NSW Health has approached the market for a single digital patient record (SDPR) to replace the state’s fragmented lineup of core clinical and laboratory information management systems.

More than a year after revealing plans for the future electronic medical record, the department’s digital arm, eHealth NSW, on Thursday opened bids for the planned statewide system.

The SDPR is slated to replace the state’s existing electronic medical record (EMR), patient administration system (PAS) and laboratory information systems (LIMS) with a modular cloud-based solution by the end of 2026.

There are currently nine different core EMR instances provided by Cerner and Orion Health and multiple PAS instances provided by Cerner and DXC across the state’s local health districts, which has led to fragmentation and high support costs.

NSW Health Pathology similarly suffers from a “complex and fragmented” IT environment, with a number of different LIMS systems from Cerner, Citadel (Auslab) and Integrated Software Solutions (OmniLab) in use.

“NSW Health is seeking to move from the current, fragmented EMR, PAS and LIMS environments to a single domain environment via a staged rationalisation,” expression of interest documents state.

“The SDPR initiative will deliver greater consistency, accuracy and availability of holistic medical information at the point of care.”

NSW Health said the SDPR will “drive the modernisation and transformation” of its core systems to “support the vision for a sustainable, digitally enabled public health system that is patient-centred and integrated”.

It pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has “demonstrated the benefits offered by modern, integrated digital health technologies; and how they can be harnessed to deliver positive patient outcomes”.

“SDPR will utilise contemporary approaches to operational management, solution governance and interoperability to deliver significant, comprehensive capability enhancements across the state,” EOI documents state.

NSW Health said the SPDR will give clinicians “real-time, increased access to holistic, detailed medicare information at the point of care” that will ultimately drive improved health outcomes for patients.

Key features for the record include integration with medical devices such as ECG and other patient monitoring devices, a unique identifier for patient identification and patient information portals.

A full software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach will be adopted for the solution in line with the government’s recently announced ‘public cloud by default’ approach for all digital infrastructure.

“In line with this strategic direction for whole-of-government and eHealth NSW, there is a preference towards acquiring and configuring a solution on a full SaaS basis to reduce the reliance on capital funding,” NSW Health said.

“For clarity, the full SaaS approach would potentially entail a vendor or vendors hosting the individual application, platform, support and infrastructure components or a combination of those components.”

Recognising the complexity of deploying a single ehealth record across multiple metropolitan and rural areas, the SDPR requirements have been separated into three separate ‘lots’ to be provided by one or more vendors or consortia.

Lot one will focus on the “envisaged SDPR capabilities within the PAS, EMR and LIMS environments”, including any support and operational management or the solutions, while lot two is for hosting and lot three implementation services.

Submission to the EOI will close November 4, with a virtual industry briefing to be held on October 16.

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