Realising the benefits and avoiding the pitfalls of automation: A state-wide clinical service delivery initiative

Dr Rachel Brough1, Ms Kristen Morris1

1Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme – Queensland Health, Cannon Hill, Australia

This presentation gives an overview of the allied health team’s role in developing eApply, an online application system now in use at Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS).

eApply was developed to improve the efficiency of the assistive technology (AT) application process at MASS for:

  1. Prescribing therapists, by eliminating the ability to accidentally omit key information and providing a user-friendly interface that reduces completion time of applications
  2. MASS, by replacing manual checking of form data with automated algorithms and reducing the number of applications requiring clinical review
  3. Clients, by tracking their own application progress and reducing delays.

A critical success factor for the project was the involvement of the allied health team in all stages of development, from specifying requirements to the vendor, through to supervision of testing and acceptance of the system. Clinical judgement was essential in determining where automation is effective, and where it is not realistic.

The allied health team conducted a systematic review of clinical work flow processes and developed written specifications for these. The review and specifications document were incorporated into the design of eApply by the program vendor through a process of collaborative development and testing.

The allied health team also played an important role in organisation change management, helping staff at MASS navigate the perceived threat that automation poses to job security.

Implementation of the eApply online application resulted in improvement in both internal and external processing times of applications. The project also resulted in identifying other areas of work practices that could be improved as well as increased opportunities to focus on other areas of work for all staff.

The process of involving the allied health team in the lifecycle of the project to translate clinical decision making can be applied by other organisations interested in converting aspects of clinical practice into a digital system.

Biography: To be confirmed

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