eRIC poised for a global first

People meeting
10 November 2015

Implementation of the world's largest system-wide intensive care unit (ICU) clinical information system is set to start in 2016 as a result of eHealth NSW's preparations to introduce its keenly anticipated electronic Record for Intensive Care (eRIC) solution.

Built for the specific and unique data collection, analysis and clinical documentation needs of intensive care services, the eRIC solution will give clinicians access to a comprehensive array of digital information and medications management at the point of care, while supporting improved information sharing across the continuum of care.

This will help to better inform the management of critically ill patients – those in an ICU, the most pressured and data-intensive part of any hospital.

Patients in adult, paediatric and neonatal ICUs will benefit from improved clinical efficacy – and, most importantly, enhanced safety – as supported by evidence that intensive care clinical information systems reduce adverse events and medication errors.

“Completing the technical and functional build is a huge milestone for our team,” said Cherie Kennedy, eRIC Program Director.

“The past 18 months have certainly been challenging at times but our strong and proactive clinical engagement is what makes this achievement all the more rewarding.”

Excellent clinical engagement has been the cornerstone of the program's success so far, Cherie said.

Hundreds of ICU clinicians, information technology experts as well as the eRIC Program team have provided input, from development of the business case, selection of the technology supplier and design and build of the solution under the auspices of eHealth NSW with the clinical guidance of the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI).

“More than 70 clinicians had a say in the design and build every step of the way to support the Agile project methodology we adopted, designing and configuring the clinical requirements over six sequential software build cycles,” Cherie said.

“This enabled real-time clinical reviews of the build progress through weekly WebEx meetings, clinical delegates attending onsite at eHealth headquarters where the program team are located, as well as ongoing user reviews of the solution in a test environment as it was being developed.”

The eRIC solution represents a 'best of breed' state-build ICU clinical information system, and the 60-strong eRIC Program team is working closely with the other clinical programs such as Electronic Medical Record (eMR) and Electronic Medication Management (eMeds) within eHealth NSW and the LHDs to support the continuum of care across clinical systems, Cherie said.

The first go-live of eRIC, planned to take place at Blacktown Hospital’s ICU in mid-2016, will draw on the experiences of Blacktown, St George, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Royal Prince Alfred and Orange Hospital ICUs, which have existing (locally implemented) clinical information systems.

The design and build phase of the eRIC Program commenced approximately a year ago following an extensive planning study involving a broad range of clinical stakeholders. Six build cycles were completed and a remediation period focused on business process and workflow to improve the user experience and user interface.

Useability testing is underway with end-user clinicians to assess human factors, clinician interaction and user-centred design. The lessons learnt are being incorporated into system testing, training, and change and adoption activities, Cherie said.

The eRIC team is now partnering with LHDs on planning for implementation to establish a strong change management model that will optimise adoption of the system and maximise the benefits for patients and clinicians.

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