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Portland Hospital’s Quality Unit reports an increase in productivity

SYDNEY, Aust. – March 25, 2014– InterSystems, a global leader in software for connected healthcare, today announced that Portland Hospital has become the first in the South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) in Victoria to implement electronic medication management across all wards, using the InterSystems TrakCare® unified healthcare information system.

One of 12 public hospitals in the region using TrakCare for clinical information, patient administration, and shared electronic health records (EHRs), Portland Hospital’s medication management data is now available across the regional EHR system.

“All Portland Hospital patients now have their medications ordered and administered through TrakCare Medication Management,” said Katharina Redford, Divisional Manager – Productivity and Development at SWARH. “The medications they use before, during and after hospitalisation are now included in the discharge summary reconciliation.”

Research presented by Portland Hospital’s Quality Unit showed that productivity increased in the four months after implementing electronic medication management. It found that the time to create initial charts for new patients declined by 30% and for returning patients declined by 55%. It also found that the pharmacy department halved the amount of time spent reviewing medication charts because they were more readily accessible online. In the future, the Portland implementation is also expected to improve patient safety and bring financial benefits by preventing adverse medication events.

Explaining the effect on adverse events, Redford said, “TrakCare will generate an alert, for example, if you try to prescribe penicillin to a patient who is allergic to it, or if there are other special conditions. The system will also alert you if the medication has already been administered. The recommended doses from the MIMS database are displayed. Doctors can set shorter and longer durations, but there is a set of controls in place that may have been bypassed on a paper record.”

In the next phase, SWARH will use TrakCare’s integration capabilities to implement secure electronic messaging for uploading discharge summaries to the Australian Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) and to share them with general practitioners. TrakCare will also integrate with Portland Hospital’s pharmacy system to create Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) compliant discharge descriptions, so patients can fill prescriptions outside the hospital.

These initiatives, which extend the benefits of closed loop electronic medication management beyond the hospital and into the community, are part of SWARH’s strategy to implement electronic medication management more broadly across the region. These benefits include increased patient safety through fewer adverse events due to prescribing errors and allergic reactions

Key to the success of the Portland implementation was a high level of clinician adoption. Redford attributed this to the support of the chief executive and ensuring staff had input into the system’s design and were thoroughly trained in its use. Importantly, contingency measures in the hospital’s existing medication management protocols were effectively transferred to the new electronic system to protect patient safety.

TrakCare’s useability and ease of configuration also contributed to the high level of adoption. “The users influenced the configuration of the system. They had a lot of say about how the screens looked and how their workflows fitted in,” said Redford. “InterSystems has been very responsive in minimising any frustration with the useability of the system.”

“SWARH continues to lead the way in the use of technology for connected care, in this case, showing how electronic medication management can be successfully implemented by engaging clinicians,” said Darren Jones, Australian Country Manager at InterSystems. “We are pleased with the results of Portland Hospital’s research showing the early benefits of the new system and look forward to working closely with SWARH to extend these benefits over time.”

About InterSystems

InterSystems is a global leader in software for connected care, with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and offices in 25 countries. InterSystems TrakCare® is an internet-based unified healthcare information system that rapidly delivers the benefits of an electronic patient record. InterSystems Caché® is the world’s most widely used database system in clinical applications. InterSystems Ensemble® is a platform for rapid integration and the development of connectable applications. InterSystems products are used by thousands of hospitals and laboratories worldwide, including all of the top 15 hospitals on the Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals as rated by U.S. News and World Report. For more information, visit

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Editorial Contact

Chris Bowes
Bowes Communications
+61 (0)2 9387 2332