How Ballarat Community Health Successfully Delivered a New System to Improve Patient Outcomes During a Global Pandemic
Ballarat Community Health (BCH) has implemented a technology solution that minimises manual tasks and reduces the use of paper forms, helping to ensure the organisation’s energies are spent where they are needed most – providing exceptional care for their clients and the community.
The new system, which is also helping to improve connections with other health agencies and develop a more comprehensive reporting system, makes it easier for the teams at BCH to work more efficiently, saving administrative time, allowing focus to land solely on clients and ultimately improving patient outcomes.
In March 2020, BCH alongside MasterCare, were gearing up to establish and implement this new system. However, no one could have predicted what was about to happen, as suddenly the COVID-19 pandemic was on Australia’s doorstep, impacting businesses and bringing many aspects of normal life to a screeching halt. Within a few short weeks the borders were closed and the state of Victoria was in strict lockdown. The ‘normal’ way of working was no longer available.
But, BCH and MasterCare found a way to move forward, together forging a path toward better patient outcomes and better ways of working.
Dee Webb, Project Manager at Ballarat Community Health spoke about the impact of COVID-19, saying:
‘Working through COVID-19, especially in the early days, was really challenging. It not only impacted the client-facing community health environment, but it also impacted the project work as face-to-face meetings were substituted with remote working – which was a huge change for everyone involved, leading to a period of huge adjustment.”
The project was officially able to begin in June 2020, when the lockdown restrictions eased slightly and the Government guidelines permitted travel to Ballarat for face-to-face meetings. However, as time went on and lockdowns were re-introduced intermittently, the initial challenges of remote work on the project continued. Over the following few months, both teams worked extensively to collaborate virtually to deliver the project.
MasterCare provided ‘train-the-trainer’ sessions from Feb 22 – Mar 3, 2021 and further information sessions were provided as well. Fiona Miles from MasterCare (a former Health Information Manager herself) and Dee Webb, BCH Project Manager also facilitated several process workshops remotely to finalise processes ahead of the end user training.
End user training was conducted to ensure a smooth go-live period (26 July – 3 September).
Fast forward to today and the teams are successfully using the system. BCH is now keen to explore how they can enable outreach workers to spend more time with patients. The regional community health provider will be one of the first MasterCare clients taking part in a pilot starting late 2021 for Connect, a mobile application enabling nurses and other care staff to update patient records on the go.
Dannielle Walker, CFO and Project Sponsor at Ballarat Community Health commented:
“I am really proud of how the BCH team worked together and worked collaboratively with the MasterCare team to keep the project on track. It is a really amazing achievement to deliver a new EMR platform whilst managing the challenges of a global pandemic.”
“Our patients and our community will see major improvements in service delivery thanks to this new and innovative way of working.”
Michael Davies, CEO of MasterCare commented:
“As an organisation, we relish working with community health and care providers to improve patient outcomes. It has been really rewarding to see how a truly collaborative project has been delivered on time and led to great outcomes for Ballarat Community Health and their community.”