Appl Clin Inform 2021; 12(05): 1135-1143
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1740190
Case Report

Managing the Digital Disruption Associated with COVID-19-Driven Rapid Digital Transformation in Brisbane, Australia

Amalie Dyda
1  School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
,
Magid Fahim
2  Metro South and Integrated Nephrology and Transplant Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland, Australia
3  Centre for Health Services Research, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
,
Jon Fraser
4  Digital Metro North, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia
,
Marianne Kirrane
4  Digital Metro North, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia
5  Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
,
Ides Wong
6  Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
,
Keith McNeil
6  Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
,
Maree Ruge
3  Centre for Health Services Research, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
7  Digital Metro North, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Queensland, Australia
,
Colleen L. Lau
1  School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
8  Research School of Population Health, ANU College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
,
Clair Sullivan
3  Centre for Health Services Research, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
4  Digital Metro North, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has forced rapid digital transformation of many health systems. These innovations are now entering the literature, but there is little focus on the resulting disruption.

Objective We describe the implementation of digital innovations during the COVID-19 response of Australia's largest health service, Metro North (in Brisbane, Queensland), the challenges of the subsequent digital disruption, how these were managed, and lessons learned.

Methods Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian state of Queensland created the Queensland Digital Clinical Charter, which provides guidance for the development of digital health programs. The guidelines utilize three horizons: digitizing workflows, leveraging digital data to transform clinical care, and reimagining new and innovative models of care. The technical response to COVID-19 in Metro North is described across these horizons. The rapid digital response caused significant disruption to health care delivery; management of the disruption and the outcomes are detailed. This is a participatory action research project, with members of the research team assisting with leading the implementation project informing the case report content.

Results Several digital innovations were introduced across Metro North during the COVID-19 response. This resulted in significant disruption creating digital hypervigilance, digital deceleration, data discordance, and postdigital “depression.” Successful management of the digital disruption minimized the negative effects of rapid digital transformation, and contributed to the effective management of the pandemic in Queensland.

Conclusion The rapid digital transformation in Metro North during COVID-19 was successful in several aspects; however, ongoing challenges remain. These include the need to improve data sharing and increase interoperability. Importantly, the innovations need to be evaluated to ensure that Metro North can capitalize on these changes and incorporate them into long-term routine practice. Moving forward, it will be essential to manage not only the pandemic, but increasingly, the resultant digital disruption.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

No human subjects were directly involved in this project.




Publication History

Received: 06 July 2021

Accepted: 15 October 2021

Publication Date:
01 December 2021 (online)

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