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John Hunter Hospital enhances ICU patient care with eRIC

John Hunter Hospital enhances ICU patient care with eRIC

John
Hunter Hospital in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is the 10th
intensive care unit (ICU) in the state to implement the Electronic Record for
Intensive Care (eRIC) clinical information system. 

First deployed at Coffs
Harbour Health Campus in June 2017 after a pilot test at Port Macquarie Base
Hospital in October 2016, the eRIC is intended to improve decision-making and
patient outcomes in all 43 New South Wales ICUs.

Often
the most data-driven aspect of hospital operations due to the need for
real-time monitoring and highly time-sensitive decision-making, ICU operations
were formerly handled via paper forms. The need to file paper forms and convey
them between medical personnel resulted in problems such as double handling of
documentation, and information written on paper forms was also prone to
misinterpretation. The introduction of the eRIC system at John Hunter Hospital
will not only allow medical personnel to capture real-time data and enhance information
availability, but also improve clinical decision-making and patient care.

Where
data availability is concerned, eRIC electronically integrates ICU patient data
from multiple devices and reformats the collected data into highly accessible
graphs that reveal long-term patient insights. 

"The capturing of more frequent
electronic data will enable us to better understand a patient’s physiology and
their response to therapy,” said Dr Ken Havill, Director of John Hunter
Hospital’s ICU." 

“Being able to easily locate all patient information and observe
trends over longer periods, as well as reformatting data in a graphical view,
is a great support to clinical decision-making. ”

In
addition to configurable patient information that allow for customisable insights,
the eRIC system will also, upon eventual implementation in all 43 NSW
ICUs,  serve as a standardised practice
within all ICUs in the state. The state-wide implementation of the eRIC will
not only allow for clearer benchmarking, but also allow ICUs to communicate
patient information efficiently between each other.  

“We can now observe patients in other ICUs
within the Hunter New England Local Health District whom we are assessing for
transfer,” said Dr Havill. By providing a common platform for data sharing and
communication, the eRIC will facilitate better ICU service delivery and deliver
better patient outcomes.

Patients
are not the only ones to benefit from the eRIC system; by doing away with the
need to file paper forms, the eRIC system also allows nurses to be at patients’
bedsides longer. The consolidation of all information into a single digital
location, coupled with configurable graphs that allow for customisable
insights, mean that nurses will be able to attend to patients while monitoring
and recording patient status at the same time.

“It’s
hugely beneficial to have everything we need in one digital location, rather
than try to manage lots of paper forms,” said Ms Heather Chislett, a Nurse Unit
Manager at John Hunter Hospital. “The patient information can be graphed to
look at trends, which further supports the care of ICU patients. And all of
this occurs while nurses are at the bedside of the patient.”

The benefits of the
eRIC system also go beyond patient safety, administrative efficiency and
medical efficacy — with access to a vast amount pf real-time patient data, Ms
Chislett expects that the eRIC will also help facilitate ICU research.

“The
data that is collected and potential research undertaken will help nurses to
identify trends. Previously the research team needed to review our paper charts
to facilitate research.”

The
state-wide roll-out of the eRIC system will continue on a phase-by-phase basis,
with the next deployment of the eRIC at Wollongong Hospital scheduled on 18th June.