COVID-19: rapid response boost for Australia’s intensive care units

Ensuring Australian hospitals are able to respond rapidly in the event of increased patient demand during the COVID-19 health emergency is a national priority.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced the Australian Government has funded and launched the Critical Health Resource Information System (CHRIS) that will operate in all public and private hospitals with Intensive Care Units (ICU).

“CHRIS is an innovative tool to assist Australia’s ICUs to share important and timely information that will benefit patients with coronavirus across Australia,” Minister Hunt said.

“This national system will make sure we know where available ICU beds are and that the equipment, including ventilators, the patient needs are in place and ready for a rapid response in the event of future COVID-19 outbreaks.

“CHRIS also incorporates paediatric critical care so babies and children will get the care they need, where and when they need it.

“Our doctors, nurses, other health professionals and support staff are doing an outstanding job at a very difficult time and this system will provide them with the ability to respond to peak patient demand in a timely and efficient way will save lives and protect lives,” Minister Hunt said.

Australian Government Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, said this initiative future proofed Australia’s world-class healthcare system in the event of peak demand.

“CHRIS will provide a bird’s eye view of every ICU around the country using live data. This will allow us to make real time clinical decisions ensuring critically unwell patients can access the right treatment at the right place at the right time,” Dr Coatsworth said.

The Australian Government’s rapid response boost for Australia’s ICUs is an important part of building capacity, and creating a pathway to ensure that Australia learns from and avoids the experiences of other countries.

The Government’s national aim is simple, suppress the virus, increase testing and tracing, and slowly ease the restrictions.

CHRIS was developed in conjunction with the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS), Ambulance Victoria and Telstra Purple.

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