South Australia's health department has put the finishing touches on detailed plans to replace its complex network of electronic health record systems with one integrated platform to serve all patients.
There will be no more confusion as to which system holds which information
The state late December and this week went to market for the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) component of what it described in tender documents as "Australia's first fully integrated statewide electronic health record system", dubbed careconnect.sa.
South Australia's move comes as other states are also gradually unifying their disparate electronic health record systems into single platforms under the top-level guidance of the National E-Health Transition Authority, an organisation set up by the state and federal governments to oversee the process.
In some cases, records will need to be transferred from existing paper-based systems.
In tender documents, SA Health said the ultimate goal of careconnect.sa — slated to be completed by 2017 — was to establish a "personal, web-based entry point" for patients to access information integrated from various sources.
"There will be no more confusion as to which system holds which information; there will be one fully integrated information system and that will be careconnect.sa," they added. The goal of implementing the platform will be an improvement in the quality and safety of health care in the state.
As part of the integration, SA Health said it had centralised ICT governance and services within its operations.
Some of the functions EPAS will fulfil will relate to scheduling, patient registration and discharge, bed management, workflow management, clinical decision support, clinical documentation and electronic document management. In addition, SA Health will require various additions to its platform, such as a patient billing system and emergency department management.
The system is slated to cover a wide spread of divisions within SA Health, including eight metropolitan hospitals and a number of community clinics, 63 country hospitals and the state Ambulance Service. South Australia has a population of approximately 1.58 million.
SA Health is currently using a variety of platforms to provide the required services, including systems from iSOFT (Homer, iPharmacy), TELUS (Oacis), Qantel, Triple G Systems Group/GE Medical Systems, Kestral, and Global Health (Chiron/e-pas). The department has selected a systems integrator to implement the chosen solution — which will be picked by August this year — but it did not disclose in the documents who this was.
In other related tendering initiatives, SA Health has also recently gone to market for an enterprise master patient index platform, and a statewide incident and complaint management system.