Secondary Care

Ireland’s digital health ambitions boosted

The opening of the new Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) in May 2017 is a step closer following a significant upgrade to software systems in the department.

With in excess of 60,000 presentations a year, the ED in Limerick is one of the busiest in the country. The systems upgrade will allow the Department to better manage increasing demand and has built in additional functionality that will better track patient journeys through the new clinical environment and collect data in real time.

The new IMS MAXIMS system is functionally rich, easy to use, fully integrated into other hospital systems and has a comprehensive suite of reporting and analytical tools, allowing consultants and their teams the capability to maximise the operation of the ED.

Effectively introducing an electronic healthcare record (EHR) for unscheduled care in UHL, the system went live over the weekend with no disruption to patient care.

According to Dr Damien Ryan, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, UL Hospitals Group: “The installation of the latest version of IMS MAXIMS will allow staff in the ED to have a modern, reliable information system which will allow us to capture more information about attendance patterns, patient flow and outcome. This system has the capability of allowing us in time to move to a paperless environment thus future-proofing our ICT infrastructure for years to come.”

Brian McKeon, Director of Informatics, Planning and Performance, UL Hospitals Group, said:

“The new IMS MAXIMS ED system continues our journey towards fully digital care for the people of the Mid-West and throughout Ireland.  It is integrated with our own group-wide patient management system, which has one identifier for all acute patients in the region.  Our previous legacy system was unstable and had limited clinical data, but this new system will allow us to analyse real-time ED data through our cloud-based Business Intelligence platform.

“The Medicine Directorate and eHealth Division staff here in the UL Hospitals Group have worked tirelessly to deliver this system in 2016.  Always in the background, these talented and dedicated people are transforming the way we care for our patients into the future,” Mr McKeon added.

Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer, Health Service Executive, said: “This weekend the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick went live with a digital system that enables a step change in the way information can be used to deliver care in emergency situations. The new system enables real time information to support the management of patient flow and delivers bed side clinical information to staff, enabling safer more efficient care to be delivered. The project is a great achievement, and a huge credit to the local and national teams and in particular the clinical leadership in Limerick who have championed the need for this system and the adoption of it.

“This is another example of the EHR being used to improve processes, while also improving patient safety through the use of technology.  This delivery of this project has been a team effort with an Irish digital health company, IMS MAXIMS, a company that is leading the way in its innovative approach to the delivery of technology to the health sector globally and is growing its Irish operations in 2016 and 2017. This go live shows that by working together we can build a better health service.”

UL Hospitals Group CEO Colette Cowan added: “This is a fantastic achievement for UL Hospitals and the community we serve. The new software enables clinicians to have a shared view of their patients’ conditions and gives them the tools to quickly and accurately treat or discharge them. It also readies the hospital for further digital transformation. We are making great advancements in digital health and I look forward to seeing the continued benefits to staff and patients in Limerick.”

Key functionality of the ED system includes recording the attendance, tracking, clinical triage and recorded outcomes for each and every patient.  The solution caters for the design of the new ED, which will be laid out in zones and cubicles, and tracks each patient throughout the ED with enhanced data collection.

Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health said: “The continued implementation of electronic patient records into different health environments supports better and safer clinical decision making in our health service in 2016. The delivery of digital to support healthcare helps move us forward on our journey as we continue to build a better health service. I commend the work of the staff at UHL and the support provided by Ireland’s own IMS MAXIMS, in ensuring a successful transition to this digital ED system.

“Delivering over this weekend into a busy emergency department again illustrates the commitment and passion of our staff to advance how we can use technology to improve the way in which we deliver care.  This follows on from the success in Cork University Maternity Hospital and is another step forward in making digital solutions work for the Irish healthcare service.  The eHealth Ireland team is now an intrinsic part of our plans for the future with an ambitious programme set for next year and the years ahead to ensure that digital is core to the delivery of healthcare in Ireland.”

Reflecting on the go-live and plans for the future, Shane Tickell, CEO, IMS MAXIMS, said:

“This weekend’s deployment is the starting gun for a new and exciting phase of our relationship with UL Hospitals Group. The changes being made at the ED are set to dramatically change the way clinicians care for their patients, which is particularly important given that they are at their most vulnerable in this department.

“We have exciting aspirations for the future, which include scaling up the electronic platform, so that it’s used across the entire Hospital Group, providing all of the Mid-West region with the benefits of a truly integrated care system.”