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Australia's eHealth NSW leads upgrade for better imaging to enhance patient care

Australia’s eHealth NSW leads upgrade for better imaging to enhance patient care

As announced
last week
, eHealth NSW led a major state-wide upgrade of the Enterprise
Imaging Repository (EIR) viewer software which allows NSW Health clinicians to access
diagnostic-quality medical images from across the state.

The
EIR is the centralised imaging store for NSW Health, and its viewer enables
centralised images and reports to be assessed from any modern PC within NSW
public hospitals, NSW Ambulance and Justice Health. Since 2012, the EIR has
provided clinical staff with immediate access to a patient’s previous and
current images, scans and reports, irrespective of which public hospital the
patient has visited.

The recent
state-wide upgrade is a significant advance in the digital transformation of
the state’s public health system. Radiologists and treating clinicians can now access
a much-improved quality of medical images in the EIR via the electronic medical
record (eMR) and the HealtheNet
Clinical Portal
.

The
new EIR viewer is browser-based, allow it to run without the need for
additional software. There are also optional mobile apps for approved Apple and
Android devices connected to NSW Health’s secure Wi-Fi service.

“The
ability for clinicians to collaborate and view the same images real time is
enhancing the decision-making process, which is a great outcome for patients
and families,” said eHealth NSW’s Group Manager, Clinical Repository and
Integration Services, Kendall Hockey.

“The
upgrade is providing higher and now diagnostic-quality of imaging, bringing
enhanced patient care and significant cost savings related to fewer transfers
and repeat tests being required,” he added.

The
new and improved EIR viewer first went live at The Children’s Hospital at
Westmead and at the Newborn & paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS)
in early February, followed by hospitals in Southern NSW and mid North Coast
Local Health Districts the week after.

Hosted
by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, NETS is a state-wide service of NSW
Health and the global leader in retrieval medicine for newborns and children;
providing expert clinical advice, clinical co-ordination, emergency treatment
and stabilisation and inter-hospital transport for the newly born up to
children aged to 15 years.

At
NETS, one of the highest users of the EIR, the benefits of the improved EIR
viewer software to the diagnosis and treatment of the state’s critically ill
and injured babies and children were immediately evident to the team.

“The
low-resolution quality of images held within the previous version of the EIR
was problematic for NETS and meant that consultants were unable to rely on the
content for diagnostic purposes,” said State Director of NETS Dr Andrew Berry, who
assisted eHealth NSW in piloting the new EIR software.

According
to Dr Berry, the introduction of DICOM-quality images is a massive leap forward
for the EIR. The upgraded interface is more aesthetically pleasing in terms of
its design and the clearer fields provide an intuitive user experience for NETS
consultants. The theme layout offers a simplified navigation and overall the
solution looks more professional.

“New
functions include a collaboration tool to permit any relevant clinician with
email to also view the images, which is a very welcome new feature,” Dr Berry
added.

As reported
earlier late last year
, NSW Health has also enhanced the HealtheNet Clinical Portal by adding patients’ discharge
medication information via My Health Record. By sharing additional medication
information, the system can better support healthcare providers involved in a
patient’s care, particularly in cases of emergency, as it saves clinicians time
in looking for important medical information.