SmartWard News Archive

SmartWard features in AFR article

23 December 2015

Read the Australian Financial Review article by Jacob Greber

ACT Chief Minister expresses strong support for SmartWard

August 2015

The Chief Minister of the ACT, the Hon Andrew Barr MLA, has expressed strong support for a trial of SmartWard in the ACT. The Chief Minister opened SmartWard’s new offices in the Technology Park in Bruce and said that he wanted to see the locally-developed technology deployed first in the ACT.

About 70 people attended the launch. Attendees included staff, shareholders and stakeholders from the ACT and Federal Government.

The Chief Minister was provided with a demonstration of the software and was briefed on the clinical evidence of SmartWard’s potential to improve patient outcomes, while containing runaway hospital costs. In his remarks at the conference, the Chief Minister said that a key challenge for the ACT, and elsewhere, is finding a path to affordable, high quality healthcare. He commented that SmartWard is the right technology, at the right time – and it is from the ACT. His remarks were met with a rousing cheer from the gathered supporters.

The Chief Minister is following through on his statements at the launch, arranging a high-level meeting to explore options for the deployment of SmartWard in the ACT. This meeting is expected to take place in September.

In welcoming the Chief Minister at the office opening, SmartWard’s Chief Executive thanked the Chief Minister for the ACT Government’s support for SmartWard, which had begun with an Innovation Grant in 2010 and helped kick off the business. “Chief Minister Barr now and in his role as Health Minister has recognized the importance to ACT residents and to all Australians of reducing costs in the health sector, improving patient outcomes and propelling a local technology onto national and international markets”.

SmartWard has also been undertaking limited contract work with ACT Health The rationale was to establish a commercial relationship with ACT Health and prove the quality of our work and knowledge of the health sector.

Award for SmartWard clinical trial researcher

August 2015

One of the lead researchers in SmartWard’s clinical trials, Associate Professor Bernice Redley of the Centre for Nursing Research at Deakin University has been awarded the 2015 Moya Conrick Award for her presentation on the collaborative research undertaken with SmartWard. The Moya Conrick Prize is presented for the best submitted paper and presentation at the Nursing Informatics Australia Forum that is held as part of the Health Information Conference – a special interest group within HISA).

RTLS hardware supply secured

July 2015

SmartWard Medical Real Time Location Services (MRTLS) is a globally unique, high performance, yet low power system that feeds location information of patients, staff and key clinical items into Smartward, enabling greater safety and efficiency. Prototypes were used in SmartWard’s Clinical Trial but performance has been significantly improved since then.

SmartWard has secured highly favourable terms for the manufacture of its proprietary MRTLS hardware, which includes significant investment by the manufacturer in the tooling and set-up of the manufacturing lines. All Intellectual Property underpinning the MRTLS remains with SmartWard.

Since the inception of SmartWard, several globally unique pieces of IP and core technology have been developed to enable SmartWard’s concept of operations. “I have worked for nearly 20 years in new product development,” said Mal Johnston, co-founder of TrueSmart, the engineering consultancy helping to make MRTLS a reality “and I have never come across such a professional, high performance and innovative team. Ideas, passion and mission combine in this project. I am proud to be part of it”.

“The system is a unique co-efficient of ultra-low power and exceptional accuracy” said Matt Darling, SmartWard Chief System Architect “It operates differently to wireless data-communication networks and therefore does not appear to suffer or cause interference that generate black-spots and therefore the safety issues existing technologies are prone to. Commercial-off-the-shelf offerings did not meet the standards we uophold in the rest of the technology suite, so we made our own”.

Alternative RTLS systems are mostly based on RFID tokens or WIFI systems with phones or iPODs being used to detect location. Feedback from the market suggests that SmartWard’s RTLS is a real differentiator: it is more accurate, offers streamlined and simple system access; and it lays the basis for mapping the entire patient journey, with improvements in patient safety, billing accuracy and resource efficiencies.

The manufacturer chosen for the RTLS is TrueSmart Asia, which is a joint venture between Tai Tech Electric Appliance Co. Limited and two local contractors to SmartWard. Tai Tech Electric Appliance Co has manufacturing operations based in Shenzhen, China, as well as an extensive network of manufacturing partners in China, Taiwan and Thailand. They have teamed up with Mal Johnston, an Australian design and manufacturing engineer and Ben Donnet, a communications engineer.

Mal Johnston has been working with SmartWard on hardware design, development and procurement for four years and has worked with SmartWard’s inventor and Chief Systems Architect Matt Darling for over 15 years. Ben Donnet is a specialist in communication and location technologies and has worked with SmartWard for the past 18 months.

