Rural local health districts in New South Wales have rolled out a fluid and infusion management solution developed by eHealth NSW.
The implementation covers intravenous/subcutaneous fluid therapy, electrolyte maintenance/replacement therapy, and all infusions which are ordered on the NSW Adult/Paediatric Fluid Order charts. The rollout package also includes Paediatric PowerPlans, automation for fluid balance calculations, and reporting functions to monitor performance and management.
It has been introduced in all rural LHDs in the state, including residential aged care facilities and multipurpose services sites, with an implementation at Mid North Coast planned for the end of the year.
WHY IT MATTERS
According to a media release, the rollout of the FIM solution seeks to improve patient safety while providing additional prescribing and administration support to clinicians and nurses. It removes the need for paper infusion charts, allowing clinicians to prescribe, administer, and manage fluid and infusion orders or continuous infusions in the EMR, alongside patients’ regular medications.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
FIM is part of a statewide rollout of EMR-related digital health projects for inpatient and acute services. Last year, eHealth NSW also piloted an EMR solution called PowerForm, which captures patient information and collects clinical assessment, intervention and outcome data, to support a screening programme to identify breast cancer patients at risk of developing chronic lymphoedema.
To raise clinicians’ satisfaction with EMR, eHealth NSW and KLAS Research surveyed users across NSW Health last year to explore their current EMR experiences. Major findings of the survey indicated that users wanted more training in EMR and greater involvement in the development of EMR solutions and policy changes.
ON THE RECORD
“As one of a group of doctors treating patients in rural sites in remote areas, I used to have to find the correct form required for the fluid for a patient, and then fax it to the site. It was a much longer process. With the [FIM] solution, it’s quicker, easier and clearer,” shared Dr Vimbai Kapuya at Yass Hospital.
She also added that the FIM solution is “safer” for patients. “Before FIM, we used paper charts. Now that it’s digital, the countersigning of fluids is more efficient, and it’s very clear what fluids are being ordered. With paper charts, there were errors when bad handwriting meant doctors and nurses couldn’t understand what was being ordered. For younger patients, I have found FIM provides an extra layer of safety”.