Ireland’s digital health system boosted by upgrade at major hospital

University Hospital Limerick launches new ED patient management system to improve patient care

  • UHL introduces electronic health record for unscheduled care
  • Move marks a step-change in using information to deliver emergency care
  • System means patient and clinical management systems are integrated

The opening of the new emergency department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) in May 2017 is a step closer following a significant upgrade to software systems in the department.

With in excess of 60,000 presentations a year, the ED in Limerick is one of the busiest in the country.

The recent systems upgrade will allow the department to better manage increasing demand and it has built-in additional functionality that will better track patient journeys through the new clinical environment and collect data in real time.

The new system enables real-time information to support the management of patient flow and delivers bedside clinical information to staff, enabling safer, more-efficient care to be delivered

The new IMS MAXIMS system is functionally rich, easy to use, fully integrated into other hospital systems, and has a comprehensive suite of reporting and analytical tools, allowing consultants and their teams the capability to maximise the operation of the ED.

Effectively introducing an electronic healthcare record (EHR) for unscheduled care in UHL, the system went live over a weekend with no disruption to patient care.

Dr Damien Ryan, consultant in emergency medicine at the hospital, said: “The installation of the latest version of IMS MAXIMS will allow staff in the ED to have a modern, reliable information system which will allow us to capture more information about attendance patterns, patient flow and outcome.

“This system has the capability of allowing us in time to move to a paperless environment thus future-proofing our ICT infrastructure for years to come.”

Brian McKeon, director of informatics, planning and performance, added: “The new system continues our journey towards fully-digital care for the people of the Mid-West and throughout Ireland.

“It is integrated with our own group-wide patient management system, which has one identifier for all acute patients in the region. Our previous legacy system was unstable and had limited clinical data, but this new system will allow us to analyse real-time ED data through our cloud-based business intelligence platform.”

The delivery of digital solutions to support healthcare helps move us forward on our journey as we continue to build a better health service

And Richard Corbridge, chief information officer at the Health Service Executive, said: “The ED at University Hospital Limerick has gone live with a digital system that enables a step change in the way information can be used to deliver care in emergency situations.

“The new system enables real-time information to support the management of patient flow and delivers bedside clinical information to staff, enabling safer, more-efficient care to be delivered.

“The project is a great achievement, and a huge credit to the local and national teams and, in particular, the clinical leadership in Limerick who have championed the need for this system and the adoption of it.

“This is another example of the EHR being used to improve processes, while also improving patient safety through the use of technology.”

Key functionality of the ED system includes recording the attendance, tracking, clinical triage and recorded outcomes for each and every patient.

The solution caters for the design of the new ED, which will be laid out in zones and cubicles, and tracks each patient throughout the ED with enhanced data collection.

Simon Harris, Minister for Health, said: “The continued implementation of electronic patient records into different health environments supports better and safer clinical decision making in our health service.

“The delivery of digital solutions to support healthcare helps move us forward on our journey as we continue to build a better health service.”

Reflecting on the go-live, and plans for the future, Shane Tickell, chief executive of IMS MAXIMS, added: “The changes being made at the ED are set to dramatically change the way clinicians care for their patients, which is particularly important given that they are at their most vulnerable in this department.

“We have exciting aspirations for the future, which include scaling up the electronic platform, so that it’s used across the entire hospital group, providing all of the Mid-West region with the benefits of a truly-integrated care system.”

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