Staff at Perth’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital have told a team of reviewers it can take up to 15 minutes to admit a patient using the facility’s new digital medical record.
The new hospital, which began a phased opening in October last year, has struggled through an onslaught of IT complications limiting full operations.
Its day-to-day work is based around the BOSSnet medical record platform, which features a number of different applications for different clinical and administrative functions.
The platform includes electronic medical forms filled out by clinicians, admission forms, nurse screening tours, medical notes delivered from specialist clinical systems, alerts and referrals.
But the state government and its primary contractor Serco have not yet fully integrated these different functions, meaning staff have to open and close multiple different systems in order to register a patient for treatment.
Hospital staff told a commissioned review the process can take 15 minutes to complete.
The reviewers heard that clinicians working in the outpatients department were spending a further 15 minutes to open all of the different screens needed to view and manage a single patient’s notes.
Fiona Stanley staff fear that the daily battle will continue indefinitely, as “overextended” IT staff are whisked away to work on the delayed Perth Children’s Hospital, expected to open in early 2016.
The final report of the review team (pdf) recommended the externally-provided IT services be given “continued enhancement” and “deep links within the various applications” be developed.
The review of Fiona Stanley Hospital operations followed high profile errors and mishaps in the first months of its full operation, which saw its emergency department swamped under higher than expected demand.
The report, however, found that the rate of clinical errors at the facility was comparable to an average hospital of the same size as Fiona Stanley.
The hospital's ambitious digital vision had to be toned down after IT mismanagement added a six-month delay and a huge additional commissioning bill onto the project.
A subsequent inquiry found that hazy governance on the IT side of the build allowed serious issues to remain unaddressed, and prompted the state Health Department to appoint a permanent CIO.