The NSW Telestroke Service (NSW TSS) is a Statewide 24/7 hyper-acute stroke service providing time critical care to patients of regional and remote NSW. The aim of the service is to save lives and reduce disability from stroke.
NSW TSS is a Virtual Hub and Spoke model hosted and operationalised from Prince of Wales Hospital. The NSW TSS implementation was a collaboration between the NSW Ministry of Health, SESLHD, the Agency for Clinical Innovation, and eHealth.
NSW TSS connects 23 regional and remote hospitals, from nine local health districts with a stroke Specialist Neurologist via video conferencing technology enabled on the Workstations on Wheels.
Advanced brain imaging with CT perfusion has been optimised to facilitate on-site assessment, diagnosis, and reperfusion therapies closer to patients’ homes. This integrated model of care ensures efficiency of access to best practice stroke care to patients. The NSW TSS continues to enhance the rural health workforce through training, development, and support.
The NSW TSS offers a sustainable integrated model of care incorporating patient and clinician education, and provision of high-quality care with Statewide policy development.
Additionally, through comprehensive data collection, patient outcomes were evaluated, and ongoing quality improvement activities continue to be facilitated.
Secretary’s Award – Integrated Value Based Care Award Finalists
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The Aboriginal Got It! (AGI!) program is a cultural adaption of the mainstream state-wide program Got It!.
AGI! is designed and led by local Aboriginal people from the South West Sydney area.
The program involves the delivery of a 10-week therapeutic program to Aboriginal children (aged 3-9yrs) and their extended family members. It aims to improve the capacity of caregivers and schools (preschools and primary) to identify and respond to children’s social and emotional needs in a culturally responsive way.
AGI! utilises a culturally adapted model of care that infuses Aboriginal traditional healing practices and ways of being with western clinical practices.
The program has been guided by a multi-stakeholder steering committee consisting of membership from the NSW Ministry of Health, SWSLHD Mental Health Executive, SWSLHD Aboriginal Health Unit, Department of Education, Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
An Independent evaluation (Williamson et al., 2022) measured the feasibility, acceptability, and indicators of impact. Qualitative and quantitative findings showed that the cultural adaptions reflected the localised need and that the AGI! program had significant positive impacts on the emotional regulation of children, parenting practices, and responses of school staff to emotion-based behaviours.
Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare Award Finalists
This project involved providing clinical pharmacy services virtually for 70 beds in three Mental Health (MH) units without onsite MH clinical pharmacy services. They were in Tamworth, Manning, and Maitland hospitals.
With medicines known to carry a higher incidence of errors and adverse events than any other healthcare intervention, MH pharmacists are faced with many challenges. They are tasked with a multitude of duties to ensure safe and best practices. They include obtaining the best possible patient medication histories; reconciling medications on admission; allergy and adverse drug reaction documentation; regular multi-disciplinary (MDT) ward round virtual attendance; provision of medicines information and prescribing guidance; dosing and administration advice; medication reviews; patient counselling; and discharge medication reconciliation.
The feedback from a staff survey was overwhelmingly positive, with patient medication review, drug information and discharge planning ranked as the most beneficial interventions for improving patient care.
Consequently, this project acknowledged the crucial role of pharmacists in ensuring best practice in medication management to reduce risks of medication misadventure for MH consumers.
Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services Award Finalists
Everyday across the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), 95,718 children consume greater than 3.5 serves of unhealthy (discretionary) food in their school lunchbox (ABS, 2018; ACARA, 2022).
Decreasing such food intake by 600 kilojoules (kJ) per week would reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes prevalence, resulting in healthcare savings of up to $1.35 million (Ma, 2016).
Supporting parents and caregivers to pack their children healthier lunchboxes to yield personal and health system benefits is a considerable challenge.
Within four years, the team delivered a comprehensive program of research comprised of studies to co-design (Sutherland, 2019a), pilot (Sutherland, 2019b), optimise (Brown, 2021b) and scale-up an innovative school-lunchbox program, providing critical evidence to guide population health service provision in HNELHD and NSW.
