NSW Health seeks best change management practices for virtual care integration

Health Infrastructure, an agency of NSW Health, provides infrastructure solutions and services. It is currently reviewing global best management practices in order to provide digitally enabled healthcare facilities.

The National Health and Medical Research Council recently awarded a grant of A$1.27million (about $840,000) to support this research in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University and other partner health services.


Rebecca Wark, chief executive of Health Infrastructure, says that every hospital requires some level of change management to allow staff to adapt to new facilities and new models of care.

Wark hopes their research on the best change management practices will help them implement virtual care technologies in their facilities. This includes initial clinical needs planning, planning and design of their health facilities, as well as asset repurposing.


Health Infrastructure’s Smarter Hospital project includes a review of international best practices in virtual care integration change management. The agency will then develop and test specialised change management strategies in redevelopment projects throughout NSW. This will allow for an evidence-based approach to the implementation of change in future virtual care projects.

Wark explained that specialised, proven methods for supporting the management of change will ensure our future health facilities can integrate the use innovative technology with in person care to provide high quality care for communities, especially those in rural and regional NSW.

This project also seeks to develop new methods that address specific problems of virtual care integration and can be replicated in future programs.

A five-year NSW Virtual Care Strategy is guiding the integration of virtual care in NSW. The strategy, which was released early in the year, directs the steady growth of virtual care and its complete integration as a secure option throughout the state. It is focused on six areas: patient interactions and remote care and monitoring; care planning and coordination; clinical collaboration and innovation; patient self-management and autonomy; and digitally competent workforce. To oversee the implementation of the strategy, a task force was also established.


Reema Harrison, Macquarie University associate Professor and research leader from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, stated that “by fully integrating virtual healthcare with face-toface services, health system will be in a position to offer better care for their patients, realise efficiencies, and provide optimal healthcare experiences.”


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