Inside the Rouse Hill Hospital research: paving the way for innovative healthcare

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Head of Department Physiotherapy Katherine Maka and team have conducted landmark research into models of care to contribute to the development of Rouse Hill Hospital.  

The team’s research focused on illuminating the intricate needs of the Rouse Hill community and paving the way for the development of the cutting-edge hospital through collaborative discussion involving Rouse Hill community members and healthcare professionals.

Emphasis was placed on understanding the unique needs, characteristics, and expectations of the local community.

We wanted to really understand a good canvas of the Rouse Hill community, for example was there an interest in digital health?

Katherine Maka, Head of Department Physiotherapy, Westmead Hospital.

Partnering with Macquarie University and the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, the research focused on existing models of care.

This included a meticulous analysis of both grey and academic literature, encompassing thousands of articles and studies to understand the latest in innovative models of care.

Innovative evidence-based models of care were identified, including consumer-focused care, digital hospitals, digital hospitals, Hospital in the Home (HITH), integrated health, virtual hospital, as well as specialist hospitals.

However it was not limited to academic pursuits, with the team embarking oncommunity consultation initiatives.

Focus group sessions were conducted with over 51 consumers and 35 providers, spanning various demographics and healthcare disciplines.

These sessions provided invaluable insights into the community’s preferences, common comorbidities and expectations from healthcare services.

The engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community held particular significance.

Katherine highlighted the importance of genuine dialogue and inclusivity in the process.

Through yarning circles, we heard their needs and perspectives on what would make a welcoming and inviting hospital experience for their community. 

This holistic approach emphasised tailoring healthcare services to meet the specific requirements of the community, including the importance of culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal communities.

The result of these efforts includes a series of publications shedding light on various aspects of healthcare delivery and community needs.

“We hope that the findings will inform how Rouse Hill is built, in terms of the different models of care, both from a consumer and clinician perspective.”

The Rouse Hill Hospital is part of the Western Sydney Local Health District which is responsible for managing public healthcare across 120 suburbs, spanning 780 kilometres across Blacktown, The Hills Shire, Cumberland and Parramatta. Rouse Hill Hospital will become part of a leading network of health services which provide comprehensive integrated care and community-based services.