Dr Sean Duncan trained and practiced in Newcastle (UK) prior to moving out to Christchurch in 2018.
The Challenges Of Introducing An Electronic Inpatient Notes Programme To A Large General Medicine Department
Aims: Christchurch Hospital General Medicine department is the first large medical department in New Zealand to transfer from inpatient paper notes to an electronic health record server. Electronic notes have been associated with financial, efficiency and patient safety benefits on the global stage. This presentation aims to describe the challenges associated with rolling out an electronic inpatient notes programme ‘Cortex’ in a large General Medical department in Christchurch Public Hospital.
Methods: The transition of General Medicine to Cortex was modelled on the Christchurch surgical services transition in July 2017. Weekly meetings and feedback sessions were conducted for 4 months, 4 out of 16 teams were selected as trial teams prior to the roll-out date 13th November 2019. Interviews of the clinical leaders involved in this process as well as the RMO users were undertaken to gain qualitative information. The challenges experienced were documented both personally and recorded live on an online task management programme ‘Trello’.
Results: General Medicine at Christchurch Hospital have successfully transitioned entirely to electronic inpatient medical notes. Some of the biggest challenges in this transition were (1) The creation of business rules surrounding electronic documentation and handover, (2) Recognising the differing notes requirements of a medical department to a surgical department, (3) Assessing and acquiring device requirements and establishing a new infrastructure for these devices, (4) Ensuring that important patient information was not missed whilst teams were actively transitioning. Early RMO and SMO reports have been largely positive with improvements identified in: ward round efficiency, task management, allied health communication and quality of documentation.
Conclusion: The roll-out of ‘Cortex’ as an electronic in-patient notes programme in General Medicine at Christchurch Hospital has been widely well received. Having a greater understanding of the challenges that may be faced when contemplating their own transition to electronic in-patient notes will allow clinical leaders, and ultimately, DHBs to make more informed decisions.