This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
It Looks Like The Issues Surrounding EPAS at The New Royal Adelaide Hospital Continue To Cause Concern.
THE troubled $422 million IT system that is meant to run the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is “disastrous”, according to surgeons who have rejected State Government assurances that all is well.
The usually conservative Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has warned it could not guarantee patient safety under the planned system because of problems that include doctors being prevented from prescribing essential medicines.
SA Health’s planned Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) was supposed to be introduced to hospitals across the state but is now in just three, including the Repatriation General Hospital – where medical staff have officially complained to Health Minister Jack Snelling because it is compromising patient safety.
The new RAH has been designed to operate solely with EPAS and there is no space for a paper-based records system.
This week, Auditor-General Andrew Richardson said the long-delayed IT system, which has blown out in cost, faces more blowouts. SA Health chief executive David Swan responded with assurances that EPAS would be operational in time for next year’s opening of the new RAH.
However, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons said there was “still a long way to go” before they would trust EPAS. College SA chair Dr Sonja Latzel said the feedback she had received on EPAS was not positive. She added: “Mr Swan’s comments contradict what surgeons are telling us.
Promised as a flagbearer for the brave new world of eHealth when it opens in April 2016, the $1.85 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH) will instead have to cope with a “hybrid” environment including paper records and workflow due to delays in a decade long program to implement a state-wide electronic health record.
Promoted as Australia's most advanced hospital, the nRAH is also facing supply chain issues due to SA Health’s a failure to complete a long running rollout of Oracle, initially commenced in 2010.
A report from the South Australian Auditor General handed to the Parliament this week says a 10 year, S214 million program commenced in 2007 to deliver a state-wide Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) had “ambitious timeframes and an under estimation and lack of detailed understanding of the effort required. In particular, the underestimation of effort required to implement EPAS at a major hospital site.
“Although Audit has noted a number of improvements to the EPAS Program, challenges still
remain, including ensuring system readiness for the nRAH by 17 January 2016 for SOC
testing and commercial acceptance on 17 April 2016.”
All ICT for the nRAH systems must have testing completed prior to 17 January 2016, ready for State Operational Commissioning (SOC) involving testing of all new hospital operations ready for commercial acceptance.
In 2007, the state’s Department of Health (now Department for Health and Ageing) awarded a contract to Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (Allscripts) for the EPAS solution.
Initially scheduled for completion in mid-2014, this deadline has not been met and SA Health is due to report to Parliament in coming weeks on when this can be expected. Intended to be deployed state-wide by 2014, it has reportedly been successfully installed at just three hospitals.
While it was initially scheduled to be rolled out to the existing RAH in mid-2014, a decision has been made to not go ahead with this, although this has not yet been approved by Cabinet.