The arrangement with Tai Tech Electric Appliance Co covers prototyping the latest design, short-run manufacture and eventual mass manufacturing. Mal Johnston has worked with Tai Tech Electric Appliance Co., Limited over many years, and attests to their quality control, reliability and trustworthiness. It would be difficult, take a long time and carry significant risk for SmartWard to establish such relationships direct.

Under the arrangement, Tai Tech will help fund the development and short-run manufacture of the hardware, in return for ‘preferred supplier’ status. This relieves both SmartWard and Datacom from the cost and risk of manufacturing set-up costs, prior to securing a contract.

SmartWard evaluated manufacturing alternatives in Thailand and in Australia but TrueSmart Asia proved the best option when balancing cost, risk, quality control and IP protection.

SmartWard’s MRTLS may also have application in many other sectors, including aged care, facility security and human performance mapping, retail, agriculture and manufacturing. We will explore these options with potential commercial partners in detail, which may lead to a spin-off venture.

SmartWard completes ISO 9001 certification

April 2015

In April 2015 SmartWard attained certification to ISO 9001, the world's most widely recognised standard for quality management systems. Manufacturers and service companies use ISO 9001 across all industries to give customers, regulators and other stakeholders confidence in the capability of their processes and the reliability of their products.

ISO 9001 certification also paves the way for certification to ISO 13485, which is the quality management standard specifically for the medical devices industry. When the SmartWard ecosystem extends to include connectivity with medical devices, the company will find the transition to the highly-regulated medical device sector relatively straightforward, thanks to the work already done in attaining ISO 9001 certification.

Successful Trial at Brisbane’s Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

November 2014

SmartWard participated in a successful trial at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in November 2014. The trial was sponsored by Metro North Hospital and Health Care Network, which is part of Queensland Health, the largest hospital network in Australia. The fees received from the trial were SmartWard’s first commercial revenue.

The trial involved SmartWard providing automated, early warning alerts for patient deterioration. Patient deterioration is indicated when a combination of vital signs shift. Metro North has developed a Medical Early Warning Score (MEWS) to detect such shifts. The earlier patient deterioration is picked up, the earlier appropriate interventions can be initiated, reducing the incidence of avoidable patient harm. The theory behind Metro North’s MEWS had been shown to be sound in trials, but there were difficulties in translating it into clinical practice.

Specific results of the trial are confidential but SmartWard demonstrated its capability to dramatically improve the accuracy and timeliness with which patient deterioration was detected, using Metro North’s MEWS, with the added benefit of automated alert messages to staff.

Datacom Healthcare Services, (DHCS) SmartWard’s licensee, is now pursuing commercial negotiations with Metro North.

SmartWard moves to new offices

November 2014

SmartWard has moved from its offices in Hall to premises within the Fernhill Technology Park in Bruce, ACT. The move took advantage of current high levels of office vacancies in the ACT.

The new offices provide greater space and amenity than the offices in Hall. The Hall offices had deteriorated and while the new office is still a modest B Grade office, it provides a better work environment for staff. It is also more centrally located with improved access to the airport and other infrastructure.

The new office address is: Units 11 & 12, 28-34 Thynne Street (Block C), Bruce ACT 2617 Tel: 02 6251 1798

SmartWard CEO Lindsay Bevege presents at TEDxCanberra

October 2014

Lindsay Bevege presented on why so many health IT systems fail to deliver clinical value, at TEDxCanberra.

Watch Lindsay talk at TEDxCanberra 2014

Datacom acquires strategic stake in SmartWard and appoints new clinical head of Healthcare Solutions division

September 18, 2014

DATACOM Datacom, one of Australasia’s largest independent business technology solutions providers today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire a 20% stake in the innovative Canberra-based Australian health informatics company SmartWard.

Datacom is now also the exclusive supply and support organisation for the SmartWard solution in this region.

SmartWard is an Australian-developed software system that automates nursing records and manages nursing workflow, while improving quality of patient care. It also provides decision-support for doctors, nurses and other medical staff, increasing the time that they spend with patients, helping reduce errors and assisting hospitals to manage overall costs.

Mark McWilliams, Director of Investments at Datacom says, “We are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with SmartWard. This team of Australian innovators has developed a unique software system that is keenly focused on improving health outcomes. We are looking forward combining our organisational capability with SmartWard and working in unison to rapidly apply the benefits of their solution to address the needs of healthcare providers in our region.”

Datacom is also announcing the appointment of Dr Keith Joe as Chief Medical Information Officer for Datacom Healthcare Solutions, a new business unit for the company.

