Epasstill Failing After 4 Years

Epasstill Failing After 4 Years

Australian Medical Association (SA) Inc
First Floor, 80 Brougham Place North Adelaide SA 5006
PO Box 134 North Adelaide SA 5006
Fax: (08) 8267 5349 /

EPASstill failing after 4 years

If the state’s new electronic hospitalrecords system were a car it would be recalled,says the state’s peak medical body.

An Australian Medical Association (South Australia) [AMA(SA)]questionnaire sent tomedical staff using the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) suggests the system is not fit for purpose and raises doubts about whether it should be used at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

While SA Health says EPAS is designed to improve patient care and safety, the questionnaireadds weight to claims the system is still not delivering on its promise.

A third of respondents reported EPAS being directly responsible for “near misses” while nearly 20 per cent reported EPAS causedadverse patient outcomes.Serious errors included charting medications for the wrong patient, critical delays in obtaining records on surgical patients and pathology errors such as mixing patients and specimens.

Despite repeated assurances from SA Health that the system is improving patient care, over 30 per cent of respondents say that patients are not clinically safer with EPAS.

AMA(SA) President, Associate Professor William Tam, said while administrators dismissed doctors’ complaints, the questionnaire shows seasoned users of other electronic systems are among the harshest critics.

“Doctors have been using electronic records in private practice for years. The AMA(SA) has consistently supported the concept of an electronic medical record. Yet our members are telling us that EPAS has failed to meet their hopes and expectations and is contributing to errors.

“You might expect some teething problems but quite honestly, after four years we would expect most problems to be fixed.”

Besides safety concerns, many respondents found the system impossibly slow and difficult to use. Many staff reported a 25-30 per cent drop in productivity, despite being long time users.

Nearly 40 per cent using the system for more than two years said their opinion of EPAS was poor and 18 per cent reported their opinion of the system was worse after becoming familiar with the system.

“With a new hospital anda system already over- burdened, these issues place enormous stress on doctors and other health professionals using the system,” Dr Tam said.

“The AMA(SA) has ideas about possible improvements but the government first needs to accept it has a problem.When people who have been using the system for more than two years tell you it is dangerous and unfit for purpose you need to take notice,” he said.

15 December 2018

Contact: Associate Professor William Tam on 0419 938 668

Or AMA(SA) - Jane Ford on 0414539542 or Claudia Baccanello on 08 8361 0109