SA Health’s Electronic Health Record | Final Report now out on the EPAS Independent Review and the Government’s Response

11 February 2019

The Public Service Association (PSA) has received the final Independent Report on the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) (here) and the SA Government Response document to the EPAS Independent Review (here).

The Government appointed an independent expert panel to review the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS). The panel was led by Shane Solomon, along with Malcolm Thatcher and Chris Baggoley. The PSA also nominated two representatives (a clinician from Allied Health, and a Patient Administration Expert) to be part of the EPAS Review Reference Group.

The PSA is currently analysing the final report and the Government’s response document, but believe the final report is consistent with the issues and provides a balanced view. It is clearly about how the program was centrally managed without proper engagement from clinicians and without vendor expertise on board. The Government response document calls the EPAS program a failure but this is not stated as such in the consultant report. It is critical of the program and how it was run, particularly with respect to governance and clinical engagement.

The Government initially said EPAS would be scrapped. However, this report finds there has been a very substantial people and financial investment in the software. It works overseas and major changes are required as to how the program operates. The same software is being used but being rebadged and reworked and will roll out at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Mount Gambier. This is no different to the previous roll out plan that was stopped while the review was being undertaken.

The next 12 months are critical in relation to clinical engagement and how the transition is to be done properly. Leadership, governance and engagement is important to ensure the success of the program.

It is concerning for the PSA that the government seems to believe that referring to clinicians only means medical and nursing. The PSA will continue to remind the Government that it also includes all of the Allied Health Disciplines. This group have been again excluded in recommendation 7 about the reconstituted Clinical Advisory Council. The PSA has been excluded in nominating a representative. The PSA has raised this as a major concern that should be corrected.

It is also important as there is no reference to the involvement of a PAS expert in the Administrative Governance. There needs to be an appropriate choice of governance for clinicians who understand complex IT systems and business processes, or this will become a repeat of the last five years.

The PSA and members need answers as to how the transition of EPAS staff to CALHN will occur. There is no room at the RAH for a further 95 “Implementation and Business” staff.

Questions remain about what the revised version and reporting lines will be. Most of these staff have detailed and specific expertise and have been on short term contracts. Now they face further uncertainty, as the Government has advised that if the RAH and Mount Gambier activations are not successful they will go back to the market for a new system. The PSA believe there is a potential for loss of skills and expertise if staff are not retained.

While the recommendations are being implemented, the PSA is seeking feedback from members. Please email PSA