Cairns Hospital

Wendy Sutcliffe, Electronic Health Information System Project Manager, Albury Wodonga Health, CeBIT eHealth Conference, Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sydney, 1 June 2011

Hospital overview

The 450-bed Cairns Hospital is the largest major hospital in Far North Queensland, offering general services to a population of 150,000 people.

Hospital services include 24-hour acute care, accident and emergency, aged care, alcohol, tobacco and other drug services, cardiac services, child and youth health, gynaecology, intensive care, medical, mental health, obstetrics, oncology, perioperative, rehabilitation, surgical and a special care baby unit.

Cairns Hospital is Australia’s first large-scale regional digital hospital, leading the way in health care information and technology. Patients, clinicians and health services are connected through fully integrated digital healthcare systems.

Client: Queensland Health (Public Sector)
Implementation: 2003
Modules: Induction, IntraOp, PACU, PreOp, Analytics, Chronology, Remote Assist and Admin
Location: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Induction Bays: 7
Operating Theatres: 11
Post Anaesthetic Care Units: 25

The hospital’s challenge

In 1999, Queensland Health sought an automated, electronic anaesthesia information management system.

The expected outcomes of the system were improved patient safety, improved clinical management reporting and increased efficiency of the perioperative environment.

Early versions of Getz Clinical modules were selected for a trial in Cairns Hospital.

Over a period of 4 years, the hospital’s anaesthetists and post anaesthetic care unit nurses provided significant input into the development of the Getz Clinical modules, which went live in operating theatres in 2003.

Getz Clinical solution

The full installation included hardware (touch screen monitors and server infrastructure), professional implementation services, training services, technical support services and configuration.

To ensure the implementation was successful, processes and practices at Queensland Health were required to integrate with the Getz Clinical systems. Interfaces were created to existing services such as pathology, operating room management, hospital information systems and client directory, and the vast array of medical devices in use.

Clinical studies run by Cairns Hospital demonstrated that since implementation, data entry in theatre decreased by 3–10 minutes depending on the duration of the case, and post anaesthetic care unit cases reduced data entry by 8–36 minutes per case. In recovery, staff numbers were reduced by two personnel per eight patient bays.

Other clinician-identified benefits of the Getz Clinical modules included faster data entry time — such as through the selection of default drug preferences — and improved quality of record keeping. The automated data aided anaesthetists maintaining college credentials and the application assisted in staff training.

Queensland Health identified that project success was achieved through ‘collaboration, acknowledging the different "languages" of the stakeholders and the common clinical goals held.’

After the success at Cairns Hospital, and then in the second trial at Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Getz Clinical solution was deployed across 43 Queensland Health hospitals.

It became the largest ICT project of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest integrated perioperative network in the world.

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