I am currently the CEO of Manly Warringah Pittwater Community Aid Service on the Northern Beaches in Sydney. I spent the first 20 years of my career in the Royal Australian Navy Medical Branch as a Medical Administrator (I do not claim to be an IT guru) introducing clinical computer technology to both the pathology laboratory and a Hospital database to Balmoral Naval Hospital.
I retired from the military at 37 years of age and since then have held two CEO positions. One for a Division of General Practice with 570 GPs in 168 medical practices. This is where my interest in electronic health records was born. At the same time I have also held the role as change manager for St Vincent’s Hospital to convince all of the GPs in the division that electronic health records would be a way of the future.
As a change manager what were some of your key learning’s about the process of change within health organisations?
The correct specifications of the system are paramount for the implementation of large-scale projects to occur. Inadequate specifications may result in variations to a contract, which are usually very expensive.
The project manager is a key element of any good project. the hospital or facility executive must choose someone who can communicate well across all levels of the organisation. Sending an email is not enough when it comes to communicating. It may be good to follow up with an email after a verbal communication but expecting everyone to be as enthusiastic about the project as the project manager is, is asking for trouble.
Rigorous documentation. Again communication is very important but it is important to document changes, have excellent project management skills and use a well-known and widely used project methodology such as Prince Two. (2)
Doctors are more likely to trust other doctors. You need a doctor who is a project champion
At the conference you are discussing the EMR rollout can you give us a taste of what you will be discussing?
I am discussing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) the computerised version of a paper-based medical record with a focus on any hospital in Australia can replace paper based records.
Ideally a hospital or health service will need a new website that will give patients and families access to information in the medical record, including test results, doctor’s notes, medications, care plans and appointments, from a computer, tablet or mobile phone.
The EMR delivers so many benefits to patients and clinicians alike including support with clinical decision-making, medication safety, faster results and the ability to participate in patient research studies. Naturally the main concern is privacy. This is a serious issue and needs to be on the top of everyone’s list to ensure the correct high level encryption is used.
The conference is called Digital Hospital of the Future when you hear that phrase what word comes to mind?
A thing I call ‘interhospitalability” I think I made that word up but honestly the EMR will need to have a universality about it that will make it necessary for it to be read by all other hospital systems. It is unlikely that all hospitals across Australia will agree or choose the same system but documents need to be in a format e.g. pdf that can be read by multiple systems.
Kevin Reid is speaking at 11am December 7 at The Digital Hospital Conference Case Study: Electronic Medical Record Rollout at the Eastern Sydney Division of General Practice & St Vincent’s Health Sydney
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