SA pathology test results delayed by IT system

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SA pathology test results delayed by IT system

New staff brought in to clear data backlog.

SA Health has blamed the "data entry requirements" of a new state-wide pathology system for delays in getting blood test results to patients.

Deputy chief executive Don Frater said that "complex initial data-entry requirements” for the enterprise pathology laboratory information system (EPLIS) meant extended wait times for results.

The department said it had brought in 30 staff to try to clear the backlog.

“Since the introduction of EPLIS, we have seen the wait times for some laboratory test results increase for hospitals and GPs,” Frater said in a statement.

“We know timely test results are essential in providing prompt and appropriate care for patients, and these delays have the potential to impact the level of care being provided.”

The department has also set up a taskforce to look into cause of the delays and “recommend any additional action needed to ensure test turnaround times return to normal”.

The taskforce will “review all incidents relating to test delays that have been logged in SA Health’s Safety Learning System”, the department said.

It will also “review the reporting format for the test results and if any errors have occurred as a result” after feedback from clinicians.

The ABC reported that blood test results were being delayed or "even lost" because of problems with the new system.

The rollout of the EPLIS began with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the Royal Adelaide Hospital in March last year.

The system has since expanded to cover all metropolitan hospitals and regional laboratories across the state, replacing the two ageing and incompatible Cirdan Ultra instances and up to 30 smaller pathology systems that were previously used.

The rollout followed a series of delays affecting planning, design, design, testing, and data migration that pushed back delivery timelines on several occasions.

The department said it is working with EPLIS’ provider Cerner to "improve system performance”, provide additional training and to “implement new systems to reduce transit times for urgent tests”.

Frater said he expected the measures to “assist in returning the testing turnaround times to normal levels in the coming weeks”.

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