A CENTRAL Victorian health service has received international recognition for its use of a digital system to help in its COVID-19 fight.
Heathcote Health was named among organisations to go "beyond the call of duty" responding to COVID-19 by the International Hospital Federation.
The award praised the organisation's use of pandemic management tool from digital health service company Energesse.
Heathcote Health chief executive Dan Douglass said the tool helped the organisation identify 55 areas of pandemic preparations where it needed to plan further, helping it to build on existing work.
Mr Douglass said Heathcote Health was already working with Energesse on patient experience when the company pivoted to pandemic preparedness in response to the COVID-19 spread.
He said the evidence-based tool broadened Heathcote Health's understanding of the pandemic, exposing it to hospital experiences in the United Kingdom and America.
Mr Douglass said work planning for surge workforce, communications, infection control and aged care stood the health service in good stead when the pandemic hit.
He said regular testing clinics, including for people without symptoms, were also key.
Mr Douglass said using a tool like the hospital had meant it was comfortable knowing it had done everything it could to protect its staff, patients and community.
"Knowing you've done everything you can possibly do made everyone feel a lot happier and a lot more secure," he said.
Mr Douglass said the COVID-19 preparation meant Heathcote Health was in a good position to face other emergencies, whether they be bushfires, heatwaves of thunderstorm asthma.
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