eHealth NSW Health Prototyping Centre bed close up.

Health Prototyping Centre

The Health Prototyping Centre (HPC) provides facilities for customers across NSW Health to rapidly test ideas, designs and concepts before building a final version of the product.

eHealth NSW Health Prototyping Centre entrance with reception desk and guest chairs.

The Challenge

Clinical challenges are often complex and difficult to recreate in a traditional space. Often ideas can’t easily be explored or tested early enough. Learnings often come late in development or after user testing when the cost of change is high.

NSW Health wanted to change this by creating a dedicated space where clinicians and system experts could collaborate. A safe place to incubate ideas, experiment and test a range of solutions. This would provide early insights into the design and efficacy of solutions. Saving time and money when developing complex solutions for today’s health challenges.

Working through a design sprint at the Health Prototyping Centre was a great experience – both challenging and rewarding. An opportunity to get invested stakeholders together to brainstorm uninterrupted is rare, and ultimately, the resultant product will be all the better for it!
Lisa Russell, Manager at Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs, Ministry of Health
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eHealth NSW Health Prototyping Centre mock patient waiting room.

The Plan

eHealth NSW, HealthShare NSW, Health Infrastructure NSW and NSW Health Pathology partnered to form the Health Prototyping Centre. The centre provides a warehouse space that is highly configurable to a range of clinical scenarios. It also has a team of technical and design experts to help the projects. This supports organisations to work together to develop solutions to meet their varying needs.

The centre accommodates the setup and evaluation of a range of clinical machines. These include handheld scanners and large robotic and automated pathology machines. It also supports the planning of a new ward - from the physical space, systems and hardware to workflows and medical equipment.

eHealth NSW Health Prototyping Centre ideas hub with tables and chairs.

The Outcome

Opened in August 2022, the Macquarie Park based Health Prototyping Centre includes:

  • A built-for-purpose, dedicated facility of over 1000 square meters to support rapid prototyping and simulation-based testing
  • A team of technical and design experts on hand to support rapid prototyping
  • A range of clinical simulation suites and equipment replicating common pathology, acute care and home care settings
  • A large flexible space for the temporary installation of new clinical environments and large equipment which can be repurposed as required
  • Design development spaces and office accommodation
  • Tooling and technology to enable the development of prototypes of varying levels of fidelity
  • A replication of the NSW Health technology stack to support integration and functional testing.

Several projects have been able to use the space to explore a range of solutions. These include:

  • An evaluation of alternatives to single use plastics, such as cups, cutlery, and plates during meal services across NSW Health
  • The development of a chatbot for drug and alcohol services
  • Defining new workflows for the delivery of meals to COVID-19 wards
  • Re-designing an essential source of information for health facility room builds.

The Design Sprint has been a really important element in helping to clarify stakeholder perspectives and obtaining feedback from real life users on the purpose, look and feel of the chatbot.
Amit Chandra, Project Manager of Corporate Applications, eHealth NSW
Head shot photo of Amit Chandra.
eHealth NSW Health Prototyping Centre beds from afar.

The Benefits

  • End-user involvement - Clinicians and patients can test and inform the design of new facilities, products, services and models of care in a safe and realistic environment.
  • Integrated cross-organisational prototyping and simulation provides a holistic method of problem-solving.
  • Rapid and flexible testing allows NSW Health facilities, products and services to stay clinically relevant.
  • Statewide facility - district and facility agnostic to ensure scalability for solutions.

The centre allows for the recreation of a range of clinical spaces and identifies key differences between facilities in different districts or between rural and metro settings. By identifying these differences earlier, the solutions can accommodate a wider range of facilities.