Wednesday, September 28, 2016
SA Health Seems To Be Having Ongoing Issues With EPAS And Is Attracting Increasing Public Comment. Not A Good Look So Far!
This appeared last week:
Miles Kemp, The Advertiser
September 20, 2016 8:30pm
AN elderly dementia patient’s death was not reported to the Coroner because paperwork was “lost” in a controversial hospital computer system, an inquest has found
Gordon Smith, 91, had been subjected to a “treatment order” and shackled to a bed after he was found wandering in the Repatriation General Hospital carpark.
This meant his subsequent death from multiple organ failure must be reported to the Coroner and investigated by his office because he was technically “in custody”.
But the treatment order was lost among 200 other computer entries, Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel found in an inquest into Mr Smith’s death.
He is critical of the Enterprise Patient Administration System, which Health Minister Jack Snelling says is being urgently upgraded as a result of the coroner’s findings.
The Coroner’s office was told of the death more than a month later after the error was realised, resulting in strong criticism in findings released this month.
It found the error “meant, among other things, that the State Coroner was denied the opportunity for Mr Smith’s remains to be examined by way of an autopsy or for an independent opinion as to cause of death to be obtained and considered while Mr Smith’s remains were still available’’.
The coroner’s office was not able to test if Mr Smith’s sedation and shackling contributed to his death, as suspected by one of his doctors, although it later ruled this out as a “major cause”, on doctors’ advice.
Doctors from the hospital were highly critical of EPAS, which is being introduced at a cost of $422 million.
This was followed up by an editorial in the main paper of the State.
September 21, 2016 9:30pm
OUR state’s public-health system is being buffeted by unprecedented change – and that’s led to waves spreading across some of our most important institutions.
The latest is an elderly dementia patient’s death going unreported to the coroner because paperwork was “lost” in a controversial hospital computer network, the new Enterprise Patient Administration System, or EPAS.
Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel has found a treatment order was lost among 200 other entries in the EPAS, which meant his office was told of the death only a month after the error was realised.
The coronial report draws the issue to the attention of Health Minister Jack Snelling. It will be added to his in-tray of political hot potatoes, which include a chemotherapy underdosing scandal and the continued saga of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital opening date.
Perhaps ironically, the EPAS’s smooth operation is critical to the new RAH, which has been designed as a paperless hospital. Clearly, the EPAS did not cause the 91-year-old man’s death but Mr Snelling concedes that the system is being changed as a result of the coronial recommendations.
Given the turmoil within the public-health system, Mr Snelling has the difficult task of ensuring understandable teething problems with the new RAH – and associated systems such as EPAS – do not career out of control.
The State Government is locked in a court dispute with the new RAH’s builders, SA Health Partnership, which might result in the hospital opening amid next year’s hectic flu season.
Despite the political pressure, the public likely would understand that such a large building project would experience delays, just like many housing renovations.
But it is vital that the hospital, the centrepiece of the state’s public health network, function smoothly once it is opened.
Our hospitals are under extraordinary pressure but resources are finite. Costly projects like EPAS and the new RAH must be executed correctly to ensure the system is improved.
The full editorial is here:
It really is rather a double wammy to be opening the State’s key teaching hospital with a new set of systems. The strain on the staff may turn out to be pretty intense!
Having the Government fighting with the hospital builders must also be a distraction.
Has the feeling of a big mess brewing.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Wednesday, September 28, 2016