EMR design and build is now complete!

The design and build of our own Electronic Medical Record (EMR), will finally come to an end in early August, thanks to the hard work of our EMR team, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and Accountable Leaders.

The first EMR workshop kick-started back in May 2021. During workshops one to three, the team worked closely with stakeholders to collect data to inform the initial EMR build. Northern Health’s current workflows were analysed, and decisions were made on how future workflows should look when we start using the EMR in 2023.

In September 2021, with another spike in COVID-19 cases, all workshops and EMR activities were paused to allow staff to focus on providing patient care and on their wellbeing. Some of our EMR analysts were deployed back to their respective clinical spaces to relieve their colleagues.

EMR workshops resumed in November 2021, validating workflows that had been designed by our analysts, SMEs and Accountable Leaders. Fast forward to this day, with the guiding principles of patient safety and providing better patient care, we have designed and validated 250 workflows that are localised to Northern Health.

Gladis Thomas, EMR Clinical Documentation Analyst, said the past 15 months were bittersweet.

“There is a great sense of accomplishment as a team. I have come a long way from being a clinician on the floor, to an EMR analyst who has assisted in translating our clinical knowledge into a digital solution that is streamlined to the documentation requirements of our clinicians.”

“Looking back, we have listened closely to our SMEs benchmarked across other health services, and collaborated with stakeholders to bring a safe EMR design tailored to the needs of our Northern Health clinicians, while grappling through many challenges posed by COVID-19, especially running virtual workshops,” said Gladis.

Jessica Hart, EMR Medications Lead, expressed her thanks to everyone who had been involved in the project so far.

“Making it to the end of the design phase with challenges such as lockdowns and the remote environment, has required significant flexibility and collaboration between the EMR team, SMEs and Accountable Leaders. We are really grateful to everyone who has worked with us, with kindness and dedication, to gather the necessary information and share their experience of day to day in their roles, enabling us to optimise the design.”

Dr Jonathan Pinder, EMR Medical Analyst, is equally thankful to our SMEs for putting in the extra hours to make the EMR build as seamless as possible.

“It has been a fantastic experience working with the various medical and surgical specialties, and everyone involved throughout the design phase of the EMR. I am well aware of how difficult it can be to find time outside of clinical hours to have input into other projects, so I would like to extend my sincere thanks to each and every one of the clinical staff members who went out of their way to help. I’m looking forward to next year when the EMR goes live and everyone can enjoy the countless benefits it will provide.”

Cliff Wiltshire, EMR Training Manager, congratulated the team on design and build, and commemorated all the hard work that was put into bringing this project to life.

“The EMR analysts, with the help of our SMEs and Accountable Leaders, have spent long hours introducing concepts, gathering information, and then creating an EMR that represents Northern Health, and they have done an amazing job!”

Although system build and design has come to an end, the work does not stop there. The next priority for the EMR team is to test the workflows and the system.

Belinda Moutsatsos, EMR Testing Lead, explained the importance of testing.

“The EMR Program is about to pivot into the next stage – testing. As you can appreciate, testing anything, especially software that is about to digitise and revolutionise the way we provide health services across Northern Health, is an extremely important part of ensuring we have a robust system to support our clinicians, nurses, and administrative staff in delivering exceptional patient care.”

In the coming months, thousands of tests across the EMR and integrated systems and devices will be conducted. While the process of testing can sometimes feel like two steps forward, and one step back, “In the end, people can expect a sense of accomplishment when the testing is complete and everyone feels confident that a resilient and fit-for-purpose EMR can be deployed across Northern Health,” said Belinda.

System testing will take place from August 2022 until next year. During this time, many other EMR projects will run parallel to this, such as procuring devices, benefits analysis, and finalising change impact for various disciplines. In the meantime, if you would like to keep up-to-date with the project, visit our EMR website or contact us by emailing NH-EMRQuestions@nh.org.au.

Featured photo: Dr Jonathan Pinder, EMR Medical Analyst; Gladis Thomas, EMR Clinical Documentation Analyst; Jessica Hart, EMR Medications Lead; Belinda Moutsatsos, EMR Testing Lead; Cliff Wiltshire, EMR Training Manager.