Results indicate SWAP-IT significantly improved student dietary intake (Sutherland, 2021a); reduced child overweight and obesity (Barnes, 2021); is acceptable to parents and principals (Sutherland, 2021b); is cost-effective (Sutherland, 2021b); and can be successfully scaled-up.
As an innovative and scalable digital lunchbox intervention, SWAP-IT aligned with the ‘Health Research and Innovation’ category and the ‘Future Health’ Strategic Outcomes 1 (co-design), 2 (integrated care), 5 (advance and translate innovation with partners) and 6 (value-based healthcare).
Health Research and Innovation Award Finalists
Until the Lumos program, there was an information gap that limited our ability to address important health system research questions. Lumos now addresses this by providing data from NSW general practices (GPs) linked to data held by NSW Health.
This delivers new opportunities for data-driven evidence to positively inform health decisions and increase collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers, and clinicians.
The program has been evolving through a highly successful partnership with NSW Primary Health Networks (PHNs). Today it has over 600 GPs in all 10 PHNs and provides highly valued data and analytics to support primary care and NSW Health priorities. The Lumos program proudly possesses a high degree of social license and actively contributes to current priorities in patient care services across the health system.
The program shines a light on patient journeys with the key purpose of achieving better patient care. The Lumos program aligns strongly with the NSW Future Health strategic outcome, “Research and innovation, and digital advances inform service delivery”. It also addresses other strategic outcomes of Future Health.
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide (Kohl, 2013) and has been estimated to cost the Australian economy $555 million (Ding, 2016). Ensuring children are sufficiently active is essential for future chronic disease prevention (Craigie, 2011) and could prevent 8,000 deaths each year in Australia (Stephenson, 2000). School-based physical activity policies are effective in improving child activity (Pate, 2011).
Since 2015 the NSW Department of Education (DET) has mandated schools deliver 150 minutes of physical activity to students/week (NSW Govt, 2015). However, only 31% of schools meet this guideline (Nathan, 2022).
We aimed to improve the health outcomes of children by supporting schools to increase their delivery of physical activity.
In consultation with key stakeholders, we developed and rigorously tested an effective model of service delivery - Physically Active Children in Education (PACE). Through the conduct of multiple randomised controlled trials, PACE has increased teacher’s delivery of physical activity by greater than 40 minutes per week (Nathan, 2020; Nathan, 2022).
PACE aligns with the ‘Keeping People Healthy’ category and the Strategic Outcome 3 of the Future Health Strategy – “People are Healthy and Well” addressing a health issue of international significance – physical inactivity. Additionally, it also focuses on establishing healthy physical activity patterns early in life.
Keeping People Healthy Award Finalists
The massive surge in COVID-19 cases in December 2021 meant pathology testing centres were struggling to cope. Many people using RAT kits started presenting to hospitals, concerned about their symptoms and test results. Emergency departments and Ambulance services were overwhelmed by concerned patients who, with the right information and support could have been safely cared for at home.
To support the mandatory reporting of RAT results, the State Operational Data Store (ODS) Program and COVID-19 Care in the Community Teams at the NSW Ministry of Health collaborated with Service NSW (SNSW) to deliver a digital solution using the Patient Flow Portal and Service NSW’s website.
This enabled people to register a positive test and screen themselves for risk, and automatically linked them to care providers.
It also immediately relieved pressure on the system, provided reassurance and resources for worried patients.
This was delivered in a record turnaround of two weeks.
In-built screening and patient matching tools within the Patient Flow Portal identified at risk groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cases and those with chronic conditions, automatically referring them to community health teams to administer potentially life-saving anti-viral medications.
This project aligns to Future Health by:
Keeping People Healthy (COVID-19) Award Finalists
The NSW Telestroke Service saves lives and reduces disability for stroke patients in rural and regional NSW.
Telestroke is a virtual care initiative providing access to ground-breaking time-critical treatments previously limited or unavailable due to geographical barriers.
Telestroke connects local Emergency Department clinicians to stroke specialists and is available 24/7 via video consultations.
Patients receive treatment closer to home and are only transferred if they need more complex treatment.
