2019 High Value Health Care Awards Finalists

The High Value Health Care Awards reinforces our focus on High Value Health Care and ensures we recognise work that accomplishes the Triple Aim of meeting population health needs at the highest quality and lowest cost per capita.


Patients as Partners

Recognising that patients are partners in their health care, this award aims to acknowledge projects/programs which promote collaboration between the patient and the health care team to improve health.

CANcierge project team

Technology in health care has been evolving rapidly, and simultaneously cancer diagnosis and treatment is increasingly complex while health literacy remains poor. To address this, the CANcierge project team developed an app, providing easy access to relevant and reliable information, tools and resources to guide patients through their treatment experience.

Chasing Butterflies project

This project aims to improve the transfer of care for vulnerable families, from maternity to Child Health Nursing Services, and increase engagement of clients for the 6-8 week Primary Health Record infant check. Defining roles and responsibilities has led to a smoother continuity of care between services, with 75 per cent of universal health home visits attended within fourteen days of birth.

Empowering Patients on Discharge

The Empowering People on Discharge pilot project aims to improve health literacy in the hospital environment. Staff and consumers supported the design of strategies to improve patient-centred discharge information, including education in health literacy awareness, training staff in ‘teach-back’ communication techniques and implementing a plain English ‘Going Home Checklist’.

Improving End of Life Care for Indigenous Australian Families in Neonatal Intensive Care

Improving the cultural care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) families at and around the time of a neonatal death, can improve their journey through the health care system at a time of incredible sadness. This project aims to educate staff about cultural differences for these families and includes the re-design of visitor policies and resources.

Delivering Integrated Care

This award recognises integrated systems that deliver truly connected care, using the correct information and analytics to inform this integration.

Clozapine Echo Clinic

Clozapine is an effective anti-psychotic drug used in the management of treatment-resistant Schizophrenia. Side effects from Clozapine can cause life-threatening cardiac changes and NSW policy recommends annual cardiac echo screening. This project has improved patient safety through the establishment of a cardiology echo outreach clinic at Morisset Hospital.

CoLon Database team

The colonoscopy direct access database (CoLon) is integral for the direct access colonoscopy (DAC) service to deliver seamless, timely and appropriate care to patients. It interfaces existing clinical information systems with a single platform used for coordinating all aspects of the patient journey, from referral to colonoscopy.


MyNetCare is a co-designed model of care which enables professionals from primary, acute, NSW Ambulance and community services in the lower Hunter region to work effectively together and integrate care for patients. People with complex health needs receive care from various public and private services and connecting these providers is the key to truly integrated care. MyNetCare allows the patient to identify professionals in their ‘virtual healthcare team’ and authorise them to connect.

Patient Safety First

This award acknowledges a commitment to putting patient safety first every day.

HNE LHD Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prevention Program

The VTE Prevention Program aims to improve compliance with VTE risk assessment, appropriate prophylaxis and reduction of hospital-associated VTE. The application of the VTE Prevention Framework, including a risk assessment tool, has enhanced patient’s safety.

REACH Program - HNE Clinical Governance

This project aims to improve recognition and response to clinical deterioration, through increasing patient awareness of and access to, the escalation program known as REACH. Patient access to REACH increased by 44 per cent across all 39 inpatient facilities, through the implementation of various strategies including site visits, webpage development, staff resources and SMS notifications to patients on admission.

The EBET project -'Every Baby Every Time'

The EBET project was initiated in 2018, in response to a review of Maternity RCA investigations across the District, between January 2015 and December 2017. Accurate interpretation and documentation of fetal heart rate patterns by cardiotocography is fundamental to the provision of safe, high quality care. The aim of the EBET project is to improve clinicians’ ability to accurately interpret CTGs, in context of the whole clinical picture.

Keeping People Healthy

The Harry Collins Award has previously commemorated the outstanding commitment and passionate contribution Mr Henry (Harry) Collins. Harry made a particularly outstanding contribution to the "Clean Hands Save Lives" Campaign prior to his death in November 2007. This campaign is an example of a Keeping People Healthy initiative. This award aims to acknowledge similar innovative projects and programs.

