Enhancing ICU patient care and safety at Tamworth Hospital

24 September 2018

eHealth NSW's Electronic Record for Intensive Care (eRIC) is improving patient care and safety at Tamworth Hospital in the state’s north-east, bringing to 14 the number of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) using eRIC to better coordinate the care of their critically ill.

ICU clinicians spend less time documenting with eRIC, as the system integrates patient data from bedside monitors, ventilators and other specialised equipment and presents it in a more meaningful way, said Dr Grant Cave, one of the ICU directors at Tamworth Hospital.

“The instantaneous accessibility and availability of patient data means we are not wasting time searching through paper charts to find information. This gives us more time to perform clinical tasks and care for our patients,” said Dr Cave.

With eRIC, all patient information is stored in a central location, which is accessible from any computer throughout the hospital.

“Our ICU clinicians now have full visibility of the patient electronically, contributing to improved care as patient records are easy to find, in a central place,” said Dr Cave.

For Tamworth Hospital, eRIC closes the gap between the care provided at metropolitan ICUs and rural ICUs, said Samantha Gardner, Nurse Manager at Tamworth Hospital.

“Our patients now have the same clinical system as many metropolitan hospitals and this allows our clinicians to facilitate the care of patients with the same enhanced decision-making,” said Ms Gardner.

Tamworth clinicians are reaping the benefits of eRIC’s simplified, automated data collection and improved work practices.

“The transfer of patient information using the electronic Handover of Care (eHOC) document provides medical and nursing discharge summaries, procedures, the past 12 hours of valid observations and other information related to an ICU patient’s stay. Now ward staff can continue the care of patients seamlessly and more safely,” said Ms Gardner.

“As a manager, the system allows for easier quality audits and reporting and an elimination of errors due to misinterpretation of handwritten notes and medication orders,” Ms Gardner said.

Tamworth completes Hunter New England Local Health District’s roll out of eRIC across all three of its ICUs. Hunter New England Local Health District (LHD) joins South Eastern Sydney, Northern NSW, Mid North Coast and Illawarra Shoalhaven LHDs as being fully eRIC-enabled.

The state-wide roll-out of eRIC continues, with Royal North Shore Hospital the next to go live in late October. Involving 58 beds across four ICU wards, Royal North Shore will be the largest eRIC implementation to date.

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