EPAS threat to new Royal Adelaide Hospital

Days after the Weatherill Government admitted that EPAS – its beleaguered $422 million patient computer system – will not be rolled out to the current Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), there is real doubt about it being ready for the opening of the New Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH).

On ABC radio this morning David Swan CE of Health SA raised the prospect that the EPAS system will not be rolled out in time for the opening of the NRAH next year.

“The failure to deliver EPAS on time will be a disaster in the making for staff and patients of the NRAH,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“There is no room in the NRAH for the installation of the paper based record keeping systems that are currently being used in most South Australian hospitals.

“If there is no functioning electronic patient record system and an ad hoc paper-based patient record system is crammed into the new hospital, patients will be placed at increased risk.”

The Auditor General reported in December last year that in the original 2011 Cabinet Submission “the new Royal Adelaide Hospital was reliant on the EPAS solution being implemented and embedded with reformed clinical workflows and practices by 2016”.

“EPAS is the equivalent of the central nervous system of our hospitals and it’s clear that system has been in very poor health for a long time.

“When EPAS was first approved it was scheduled to cost just $220m – it is currently double that cost and rising.

“The Weatherill Government is already taking an enormous risk with the health of patients at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital by forcing staff to learn how to operate a new patient computer system at the same time as they learn how to operate the new hospital,” said Mr Wade.

“Health Minister Jack Snelling has repeatedly maintained that he would not subject hospital staff to the double whammy of having to learn how to use a complicated electronic record system while adjusting to an unfamiliar work environment.

“The principal reason for training RAH health professionals in the new computer system before the shift to the new RAH was to protect patient safety; the Weatherill Government’s bungling of this IT project will put staff under stress and patient safety at risk.”