The Southern District Health Board has appointed IT specialist Inde Technology to the consortium designing the Dunedin Hospital, the first digital hospital in New Zealand.
It will be collaborating with three other partners – civil engineering consultancy WSP, smart building specialist Torque IP and property developer Lendlease – for the hospital’s initial design phase.
According to a media release, Inde will focus on enabling the integration of various digital technologies, including those for managing inpatient and outpatient flow, IT network design, cloud infrastructure, telephony, audio-visual design, as well as real-time digital location and wayfinding technologies.
In particular, Inde will be incorporating wayfinding technology which uses patients’ smartphones to communicate with the building’s systems via a geolocation app. It can connect with a digital signage platform to guide people directly to their destinations within the site.
WHY IT MATTERS
The 421-bed digital hospital in South Island’s Dunedin City is the largest health infrastructure project in the country.
For CTO Rik Roberts, Inde’s role in the hospital’s design is not about “employing technology for technology’s sake”. “[T]his is about changing the way healthcare is delivered to improve health outcomes and enable innovation for the benefit of patients, while also giving hospital workers better experiences”.
The Dunedin Hospital, according to the Southern DHB, represents the “future of hospitals in New Zealand, where thoughtful, modern design and innovative technology are harnessed to deliver improved health outcomes for patients and provide more tailored support to health professionals”.
The Inde team is now working closely with the hospital’s staff to know their needs and learn how technology will enable them.
THE LARGER TREND
Inde has been working with the Southern DHB since 2018. It has brought to them the services of Citrix and Workspace and has assisted its transition to the Citrix cloud.
Its latest design contract came after the Southern DHB issued a tender last year inviting IT providers to help it build a “highly mobile and paper light” digital hospital. The health board said it aspires to get a Level 6 accreditation from HIMSS for its upcoming hospital.
The Dunedin Hospital is being delivered in several stages over a 10-year period. Its construction is slated to begin in 2025, to be overseen by the Ministry of Health.
In August last year, the Southern DHB and the Ministry of Health signed a memorandum of understanding with tribal organisations, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, for its commitment to design, build, and operate the Dunedin Hospital as an “inclusive” facility. Their partnership recognises the long history of the Kāi Tahu, the principal Māori people of South Island, in the hospital’s launching site.