Additionally, advanced brain imaging and unified communications technology enables Telestroke specialists to support local clinicians to deliver advanced stroke treatments.
This project supports the NSW Health Future Health Strategy by providing world class clinical care, where patient safety is the number one priority.
Patient Safety First Award - Finalists
Patient-centred care that is trauma-informed is increasingly recognised as an approach that improves patient experience (Wilson et al., 2020).
Language is an integral component of integrating peer support workers and staff with lived experience into a team to reduce stigma, provide a safe work environment and improve collaboration.
The goal was established to improve staff awareness and knowledge regarding the impact of our words and how they reflect our attitudes. All the while bringing it in line with a patient-centred, recovery focused and trauma-informed approach.
The program, Words Matter Wednesday, was introduced to facilitate discussion about alternative non-judgemental words that are used during general conversations, written notes and in handover. Especially, when describing patients and within the multi-disciplinary team to ensure respectful and dignified communication.
Additionally, the program saw the establishment of a Thankyou Tree. A place staff can write positive words to each other.
The ward culture was improved by connecting all disciplines and reducing patients being defined by their illness.
People and Culture Award Finalists
The Last Days of Life: Paediatric and Neonatal Toolkit (Toolkit) recognises the human experience and best practice interventions required to ensure the patient and family remain the central focus leading up to a death of a child.
Previously in NSW there was no paediatric and neonatal guidance document available to support and empower clinicians to partner with patients and families.
The Toolkit equips clinicians with increased knowledge and confidence to work in partnership with families to transform the experience of a child dying.
This standardised approach empowers clinicians in acute care or hospice settings. Supporting a proactive but not prescriptive approach including information and communication strategies accommodating the needs of these families.
Building on further from the Clinical Excellence Commission’s adult patients Last Days of Life tools, the paediatric and neonatal toolkit has been created by a multidisciplinary team of neonatal and paediatric clinicians, nursing, allied health and pharmacy staff from Sydney Children's Hospital Network, Hunter New England, Clinical Excellence Commission and consumer feedback.
Transforming Patient Experience Award Finalists
Julie is a proud Wiradjuri woman and is passionate about her work as Manager of Aboriginal Employment. Julie holds strong and trusted relationships with Aboriginal staff and works collaboratively with colleague’s right across the district to continually increase the number of Aboriginal people employed in a diverse range of roles.
Julie is passionate about improving the futures of Aboriginal people and their families and enjoys seeing the benefits flowing through to the upcoming generations.
Julie’s work has led to Hunter New England Health achieving the highest rates of Aboriginal employment in the state.
Negotiating, navigating and developing internal sustainable relationships at all levels, along with close engagement with Aboriginal communities, has been key to the success.
All outcomes in Julie’s role have been achieved with minimal human and financial resources and her success stems from believing that a large Aboriginal workforce is key to addressing the health disparities that occur within Aboriginal communities.
As a result of Julie’s work, Hunter New England Health is proudly recognised as the employer of choice for 14 Aboriginal nations including transient Territory and interstate Aboriginal people.
Collaborative Staff Member of the Year Award Finalists
Volunteer of the Year does it for the youth of tomorrow
Garth Hungerford has been an integral member of the Wagga Wagga community as a health advocate and advisor.
Contributing his time and knowledge of the local community to multiple councils, committees and working groups within the Murrumbidgee Local Health District as a community representative.
Garth has been an active member of the Wagga Wagga Local Health Advisory Committee as committee chair.
In response to a concerning spike in youth suicide within the Riverina region, the Wagga Wagga Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC), under the leadership of Mr Garth Hungerford, has designed and developed a silicon wrist band which has a QR Code, allowing the user to visit associated mental health help and wellbeing websites.
These bands have been produced in a variety of vibrant colours attractive to all ages including the Aboriginal flag colours.
The LHAC has worked with local Wagga Wagga High Schools and the local media to distribute these wrist bands to local school children in Years 7 and Year 8.
Approximately 5000 wristbands have been distributed to date with significant interest by local students.
Volunteer of the Year Award Finalists
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