Lady Cilento Children's gets a $5.8 million top-up for ieMR

The Queensland government has come up with an extra $5.8 million to support the roll-out of the Cerner integrated electronic medical record (ieMR) at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital (LCCH) as part of an overall $70 million three-point plan to try to solve some of the problems affecting the $1.5 billion hospital.

LCCH was plagued by poor planning before it opened in November last year and by bad publicity since, with claims of problems ranging from not enough beds to not enough parking spaces.

An independent review of the building and commissioning of the hospital released in August found that the rush to open the doors on the designated date had compromised proper processes, with medical equipment not turning up, staff still being hired and a malfunctioning phone system.

It also found that the rushed opening had affected the ICT systems, which required extensive data integration, convergence and information sharing requirements as the new hospital saw the closure of the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) and the Mater Children's Hospital (MCH) and merger of its administrative and medical records.

Cerner's system was already in use at the RCH while MCH used a scanned medical record. The ieMR was chosen for Lady Cilento but the report found that MCH staff struggled to access enough training and paper records were still being scanned into Cerner long after the hospital opened.

A clinical review of the hospital undertaken in March also found there was confusion over the different outpatient booking systems and the transfer of multiple versions of data contained in spreadsheets had to be done manually.

The hospital's ICT budget also blew out from the originally envisioned $40m to $93 million, the commissioning review found.

As part of a new support plan for the hospital announced today by Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick, up to $70 million will be made available over four years to support the hospital.

Mr Dick said the three elements of the plan involved an extra 31 beds, more support for the hospital’s IT systems, and doubling the hospital’s capacity to retrieve sick patients by air from rural and regional Queensland.

Mr Dick said the 31 new overnight beds would cover a range of specialty areas, including more paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds. The hospital opened last year with 300 beds so funded beds will now rise to 331.

The new funding is in addition to the $19 million provided in the 2015-16 budget to address structural deficit issues identified at the hospital.

“This is about ensuring the hospital is properly equipped to deliver frontline services to those Queenslanders who need them,” Mr Dick said.

“The Department of Health is conducting a detailed examination of the hospital’s ongoing financial and operating situation, and I have also been listening to the concerns being raised by some parents and some clinicians. And we’re responding.”

Up to an extra $20 million a year will be available for the new beds, along with an extra $1.3 million in annual funding for air retrieval. The $5.8 million for ICT is a one-off investment, Mr Dick said.

Recruitment for extra staff to support the additional beds would begin immediately and the beds would open as soon as they can be safely staffed, he said.

“New beds means more staff and the department has asked Children’s Health Queensland to begin the recruitment process as soon as possible.”

In its first year of operation the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital is expected to admit more than 38,000 children as inpatients and see around 190,000 children through outpatient clinics.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: Cerner, iEMR, Lady Cilento Children's Hospital

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