Funding for the delivery of NSW Health’s massive Single Digital Patient Record (SDRP) program has been secured, eHealth NSW says.
The project, which will see the Cerner electronic medical record used in most NSW hospitals replaced with a new system from US vendor Epic, is expected to cost up to $1 billion over the next decade, according to industry experts.
A tender for the project, which aims to consolidate all electronic medical records, patient administration and pathology information systems across NSW Health hospitals, was released in 2020. Wisconsin firm Epic was announced as the successful vendor this week.
The full value of the contract still remains to be determined. An eHealth NSW spokesperson said NSW Health was still in contract negotiations with Epic, expected to take several months.
“Further information about the contract value will be available via the government procurement portal upon its completion as per standard processes,” the spokesperson said.
While some funds have been declared in recent NSW budgets – including an undisclosed sum for the replacement of the state’s multiple laboratory information management systems in the 2020-21 budget and $141 million to kick off the project 2021-22 – the full cost of the implementation is still to be determined and is expected to run into the hundreds of millions.
However, the eHealth NSW spokesperson said “funding for the delivery of the program has been secured”.
The various instances of the Cerner and Orion Health electronic medical record platforms currently being used will be replaced by an Epic EMR under the program, along with the Cerner and Dedalus (formerly DXC) patient administration systems, the spokesperson confirmed.
Also to go are the five different pathology platforms, to be replaced by Epic’s laboratory information management system.
The original announcement mentioned that “various other clinical support systems” will also be replaced. However, the spokesperson refused to be drawn on what these systems are.
NSW Health uses a number of specialist clinical systems, including two systems (Cerner and Dedalus) for its multi-million dollar electronic medications management platforms (EMM), an intensive care system from MetaVision called the electronic record for intensive care (eRIC), and a maternity and obstetrics system from Meridian Health Informatics.
There are also several widely used systems for oncology such as ARIA, Mosaiq and Charm. The eHealth NSW spokesperson declined to comment on the fate of these systems.
However, the $85 million radiology and picture archiving and communication system (RIS-PACS) from Sectra is not involved, as per the original tender, and nor is the Fujitsu-hosted enterprise imaging repository (EIR).
“The Sectra RIS-PACS and enterprise imaging repository (EIR) are planned to be integrated with the SDPR system and not planned to be replaced as part of the SDPR program,” the spokesperson said.
In addition to the nine instances of the Cerner EMR and Orion Health’s system used in the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNLHD), there are also two instances of the Telstra Health EMR used by St Vincent’s Public Hospital in Darlinghurst and the Ramsay Health Care-operated Northern Beaches Hospital.
The spokesperson said neither of those are planned to move to the Epic solution. “St Vincent’s Public Hospital and Northern Beaches Hospital systems are however planned to be integrated to the new solution in a similar way to the current integration with existing eMR and PAS systems,” the spokesperson said.
Internally built solutions such as the health information exchange HealtheNet and the Clinical Health Information Exchange (CHIE) will be retained, the spokesperson said.
HNELHD will be the first LHD to use the new, integrated EMR, PAS and LIMS platform, which will then be followed by further implementations across NSW Health, they said.
“Following the completion of contract negotiations, a detailed plan will be developed for the implementation which will confirm the start date and estimated duration of implementations.”
Details of the hosting of the system in the public secure cloud will be finalised during the contract negotiation process, eHealth NSW said.