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SA Health rejected “fix” for EPAS woes

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A former head of SA Health says technology that would fix problems with the state’s beleaguered $422 million electronic health system was rejected by the department last year.

Former SA Health CEO Ray Blight told InDaily he had pitched the Miya patient flow system – developed by his SA-based company Alcidion – to SA Health in November last year.

He said the technology was a relatively inexpensive method to speed up doctors’ access to patient information within the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS), as well as other e-health systems.

Doctors have previously reported frustration with the speed of the system, including having to use paper towel to take patient notes, rather than EPAS, because it was too slow to use safely in emergencies.

Miya sends patient test results and other information such as patient allergies in real time from electronic health systems, such as EPAS, to doctor-held iPads.

This avoids the time taken for doctors to actively find results on those systems.

The technology is currently operating in 11 hospitals across the country.

“I’ve put that case to very senior SA Health staff, and the response is – ‘yes, your technology is fantastic, but if we wait long enough, EPAS, in time, will be able to do the same thing’,” said Blight.

A spokesperson for SA Health told InDaily this morning that “the eHealth systems SA Health has invested in will already meet the business need covered by Mr Blight’s proposal”.

However, Blight said, “when I’ve talked to other senior clinicians and shown them our technology, the response has been one of excitement”.

“We win the hearts and minds of the doctors and nurses … because it’s fast, it’s visual, it’s focused on the things that they are worried about: what is this patient’s clinical risk? What are the best options to mitigate that risk?

“But we just can’t get past the fact that a contract (regarding EPAS) has been written, huge sums are tied up in it, it’s creating a lot of problems and … there doesn’t seem to be any way that the bureaucrats can think outside of the square.

“Our technology is ready now. What they should do is put it into place.”

Blight said he made the pitch in November last year to have the Miya system implemented in the Royal Adelaide hospital with enough lead time before the transfer to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“In the worst case (scenario) they go into the new RAH with 2015 advanced technology in their hands,” he said.

He said the technology had been installed in a three public hospitals in Western Melbourne, of a similar scale to the new RAH, and estimated it would cost around $1.5 million, plus ongoing maintenance costs, to implement the system in the existing RAH, or the new RAH.

“When you look at the ($422 million) cost of EPAS it’s a drop in the bucket,” he said.

The technology can also instantly provide doctors with guidance on patient treatment options, using information from the relevant peak professional medical bodies.

“We’re certainly not suggesting that our system would be making decisions for (doctors),” said Blight.

“It’s up to the individual clinician to decide what … to do.”

Alcidion, founded in Adelaide in 2000, yesterday announced their intention to list on the Australian stock exchange.

SA Health was known as the Health Commission during Blight’s time as CEO.

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