A new electronic record tool specifically designed for mental health clinical care has just gone live at West Coast District Health Board. It is a pioneer programme that will be implemented by the South Island Alliance into all of the South Island DHBs.
The new software brings together all the client’s relevant information, including assessments, treatment plans and details of other people involved in their care. This integrated view, together with features such as prompts to arrange follow up appointments, will enable Mental Health staff to spend more time with clients and provide them with more comprehensive care.
Mental Health staff now have access to a complete picture of the client’s clinical record in one system, meaning all necessary information is available as they work with the client and other staff to make clinical decisions. It is also believed the system will save staff time, as data and information entry is easier, more integrated and the electronic processes more streamlined.
West Coast Mental Health clinical staff have been working closely with system developers Orion Health to ensure it meets the complex needs of Mental Health Services. West Coast DHB Programme Director Michael Frampton said, “This has been a great opportunity for West Coast staff to be at the forefront of developing a tool that will be used throughout the South Island. Staff have been instrumental in reducing the old system’s 200 forms (completed for different circumstances) to 22 core documents.”
“It has been a great process of examining how we do things, identifying how we can improve and how the new system can support that. Staff have really taken ownership of getting the electronic system right, from the development stage, through to testing and refining it.”
The project has also been supported by a small dedicated consumer group representing the clients of Mental Health services. The group has been consulted and has made recommendations throughout the project. The consumer group is looking forward to having a more comprehensive and integrated clinical system which members believe will reduce the stress on clients in times of crisis.
Significant attention has been paid to ensuring the system complies fully with all security and privacy processes as Michael Frampton explains “The system has a ‘break glass’ feature that means those not directly involved in the treatment of a client have to enter a reason before they can access the file. This is stringently audited, meaning the new system offers greater privacy protection and security than what was in place previously.”
The development of the mental health software has been supported by the South Island Alliance, a collaboration of the five South Island DHBs working together to improve services. Following the introduction of the system in West Coast DHB it will be rolled out to the other South Island DHBs as part of the Alliance’s Information Services workplan.
Chair of the Information Services Service Level Alliance Dr Andrew Bowers said this was just one of a number of initiatives to improve patient care, “By developing more integrated systems we can streamline the patient journey from primary care to hospital and back again – there will be less duplication and clinical staff will have access to better information on which to base treatment decisions. Working collaboratively also enables South Island DHBs to benefit from the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of having the same information systems across the region.