SA Health performs major upgrades to its EMR system following review

SA Health, the public health agency of South Australia, has made improvements to its troubled electronic medical record (EMR) system, in an attempt to lay the foundation for progressive implementation of new features and functionality.

The move is an upgrade from the version the healthcare organisation was using since 2014, and follows an independent review of the program that found its Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) failed, as it “contrasts with other successful EMR implementations in Australia”.

The review identified that SA Health’s billing module was “not fit-for-purpose”; and the EPAS has a “flawed governance model” that didn’t empower clinicians to be key decision-makers or allow the system to be tracked, measured or managed, amongst other findings.

Following the review, SA Health was expected to scrap and reconstruct its beleaguered electronic patient records. 

The upgraded EMR version installed at SA Health’s facilities now consists of Allscripts Sunrise EMR and paperless administration system (PAS), which was a key recommendation in the EPAS Review.

Recommendation 13 of the review identified that “the existing Sunrise EMR/Allscripts PAS 14.3 software version be upgraded to 17.3, with the progressive implementation of its new features (not ‘like with like’), and that subsequently there be a regular upgrade path”.

Allscripts ANZ General Manager Todd Haebich said the upgrade provides SA Health with a more contemporary, versatile and risk-resilient EMR platform.

“The latest version of the Sunrise EMR 17.3 offers many functional benefits, but from an interoperability perspective, it enables SA Health and third-party vendors to extend the EMR with new apps and initiatives, including products from the global Allscripts Application Store,” Haebich said.

“The upgrade also brings increased security and resilience, as it provides administrators with greater and more effective capabilities to keep the platform functioning when servers and networks fail.”

The upgrade also allows SA Health to introduce the following:

  • Timeline: A patient-centered graphical view of the continuum of care, where the clinician receives a visual view of the patient’s visit history across all settings of care. For a more detailed view of a specific encounter, the clinician can open the desired block to launch the new visit record web portal.
  • Sunrise Compass: A solution that enables it to build upon and combine the workflow management tool and tasking infrastructure into a single new UI. A new Smart Engine analyses patient conditions such as results, vital signs, problems and observations to dynamically suggest tasks, workflows and actions. Compass aims to increase the quality of care and decrease time to treatment and diagnosis by decreasing manual interventions in the EMR.
  • Sunrise Mobile: A solution that lets clinicians manage their daily activities.

“The upgrade is the first step in ultimately providing SA Health with a system to rival what we have achieved in other geographies like the US, UK and Singapore,” Haebich said.

“We welcome the EPAS Review’s recommendation that we play a much greater role in delivering SA Health’s EMR, and we look forward to working more closely with SA Health to fulfil what it has set out to achieve.”

This article first appeared on Healthcare IT News Australia.

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