“Dr Joe is well-known in the Australian and New Zealand healthcare sector with an outstanding background. He is a practising Emergency Physician, Founder and Director of the GeoHealth Directory and recent Clinical Director of the Australian Centre for Health Innovation. It’s a boon to bring his depth of experience to our solutions-focused drive into the healthcare sector,” says Mark McWilliams.

Dr Joe says, “We now have an enterprise technology solution that understands and meets the workflow needs of clinicians, with inbuilt automation, quality and safety; and productively uses technology at the bedside to benefit the patient.”

Lindsay Bevege, Chief Executive, SmartWard says, “Datacom are the perfect investor and go-to-market partner for us. Datacom will install and support SmartWard in major hospitals and their investment enables us to accelerate both the roll-out of the technology to customers and the development of further functionality in the core technology.”

Clinical trials carried out in 2013 at two campuses of Eastern Health in Melbourne, by Deakin University’s Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, found that SmartWard reduced the amount of time that nurses spent on documentation, and freed them up to perform more high-value tasks such as spending time with patients.

Specifically, nurses increased the proportion of time spent at patient bedsides from 32.8% to 48.1%, and increased the amount of time spent interacting with patients from 7.9% to 23.6%. These improvements have massive implications across the healthcare sector.

The strategic investment supports Datacom’s long term strategic plan to invest in the development of new capabilities via solutions for vertical market segments such as health, education and local government.

Deloitte Access Economics review

September 2014

Clinical trials carried out in 2013 at two campuses of Eastern Health in Melbourne, by Deakin University’s Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, found that SmartWard reduced the amount of time that nurses spent on documentation, and freed them up to perform more high-value tasks such as spending time with patients.

Specifically, nurses increased the proportion of time spent at patient bedsides from 32.8% to 48.1%, and increased the amount of time spent interacting with patients from 7.9% to 23.6%. These improvements have massive implications across the healthcare sector.

A review of these results by Deloitte Access Economics found that redeploying the saving in nurse time to patient care could provide significant benefit to hospitals by healing people more quickly, minimising readmissions and avoiding treatment errors. Extrapolating the results of international meta-studies, Deloitte Access Economics estimated that the reduced length of stay would save hospitals $50,000 per bed pa.  If delivered across a 600 bed hospital annual improvements of around $30M could be expected with a payback on the SmartWard solution within 12 months. Extend these numbers across the region and there is scope for huge benefits within the health sector.  The SmartWard Solution could also help reduce waiting lists for hospital treatment.

The Deloitte Access Economics review noted that the redeployment of nurse time to patient care increased job satisfaction while effectively shifting nurses’ time away from low-value administrative work toward high value clinical care. The ready availability of highly accurate data on patients would also facilitate higher quality care at lower total cost.

Register to receive the Deloitte Access Economics report

Canberra Times news feature

May 2014

Read the Canberra Times piece by Natasha Boddy

Commercialisation expert joins SmartWard

March 2014

Mr Denis Tebbutt has joined SmartWard as its Chief Commercialisation Officer to assist with the sales and marketing strategy and the negotiation of commercial contracts. Mr Tebbutt has held a number of senior executive roles within international technology companies and achieved growth in revenue and margins. In Australia he has been the Managing Director of iSOFT and InterSystems in the healthcare sector and the Managing Director of Policy Management Systems Corporation and Chief Operating Officer of Financial Network Services, developers of insurance, superannuation and retail banking systems.

“I have been in this arena for a long time and SmartWard is an exceptional technology, but more than that, it is a catalyst, an engine to drive real change. Opportunities of this quality don’t come up very often. I am proud to be a part of it.” Denis said.

Mr Tebbutt has also advised venture capital funds on their investments in technology, retail and marketing based businesses. Past Chair of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Computer Society Foundation, he is a passionate advocate of improving the local knowledge and skills of our graduates within the technology industry. He is a Board Member of the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA).
Mr Tebbutt’s appointment is supported by a grant from Commercialisation Australia.

SmartWard ABC News feature

December 2013

View the transcript or watch the news feature from the ABC’s Amy Bainbridge

SmartWard wins new Commercialisation Australia Grant

November 2013

SmartWard has won a new Experienced Executive grant from Commercialisation Australia (CA), the Federal Government body that supports the commercialisation of Australian technology. The grant is to facilitate the recruitment of an experienced executive to support the commercialisation of SmartWard technology.

