Two new state-of-the-art eHealth systems at the Tamworth Hospital are bridging the city-country divide, as well as attracting much needed medical staff and specialists to the region.
In July Tamworth became one of 15 facilities in the Hunter New England to launch the Medchart system, an online automated medication system that is replacing paper charts.
Nurse manager of critical care services Sam Gardner said the Medchart system has and will continue to reduce errors and increase the time nurses can spend caring for patients with reduced administration.
Nurses can also log on from anywhere in the hospital to see what and when any medications are due.
That system will soon be coupled with the NSW Health backed Electronic Record for Clinical Care (eRIC), with Tamworth’s Intensive Care Unit just the third in the district to implement the system which is planned to eventually be statewide.
“It’s a clinical system built for intensive care patients – so our nursing staff and medical teams will have an integrated program that links all of our data, reduce administration time and allow more time for patient care, which is extremely important,” Ms Gardner said.
“Cardiac, blood pressure, ventilation and fluid input and output monitoring is all automatically fed into the one system so we won’t need to document all that manually.”
The system, installed in each room and bed, can also act as a secure live video feed, meaning patients and clinicians in Tamworth can have live time consultations with doctors and specialists at other hospitals.
Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Leslie Williams was in town for the announcement, and said these new eHealth initiatives are closing the gap between city and regional health, while local member Kevin Anderson believes the new technology will attract more specialists and clinicians to the region.
“The challenge we face in regional NSW is the recruitment and retention of doctors, allied health and nursing staff right across the board,” he said.
“This cutting edge technology will make people sit up and take notice – this will get the attention of those people thinking about moving to regional NSW – we are at the cutting edge of technology and providing professional development for them.”
The eRIC system will be fully operational by September 24, with staff about to start a two week live trial following weeks of training.