Paediatric Outpatient Flu Clinic

This team identified that chronically ill children would benefit from influenza immunisation. This patient group had not previously been targeted for yearly influenza immunisation within the children's hospital setting. A roving clinic, operating 2 days per week within the paediatric outpatient department, was designed to capture eligible patients during their clinic appointment, with 529 immunisations given to high risk children.

The Online Choices Program

Online lunch ordering systems which allow parents to order their child’s lunch, are rapidly being adopted in NSW schools. The systems provide new avenues to promote good health and support parents, students and school communities to make healthy lifestyle choices, reduce obesity and prevent future chronic disease. The Online Choices Program aims to encourage the selection of healthier items by redesigning online canteen menus. The Program is being delivered in 53 HNE and NSW schools, reaching over 25,000 students.

Yira gal gaba (Teeth Smile)

A partnership was formed between HNE Oral Health and Gomeroi gaayggnal Centre to develop a strategy, enabling self-determination of indigenous families to improve oral health. Dental decay is 50 per cent higher among Aboriginal Australians compared to non-Aboriginal Australians, and this oral health promotion program has increased the delivery of oral health education and referral pathways within these communities.

Supporting our People

Developing and supporting NSW Health’s people and culture is a priority for NSW Health. By supporting the people working for NSW Health, positive interactions in the workplace are inspired and health outcomes are improved.

Developing and Supporting Diabetes Champions

Greater Newcastle Sector Diabetes Service has commenced accredited diabetes training for clinicians. The course covers aspects of inpatient diabetes care, and following the completion of the course, the new champions disseminate information to other staff on their wards, acting in a diabetes resource capacity.

Indigenous Health and the Arts

Closing the Gap is a key strategic priority for HNE Health. The use of art to improve the health of individuals and communities, including vulnerable groups is increasingly being recognised as very important. The artwork provides a visual welcome and reaffirms a culturally safe place to seek care and to work.

Nursing Leadership Framework in the Emergency Department (ED)

The Nursing Leadership framework is a clear and successful program that aims to support those who work in the ED and promote achievement against all of the Australian Council Healthcare Standards. Each Clinical Nurse Unit Manager is responsible for mentoring and coaching a small team of ED staff, and each team is responsible for one of the eight national standards.

A Safe and Healthy Workplace

This award aims to acknowledge the strong safety and healthy culture that underpins NSW Health’s commitment to providing a safe working environment for all staff.

Emergency Department EDVPM Training Team

In 2016, a 12-point action plan was implemented to improve security at all NSW public hospitals. The first action point was intensive training for emergency staff in managing aggressive and disturbed behaviour. Within 12 months, 92 per cent of the Calvary Mater Newcastle ED workforce had completed the training. The training team also seek out opportunities to provide assistance, strategies and ad-hoc instruction to increase staff awareness and offer practical strategies to reduce harm through early intervention.

Safety and Risk Unit - Psychological Claims Management Pathway

The Psychological Claims Management Pathway aims to reduce the number of psychological incidents within the workplace and ensures that effective support is provided to staff when these incidents occur. The implementation of this pathway has resulted in a reduction in the number of psychological claims lodged, an improvement in the recovery and return to work outcomes of staff and reduction in the financial costs associated with psychological workers compensation claims.

Safety Improvement Program

The Safety Culture Improvement Program was developed and implemented to progress the ‘Safety Journey’ of HNE from an environment of compliance to commitment. The project was initiated with the launch of the HNE Safety Brand ‘I’m Safe, You’re Safe, We’re Safe’. The results of the program to date are continued reductions in lost time injuries, workers compensation claims, average hours lost and overall lost time injury hours.

Health Research and Innovation

Collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and clinicians in research is critical and can lead to findings that are more likely to be innovative and positively inform health decisions. This includes innovative future focused infrastructure and digital health initiatives.