SmartWard intends to use the grant to recruit a new Chief Executive to operationalise the company as it starts to seeks sales of the technology. Key tasks will be to establish sales and marketing capabilities and customer support. The grant runs for 12 months and is valued at $175,000 and brings the total value of grants received to support SmartWard from all sources to $2.45 million.

SmartWard clinical trial complete

September 2013

The clinical trial of SmartWard’s system was competed on 30 September. Researchers from Deakin University’s Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research and RMIT’s Health Innovations Research Institute are currently analysing the results, which should be available by mid-December. Pending their formal report, we are pleased to advise that anecdotal feedback is that:

  • The trial has demonstrated SmartWard is effective and reliable on a real ward managing real patients,
  • Nurses in a live clinical setting like SmartWard and find it easy to use,
  • SmartWard creates a far more accurate and comprehensive record of care,
  • Participating nurses believe that it will save time and enable them to deliver better care.

In addition, SmartWard demonstrated flexibility and adaptability to changing hospital clinical needs when the team was able to respond to 57 separate requests for additions or changes to the system made during Stages 1 and 2 of the trial. The changes were all implemented while Stages 1 and 2 were completed and rolled out for Stage 3. Stage 3 proceeded with zero defects.

This adaptability is a key competitive advantage for SmartWard and is based on a proprietary system for generating software code based on business rules. Changes to most hospital IT systems are both time-consuming and expensive, which is a key complaint from hospitals about current vendors.

Register to receive a copy of the Clinical Trial Report

Matt Darling featured in Good Weekend article 'Heart & Mind'

June 2013

Read about his journey in Jane Cadzow’s powerful story

SmartWard wins $2 Million Grant

August 2012

Commercialisation Australia (CA) has awarded SmartWard a $2 million grant to help bring SmartWard to market. The funds will be used to support pre-clinical simulation trials and a full clinical trial of SmartWard with our partner hospital, Eastern Health in Victoria. The SmartWard software will also be customised to meet Eastern Health’s needs as well as to satisfy regulatory requirements.

SmartWard Chairman, Mr Rob Ferguson, said that the success of the grant was a major boost to SmartWard, both financially and for business development. “The support recognises both the potential for SmartWard to grow into an important Australian business as well as its relevance to the national and international imperative of containing escalating health-care costs.”

CA is an Australian Government program offering funding and resources to accelerate the business building process for Australian companies. It is highly competitive program. Grants are awarded on the basis of both commercial merit and relevance to national benefit.

Mr John Grew is CA’s SmartWard Case Manager. He has provided business development advice to SmartWard over the past 12 months, initially through a Skill and Knowledge Grant and subsequently helped guide the company to a successful Early Stage Commercialisation Grant. Mr Grew will continue to work with SmartWard over the next 18 months through the clinical trials and as we work toward full commercialisation.

“SmartWard has the potential to change the way hospital healthcare is delivered. The CA Grant will help validate this potential through clinical trials. SmartWard have a motivated and capable team, deep client engagement as well as a disciplined approach to planning and execution. These are keys to successful commercialisation - having good technology alone is not enough. I look forward to working with SmartWard to meet the challenges ahead,” he said.

SmartWard Office Expands

March 2012

SmartWard is expanding its offices in Hall, ACT, as the business team grows. ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, opened the offices on 14 March this year. Chief Minister Gallagher said that ‘SmartWard is quickly making its mark on the e-Health industry both locally and on a national level by commercialising a new health informatics technology for hospital wards’.

SmartWard Deputy Chairman, Clive Rodger, who was the MC for the day, said that SmartWard is pioneering a revolution in hospital administration. ‘This disruptive technology will bring hospitals into the 21st Century. There is a huge gap in the market which SmartWard’s unique and patented technology will fill”.

Hall was chosen as the location for the SmartWard Head Office because of both the affordable rent and the excellent environment it offered for a technology start-up.

SmartWard Managing Director, Matt Darling, says that his people love the location. ‘Many people have commented that the semi-rural outlook reminds them of Silicon Valley in it’s early days. And it’s an easy commute - just 15 minutes from Canberra’s civic centre, going against the traffic’, he said. ‘The sort of work we do is like mental sprinting. Being able to look up and see tall trees in the background and small birds hopping along the windowsills is just the sort of refreshment we need. It is ideal for creativity.’

SmartWard currently employs 9 staff and this will rise to 14 from the beginning of August. ‘Maintaining excellent standards and peak motivation across the team has always been a primary goal’ Matt said. ‘I feel very fortunate that each and every one of our people are so capable and so passionate about what we do. We feel we are producing something revolutionary, something that will help healthcare professionals to improve patient outcomes. That is something that really helps us all spring out of bed in the morning.’