health officer and chief information officer for Western Sydney Local Health District, is not most people.
“We hired seven airplanes to get all the different kiosks that were provided to other customers around Australia. So from every major city – Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane – we flew them in overnight,” she explained.
That’s just one example of how Christina’s small team of Digital Health Solutions experts were able to pull together what would normally be a three-month operation in a little over a week.
“I really want to give a big shout-out to the colleagues, partners and vendors who all contributed to this major achievement,” she said.
“We needed to go fast from concept design to implementation and commission in nine days. So I made a conscious decision to select a small team that I knew was going to be able to deliver fast, handling ambiguity and changing environments.”
And go fast they did – installing 58km of data cabling, 42km of electrical cabling, 9km of security cabling, 812 power points, 618 data ports, 320 tablets, 230 computers, 135 CCTV cameras, and other mind-boggling feats in incredible time.
“What we have achieved is just remarkable. It’s so impressive what the team has achieved, and it makes me extremely proud that we actually are working on a bigger piece, getting everyone vaccinated so we can get back to our daily lives,” Christina said.
One reason the team could make things happen so quickly is they had all previously worked together on the new Central Acute Services Building at Westmead Hospital.
Christina explained that working in a healthcare setting requires expertise beyond the technical know-how of information communication technology (ICT).
“To be really successful in an operation as in a hospital, you need to understand healthcare, you need to have your technical knowledge, and then you need to make assessment of the risk and ask the right questions, making sure that the implementation of ICT follows the procedures and the work models for the clinicians,” she said.
It’s fulfilling a purpose, and that’s the reason why I work in healthcare. I started in healthcare 20 years ago and that’s just where I belong.”
When Christina’s work on the vaccination rollout is complete, she’s looking forward to returning her focus on Westmead Health Precinct and soon Rouse Hill Hospital.
But for now she has a very personal reason to play her role in improving vaccination rates.
“On a personal level, when COVID lockdown is over, I will visit my friends and family back in Sweden. I will also bring my son, who’s locked out in Sweden, back to Australia,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to when international students can come back.”