A new system that went live at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital late last year now means staff no longer keep patient files on paper, but enter the information straight into a computer system.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said there had been no adverse patient outcomes. It will be interesting to hear how many staff believe there have been adverse care outcomes.
Nearly 6000 had been trained on the new system provided by Cerner – a process described as “challenging” by Care Delivery lead Dr Clair Sullivan, because it disrupted their world-leading patient care.
But she said the change was paying off because the system could detect abnormalities in blood pressure, pulse rates and oxygen levels and alert staff automatically.
The security of the records was a prime concern but is protected by an in-built monitoring function.
“If there’s ever any suggestion that someone is accessing the chart inappropriately, we can see that,” Dr Sullivan said.
“We never had that on paper.”
Metro South Hospital and Health Board chief executive Dr Richard Ashby said digital transitions were the way forward in terms of productivity.
The government has committed $200 million over four years to implementing the “backbone” of digital hospital systems.
Electronic medical records will ultimately benefit our healthcare system even if these initial efforts come with frustration for clinicians. It would be interesting to know if there’s any falling back to traditional paper records during peak loads and what the physician and nurse satisfaction scores are across each department.