St Michael’s Hospital has achieved a significant milestone in East Ireland’s journey towards digitally enabled healthcare by going live with an electronic patient management system in its Emergency Department (ED).

The system went live in June, effectively making the ED paper-lite as the core clinical and administrative processes moved from being paper-based to electronic with no disruption to patient care.

The functionally-rich software called MAXIMS, from Irish clinical technology specialists IMS MAXIMS introduces new work-flow processes that will simplify and speed up core activities. The hospital’s vision of having a completely paperless ED also means better informed clinical decisions and enhanced outcomes for patients.

Following the successful go-live, the ED teams can manage the department’s capacity to treat patients much more effectively as staff have real-time oversight of a person’s journey through the department. Live tracking of a patient’s condition using alerts and warnings including life-threatening risk factors, means patients are prioritised on their level of urgency, triage priority, and length of stay. Staff are no longer reliant on handwritten notes and a paper based whiteboard.

Patient safety in the department will greatly improve by using a single health care record for each patient, which seamlessly integrates into the hospital’s other clinical systems. Staff can access the digital records from anywhere in the hospital, subsequently avoiding clinical risks associated with paper such as mislaid medical notes and incoherent handwriting.

Olive Vines, Emergency Department Nurse Manager, St Michael’s Hospital, says: “Since the successful go-live, nursing and medical documentation have improved significantly, becoming clearer and more concise. Our workflow processes have become more efficient with the reduction of transcribing patient details into hand written referral and GP letters. Our need for storage of paper notes has also reduced and the introduction of an electronic version of the Manchester Triage system allows the ED to provide standardised patient priority allocation.

“Switching from a completely outdated, inadequate ED patient assessment and care documentation paper system to MAXIMS has been a dramatic change management project for the staff of St Michael’s ED. The transformation, however, has been a success because of the true partnership approach between us and IMS MAXIMS. From the outset and throughout we worked as one team.”

Healthcare services across East Ireland are also set to benefit from the deployment, as dashboard screens reporting on ED performance can be monitored at a local, regional and national level. St Michael’s Hospital can share information on its waiting times and co-ordinate with other hospitals on its capacity to ascertain the quickest and most effective place for patients to be treated. On-call consultants for example, will be able to access electronic records in both EDs and manage demand remotely.

The next phase of the project is to make the department completely paperless with the introduction of electronic order communication, assessments for specialist services such as the wound clinic, and e-prescribing.

Shane Tickell, CEO, IMS MAXIMS says: “We are delighted to be able to support St Michael’s on such a significant project that will benefit patients across East Ireland. The ED’s move to become paperless and the integration with St Vincent’s University Hospital will greatly improve patient outcomes and capacity management, which is vitally important given the current pressures on services and specifically, waiting times.

“The St Michael’s go-live is our second Urgent Care deployment in Ireland in six months and builds on the success reported by our customer St Vincent’s University Hospital Emergency Department, which is part of the same hospital group. As an Irish health technology company, it’s a real privilege to be such an integral part of the nation’s success in achieving its digital health ambitions.”