A Novel Intensive Insulin Management Program for Young Children with Type 1 Diabetes

The John Hunter Children’s Hospital Diabetes Team care for 400 children and over the years, many have failed to meet international targets for glycaemia. The team identified the need to drive change and improve outcomes for patients by normalising blood glucose control to prevent complications of diabetes. In 2016, the team reported that 83 per cent of the youngest children in the clinic achieved target glycaemia and as a result, novel interventions arising from this research have been incorporated into international clinical guidelines.

Evaluation of a bundled approach to preventing surgical site infections post caesarean section at Tamworth Hospital

This project aims to reduce surgical site infection (SSI) post caesarean section (CS) through the development, implementation and evaluation of an infection prevention intervention bundle. As compliance to this practice increased, it was found that infection incidence decreased.

Increased use of Telehealth in outpatient clinics

The project aims to increase the number of clinically appropriate Telehealth appointments conducted within the John Hunter Hospital (JHH) North/South Block Outpatient Clinics. The volume of attended Telehealth appointments in JHH North/South Block Outpatient Clinics has progressively increased each year, from 593 appointments in 2016 to 1,537 appointments in 2018. The implementation of new innovations has enabled greater patient-centred care aligned with patients’ preferences and needs, and significantly reduced unnecessary travel time and costs.

Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services

Mental Health is a priority area for the NSW Government. This award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health patient care within programs.

Clinical Conversations: Suicide Redesign Project

The Hunter New England Mental Health Service did not have a clear Care Pathway for individuals who may be suicidal or at risk of suicide. This project has developed a complete care pathway and a supporting education package that ensures consistent baseline competencies and sustainable professional development support.

Connecting Care Outside the Square HVMHS

This project aimed to provide enhanced and more efficient access to psychology services for mental health consumers in the Upper Hunter region, through the establishment of Telehealth capabilities at Maitland and Muswellbrook. The project demonstrated it is feasible to provide psychology services via telehealth to mental health consumers identified as safe to engage in this mode of treatment.

Manning LGBTIQ Project Team

This project aimed to ensure that within 12 months, 100 per cent of Taree Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service assessments were inclusive of LGBTIQ young people. This was achieved by improved assessment processes, increased LGBTIQ cultural competency of workers, increased access to LGBTIQ resources and providing LGBTIQ education. The provision of an LGBTIQ inclusive service increases effectiveness of intervention and can reduce admission time.

Sustainability and Environmental Health

Mental Health is a priority area for the NSW Government. This award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health patient care within programs.

Auto Enteral Water Flush = Less Consumable Waste

Previous enteral feeding giving sets at Manning Hospital did not allow the enteral feeding pump to deliver automatic water flushes, resulting in a high use of single use enteral syringes, packaging and other consumables to deliver hydration to an enterally fed patient. A cost-benefit analysis was undertaken to implement a 3-in-1 automated feed and flush system, allowing the enteral feeding pump to deliver automated flushes. The new system was found to save up to 12 single use plastic syringes and associated packaging per patient per day, leading to a substantial reduction in land fill.

Supporting the planet through Energy Efficiency

The John Hunter Hospital has recently completed a major energy efficiency project, resulting in a large reduction in the hospital’s carbon footprint and energy costs, while upgrading important infrastructure, equipment and amenities. This project was executed using an Energy Performance Contract (EPC). The Energy Service Company works in collaboration with hospital staff to scope, design and implement energy conservation measures that will reduce energy consumption and costs throughout the facility. Some 14 Energy Conservation Measures have been included in this project and they were all installed without interruption to the hospital operations.

Use of technology to reduce environmental impact

This project aimed to reduce the environmental impact of District Pharmacy Services within two years, without compromising service delivery. Current practices were analysed for efficiency and wastage and as a result, the service has effectively improved their carbon footprint by reducing staff travel through the use of internet-based conference platforms and developing web applications to replace paper medication auditing tools.

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