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St. Stephen’s Hospital: From EMR Implementation to Digital Integration

Happy clinician using tablet

The journey to EMR implementation can be a long and challenging one. St. Stephen’s Hospital of Hervey Bay, Australia—part of UnitingCare Queensland—recognized this and identified a wealth of opportunity to improve patient care and safety through increased connectivity. This meant designing a newly integrated environment where medical devices and other technologies could work in sync while moving to paperless workflows.

To address this, St. Stephen’s needed to improve access to data and images in near real time, improve the efficiencies of image documentation for the management of pressure injuries, and enhance the patient experience as a whole. The hospital convened a clinical team to guide the transition from start to finish, fully engaging in the design and build of this digitally reborn facility.

Increasing Care Connectivity

The clinical team first determined their guiding principles in meeting their goal to become a more digitally savvy, patient-focused hospital:

  • Keep patients and their safety front and center throughout the EMR implementation and beyond.
  • Base design principles following the 80/20 rule: 80% can be used at any UnitingCare Queensland hospital, and 20% can be facility-specific.
  • Design an experience that is clinician driven and supports standardization of clinical best practices and decision-making, including Australia National Standards and UnitingCare best practices.
  • Proactively identify, manage and resolve issues to maintain the project timeline, effectively utilize resources and ensure design decisions are aligned with the aforementioned guiding principles.

Related: St. Stephens Hospital Case Studies

Following the EMR implementation, the hospital created a scalable platform enabling seamless device connectivity at the point of care and within the workflow. Through this, they were able to drive near real time monitoring and device data, as well as clinical decision support tools, care plans, electronic room signage and enhanced patient engagement. The scalable platform also made possible a decrease in infection rates that has been sustained over the last four years.

Thanks to biomedical device integration, nurses have been able to spend nearly 3,000 more hours at the bedside—leading to a 58% improvement in care efficiency. Additionally, MRSA rates have been eliminated at the hospital, and hospital-acquired injuries have been reduced by 19%.

Since these achievements, St. Stephen’s has become the first HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 validated hospital in Australia, as tracked by the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model.

In today’s technology-driven climate, it becomes increasingly apparent that simply having access to data is not enough. In order to improve outcomes, connectivity is crucial. St. Stephen’s went above and beyond their EMR implementation to achieve this connectivity, and now patients and providers benefit from having patient-centric data available at the right time, within the right context and within appropriate workflows.

HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence

The HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence recognizes the thoughtful application of health information and technology to substantially improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes and population health around the world. The Davies Awards program promotes HIMSS’s vision and mission by recognizing and sharing use cases, model practices and lessons learned on how to improve health and wellness through the power of information and technology.

"St. Stephen's thoughtfully adopted a variety of technology solutions as part of a digital health strategy to improve acute care access and quality in the Hervey Bay area," said Jonathan French, CPHIMS, SHIMSS, senior director of quality and patient safety initiatives at HIMSS. "Care standardization is supported by the seamless exchange of clinical data and vital signs into St. Stephen's decision support, making it easier to deliver the right care at the right time. For this, HIMSS is proud to recognize St. Stephen's Hospital as the first Davies Award recipient in Australia."

“Everyone involved with St. Stephen’s is both pleased and proud to accept the HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence,” said Madonna Bowers, acting general manager and director of clinical services at St. Stephen’s Hospital. “As the first fully integrated digital hospital in Australia, health information and technology has been a cornerstone to our success in providing excellent and safe care to our patients and the community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank HIMSS, and the past and present employees and volunteers of St. Stephen’s and UnitingCare Queensland who have been on this journey.”

Learn From Award-Winning Healthcare Organizations

See the full list of 2019 Davies Award winners

More About the HIMSS Davies Awards

Updated March 6, 2020

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