Nurses and midwives working in South Australia's public hospital system will soon have automated access to patient records through a new AU$17 million Web-based information system.
The system was commissioned after the successful implementation of a similar network linking medical and nursing staff to patient records and other clinical information at Sydney's St Vincent's Private Hospital.
Emerging Systems director Richard Hutchinson and CEO Russel Duncan overseeing the system Credit: Emerging Systems
"Linking nurses and midwives through a patient health record system will allow faster access to patient information, which will lead to more responsive and informed treatment," David Johnston, chief information officer with the South Australian Health Department, said in a statement.
Richard Hutchinson, director of Emerging Systems, integrator of the project, told ZDNet.com.au today: "Its primary use for South Australia is to be a nursing information system and to ensure that the tasks get ticked off progressively, [and] it will also provide a legible record that can be accessed in a secure manner."
Hutchinson said the Web-based system is accessed via a secure session in Internet Explorer and will eliminate the need for hospital staff to run from ward to ward with ledgers or "battle to read [someone else's] handwriting".
According to the South Australian Department of Health, the system will function as another layer of the state's integrated e-health records system, careconnect.sa, which the state government hopes to have connected between hospitals, health professionals and the public within the next seven to 10 years.
Emerging Systems' Hutchinson said that work on the initiative will start next week, with the view to piloting the system at Adelaide's Lyell McEwen Hospital within the next three to six months.
"We're starting next week with an implementation study. We'll then begin on the pilot rollout and make sure that they're entirely happy before it goes out to any other hospital in the state," he said.
The integrator has been engaged by the South Australian government for the next three years, a timeframe which Hutchinson believes is suitable for the project, notwithstanding the possibility of migrating a large backlog of patient data to the new system.
"I don't know if the Department's intention is to convert records at this stage -- we'd suggest that they start from today and move forward from there, but the potential to hold past records is only limited by disk space and people to enter the data," he said.