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Australia’s Northern Territory Rolls Out New Health System

The government of Australia’s Northern Territory is ensuring the State’s Hospitals have the best IT systems available to care for patients. The government has successfully rolled out the second stage of its AU$ 259 million patient health record system ‘Acacia’ – which is the biggest project of its type ever undertaken in the NT.

The health system is a digital clinical care software and is now in use at Gove Hospital and Katherine Hospital. In addition, the system is being rolled out at the Top End Renal Services, the latest health service to transition to the new Acacia system for patient administration.

Acacia has rolled out consecutively to four renal dialysis sites across the Top End in November and will occur in Central Australia in early 2023. Staff on site now use Acacia to capture same-day data on dialysis treatments.

The new Acacia system will allow an NT Health clinic nurse in a remote Aboriginal community, or a doctor on an intensive care ward in Darwin, access to the same patient record in real-time and what care has been provided in other care settings.

The Chief Minister and Minister for Health stated that the State Government aims to ensure that the health system is fresh, modern, and sustainable (i.e., that it can provide the best patient care possible). He noted that through the system, the region’s hardworking doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can access information on patient allergies, alerts and medications making treatment decisions faster and with less risk.

The Acacia System is currently operational in Katherine and Gove Hospitals, and at renal clinics in the Top End. Having a Territory-wide electronic patient database will allow NT Health to better support our transient and most vulnerable Territorians, he added.

About the Acacia Digital Health System

Acacia is a contemporary digital health system that was developed with the intention of replacing NT Health’s current obsolete major systems and integrating a range of other specialised clinical systems to deliver a single, secure, electronic health record across hospitals, primary health care centres and community health services. The system aims to enhance patient and client outcomes, and continuity of care, by providing essential clinical information at the point of care.

In late 2020, the Acacia Read-only Electronic Patient Record was launched. Clinicians in hospitals, remote clinics and urban health facilities across the Territory can now view the medical history, results and treatment of patients – information that was previously only accessible via multiple systems.

In the second half of 2021, the rollout of patient administration, emergency triage, operating theatres and maternity functionality commenced. Acacia has resulted in over 150 specialist ICT jobs over the life of the program with most of these professionals engaged through Territory enterprises.

Under the Digital Territory Strategy blueprint, the Northern Territory aims to enable digitalisation via five core directions:

  • Growing Business and Jobs
  • Connecting Territory Communities
  • Building Digital Skills
  • Enabling Smarter Communities
  • Improving Government Services

With regard to the last direction, the key focus areas will be to:

  • Deliver modern government digital services that are customer-centric and simple to use.
  • Reform systems and establish government ICT applications on efficient and sustainable platforms.
  • Strengthen digital foundations for government and the community to effectively support and enable the digital transformation journey.
  • Maintain secure government systems to protect Territorians’ data.
  • Make online identity verification transactions with the government easy.
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