Tassie ambos move to electronic reporting

Rugged computers to replace pen and paper

The Tasmanian Ambulance Service (TAS) will procure some 70 rugged notebook computers over four years to facilitate the migration off its paper-based patient care reporting process to a new electronic system.

The Business and Risk Strategy Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), on behalf of TAS, is seeking offers from a business capable of supplying Panasonic CF19 Toughbook computers to be used in the new Electronic Patient Care Record (ePCR) project.

"TAS is in the process of implementing a major improvement to its management of patient care reporting by changing from a complex paper-based patient care report system to an electronic tablet system," according to the department. "In parallel with this new initiative are a number of associated business improvement activities based on adoption of the ePCR and supported, where appropriate, by a range of modern DHHS ICT capabilities."

The new business improvement initiatives are being coordinated through DHHS information systems, the state's HealthConnect program, and TAS.

A spokesperson for the DHHS said the total budget for the project is just over a one million dollars.

Tasmanian representatives have been in active discussions with the Victorian Metropolitan Ambulance Service (MAS) since 2004 regarding the installation of the Victorian Ambulance Clinical Information System (VACIS) within TAS.

Tasmanian Ambulance officers use paper-based case sheets which do not allow "rapid identification" of clinical, demographic, and financial details.

The DHHS anticipates that storing patient and case-based information electronically will improve clinical education, financial auditing and incident management.

The contract is likely to start on November 1 this year and the delivery of Toughbooks will be distributed throughout the state to CBDs in Hobart, Launceston, and Burnie.

The supplier is required to provide Microsoft Windows-based hardware, including the Windows Tablet Edition OEM licence.

The hardware platform must also meet the requirements to run Windows Vista Premium.

Panasonic Australia Toughbook product manager John Penn said CIOs are increasingly recognizing the importance of evaluating the recurring costs of notebook failures over time, and deploying solutions that lower TCO.

"Toughbooks are renowned for having an extremely low failure rate compared with other notebooks, and the deployment of Toughbooks in organizations like the Metropolitan Ambulance Service [and] enterprises [like] Coca-Cola Amatil and Telstra is testament to their reliability."

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