Communicare wins electronic record contract for North West

Primary care clinical and practice management software vendor Communicare has won a contract to roll out a shared electronic medical records system for community and primary care delivery within Queensland's North West Hospital and Health Service (HHS).

The health service covers a vast area in north-west Queensland and includes a number of hospitals, the largest situated in Mt Isa, as well as four primary healthcare centres and five community healthcare centres.

It provides a range of community and primary health services such as aged care assessment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs, child and maternal health services, alcohol, tobacco and other drug services, home care, community health nursing, sexual health, allied health, oral health and health promotion programs.

Communicare, which is part of the HealthConnex group now owned by Telstra Health, is best known as a community health software system with specific application in indigenous communities, but Communicare CEO Greg Robinson said it had developed into a holistic primary healthcare system.

“It is very patient centric and population health centric,” Mr Robinson said. “The patient is key and they will go into a health service and see many different types of service providers, not just doctors. We manage that whole journey.”

Mr Robinson said one of the benefits of the system was that if healthcare practitioners or service providers had to visit patients in very remote areas that have little or no internet connectivity, they can still use the system. “They can deliver the service and get back to their base and everything will resynchronise,” he said.

“We are going to be one system across that whole primary healthcare service: drug and alcohol, sexual health, we have tabs in Communicare where somebody's life history can be stored. Immunisations, mums and bubs, healthy under fives, weight and diabetes, chronic conditions – it is pretty comprehensive.”

North West HHS board chair Paul Woodhouse said the service would be the first and largest public health service in Queensland to introduce Communicare.

“Our HHS is the first to roll out this program in the state and the largest multi-site health service,” Mr Woodhouse said in a statement. “Other services will definitely be looking to the North West to guide their improvements in electronic patient record-keeping.”

North West HHS executive director of nursing and midwifery Michelle Garner said the health service had evaluated many different patient record software programs before settling on Communicare.

“It was important that the software worked for our staff, streamlining how we record patient care, and also talked to our existing programs,” she said.

“We are particularly excited that Communicare will provide a single database for the entire patient experience, recording each presentation, admission, prescription and test result.

“Communicare will protect the privacy of medical information, with all our treating health partners requiring approval for access which will be specifically tailored for their clinical need. For example, sexual health patient information will only be accessed by those who require the information.”

Communicare will run alongside multiple existing electronic and paper systems, but the use of separate patient systems such as Medical Director, Ferret and the sexual health system SHIP will be phased out over time.

A staged roll-out across the North West HHS will begin next week.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Comments   

# Michael 2015-03-05 13:57
This is great, but I just hope this is something that is not going to function in a silo, and that they will use whatever passes for standards and interoperable technologies.

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