Earlier this year the South Tipperary Hospice Movement was given national recognition for the initiative it showed in taking measures to enable its home care team to deliver the best possible service in homes in all parts of South Tipperary and West Waterford.
The voluntary organisation was awarded the Irish Health Care 2017 award for the introduction of a computerised management system.
Integral to ensuring the best possible service is delivered in those homes is ensuring that the home care team is fully equipped with all of the information they require and a transformation of the office record system was required.
South Tipperary Hospice secured the prestigious award for successfully implementing a transfer of information to digital allowing personnel in the field to use laptops which guaranteed access to vital information remotely.
The use of traditional hand written notes with copies of OPD letters,scan reports and blood results kept in the office in Clonmel was no longer deemed fit for purpose.It was cumbersome and time consuming and did not lend itself to allow ready access to all notes by all staff particularly when on call out of hours.
Because of this time was taken from direct patient contact as a lot of time was spent traveling to and from the office collecting notes and getting information on new referrals.
In a massive area of over 2,500 square kilometers with a population almost 95,000 the dated system was a drain on one of the most valuable components of the delivery of a good service –time.
The purpose of the planned transformation of records was to reduce travelling to and from the office daily to update charts and read up on new patients, and ultimately create more direct time with patients and families.
The new system allowed for better decision making as all patients visits and records are up to date and accessible by all members of the team 24/7.Notes are now typed and the likelihood of errors from indecipherable writing was reduced.
The laptops to be used by the specialist home care team were sponsored by a local company and the office collaborated with the HSE to ensure the laptops were encrypted to safeguard confidentiality as well as to secure the information collated.