solution that allows for both patient infotainment and the ability to access clinical systems at the bedside. Head of Hills Health Solutions Peta Jurd said the plan was to become a major player in technologies that enable the delivery of care to hospitals, residential aged care and into the community and home. “We are not an infrastructure player and we don’t at this stage plan to move into the delivery of clinical services,” Ms Jurd said. “We’ve been very strategic in the targets that we’ve identified.” Ms Jurd, who has a background in the private hospital sector, said Hills saw an opportunity in the fragmented healthcare market to provide integrated solutions. “If you add to that the great fortune to have a brand like Hills, which people, particularly of an older demographic who are our key customers in healthcare, they have a very great fondness for Hills and it translates into quality and reliability. “We saw that the timing was right, because of the analogue to digital change. Particularly with Merlon, which has been very successful in having a strong IP solution, we are ahead of some of the others.” A recent big win for the company was a contract
with SA Health to design and build an IP-based nurse call system for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, which is scheduled to complete construction in 2016. The hospital is expected to see more than 80,000 admissions per year.
“What you are getting is rationalisation in those markets and getting larger customers with large portfolios who want to deal with more than a family business.” The RAH contract will see more than 8500 nurse call devices go into the 800-bed hospital. “This new system is designed for patient comfort and assurance and to empower nurses to provide prompt and effective responses to patients’ calls,” Ms Jurd said. “It will provide critical end user patient safety and staff functions via instantaneous visual and audible alert and messaging.” Hills is also concentrating on the aged care sector. Like the private hospital sector, residential aged care is going through a period of rationalisation that Hills plans to target with its product range.
“What you are getting is rationalisation in those markets and getting larger customers with large portfolios who want to deal with more than a family business,” Ms Jurd said. “We saw after doing quite extensive due diligence that there were some good quality businesses that were under-capitalised and could benefit from a corporate coming along. “With the three acquisitions, we have the customer relationships and we have the opportunity to pull through the other solutions that Hills has.” Ms Jurd said Lincor has been installed in hospitals around the world covering an estimated 30,000 beds, and the Australian and New Zealand markets are prime targets as public hospitals begin to invest in patient infotainment. Hills’ home state of South Australia, for example, has rolled out bedside patient infotainment in all of its public hospitals. “They have a very nice clinical dashboard where you can see a range of personal information about the patient and some biometric information, as well as some extracts from the clinical record. All of that is available on the touchscreen. They have a quality product and we are looking to install that with one of the leading hospital and aged care providers.”
Wearable tags to track the elderly on the go An RFID-based real-time location system that can pinpoint exactly where elderly people are in their homes and track their movements was a finalist in the HISA Apps Challenge, announced at the HIC conference in Melbourne. Designed by 14-year-old Melbourne student Dhruv Verma, the PROactive Technology for Elderly on the GO or PROTEGO app is a concept aimed at providing a cost-effective way of monitoring the elderly at home that can alert family or carers if the person has not moved or has potentially had a fall. Dhruv has designed the real-time location system using RFID tags and wireless antennas as a cost-effective alternative to other systems such as wristbands or pendants, which elderly people are liable to take off or forget to wear. The signals emitted by RFID tags are strong enough to be picked up by the antennas and are able to pinpoint the exact location of the person in the home in real time. “And it is cost effective,” Dhruv said. “The tag costs about eight dollars and the antennas cost eight or nine, and you can probably wire up the whole house for a few hundred dollars. “My solution is an RFID tag as part of a self-adhesive waterproof patch. I’ve got a prototype but my vision is to make the tag even smaller and use smaller button batteries so it can be applied comfortably onto the elderly person. “The battery life is about six or seven months and the patch you would probably need to replace every two weeks.” The concept also involves an app for smartphones or tablets so family members have a view of the layout of the house and can see exactly where the older person is in the house.