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All-digital St Stephen’s Hospital becomes first inpatient Australian organization facility to receive HIMSS Stage 7

by St Stephens Hospital

Published on 8/21/2019

When the Australian government provided a grant to open a fully integrated digital hospital with UnitingCare, leaders saw an opportunity to improve patient care and satisfaction, enhance provider workflows and progress operations in a unique way. Their work at the new facility, St Stephen’s Hospital, reduced paper reliance and improved overall efficiency compared to a paper-based system. It also paved the way for St Stephen’s to become the first HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7 inpatient facility in Australia.

Acting General Manager and Director of Clinical Services at St Stephens Hospital, Madonna Bowers said, “Achieving HIMSS 7 means that the team at St Stephen’s Hospital have significantly reduced the risk of human error in the administration of medications and blood products, and therefore helped reduce the risk of harm to our patients.”

As staff prepared to transform St Stephen’s from paper-based to fully digital, they knew that effective change management would be key to their success. Cerner and UnitingCare assigned adoption coaches to ensure each physician had at-the-elbow support as they commenced work in the new facility. Adoption coaches advance usability and productivity through data, knowledge and customized coaching — to ensure everyone received appropriate support.

“Having adoption coaches working with and alongside the doctors in their areas of clinical practice was key to the success of the doctors embracing the electronic medical record (EMR),” Bowers said.

Using CareAware iBus® — infrastructure that automates continuous medical device measurement collection — nurses now can spend more time on patient care; they spend 58.6% less time recording vital signs.1 This shift helped increase nursing time at the bedside.

The EMR, combined with Point of Care™ Bar Code Medication Administration, helps reduce time-critical medication omissions by ensuring the right drug goes to the right patient at the right time. Since moving to the new hospital, staff decreased medication administration errors by 81.3%.1

St Stephen’s Assistant Director of Nursing, Larnie Wright said, “Not only does the CareAwareiBus and Point of Care Bar Code Medication Administration reduce the risk of human error, but they also give nursing staff more time to deliver hands on holistic care.”

Additionally, moving to the digital hospital format and using EMR platform Cerner Millennium® helped improve readmission rates. Staff use the EMR’s interdisciplinary plans of care, sepsis alerts, early detection of deteriorating patients and more to help provide optimal care. Since the switch, staff reduced unplanned and unexpected readmissions within seven days of discharge by 73.6%.1

“There are so many benefits,” said Bowers. “Doctors can access the EMR remotely, the EMR is available immediately on a patient’s readmission with all previous notes, scans and results are automatically filed in chronological order and all notes are legible.”

1 Comparing calculated projections with and without the EMR from November 2015 – October 2016. All calculations based on switch from paper-based systems to electronic when St Stephen’s Hospital opened. Data compiled by PwC during an audit.

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.