City trials medical system

Friday February 01, 2019

Published by The Border Watch 


MEMBER for Mount Gambier Troy Bell will seek assurances from the State Government the looming electronic medical records trial at the city’s hospital will not compromise patient care. 

This follows Health Minister Stephen Wade announcing the botched Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) will be overhauled across the state. 

Mount Gambier Hospital and the Royal Adelaide Hospital have been earmarked as the first two health centres to trial a new Sunrise software. 

It is understood the roll-out of the new system at Mount Gambier will be put under the microscope by health authorities given the myriad of problems found with the bungled EPAS. 

An independent review has revealed the EPAS system contributed to 149 “near misses” 

in South Australian hospitals, including medication mishaps and medical imaging being mistakenly cancelled. 

The roll-out of the fledging system at Mount Gambier is expected to be completed in 2020 within the existing budget of $421m. 

“I am be seeking an assurance from Mr Wade the trial will not impact on patient safety,” Mr Bell told The Border Watch yesterday. 

He said the medical bodies had described EPAS as not being “fit for purpose” given the problems in trying to find patient information during urgent episodes. 

Mr Bell said he did want these troubles repeated with the new software trialled at Mount Gambier. 

“I want to know what extra support will be given to support clinicians during the roll-out of the new system,” the independent MP said. 

In particular, he said he did not want to see clinicians taken away from providing care to patients during the trial and input of data. 

Mr Bell said the introduction of EPAS - which was originally due to be rolled out at Mount Gambier this year - had already cost the state’s coffers hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Meanwhile, Mr Wade said SA Health would implement the recommendations and the reset, rolling out the program at two “exemplar” sites - the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Mount Gambier Hospital. 

“These two sites will receive a new, significantly improved version of the Sunrise software and new governance arrangements will put control back in the hands of the clinicians,” Mr Wade said. 

The review found the EPAS program was centrally driven, poorly implemented and rolled out IT elements that were not fit-for-purpose. 

“One of the key findings is the program was rolled out without a strong consensus from doctors and nurses and without properly engaging the software provider,” Mr Wade said. 

“It just does not make sense to lock out clinicians - the very people who have to use the system - and the software provider - the people with experience in making the system work.” 

Mr Wade said it was just another example of the former Labor Government not engaging clinicians. 

“This is not just a minor error or oversight. It has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. 

“We want an electronic records system that improves patient outcomes rather than undermines them,” the minister said. 

“We want to empower our clinicians and staff with the right tools so they can make the best decisions for their patients.”