Graphic: RFDS EHR
The Flying Doctor has embarked on a new era of healthcare accessibility, launching the RFDS Electronic Health Record (EHR) to further enhance patient care.
Designed by the RFDS to be compatible with every state and territory health system, the Electronic Health Record allows doctors, nurses and paramedics to share critical medical information in real-time – regardless of whether the patient is in the air and on the ground.
From a laptop or mobile device, RFDS crews can now digitally record a patient’s vital health stats during flight and share the data live with the awaiting receiving team on the ground, meaning life-saving decisions can be made even before the aircraft wheels touch down.
Critically, the EHR works even when offline, making it ideal for emergency health care in the middle of the Australian outback or 10,000 feet above sea level.
RFDS EHR Clinical Lead Dr Mardi Steere said the new technology served as an “extra pair of hands” for a doctor or nurse providing sole care in the back of an aircraft.
“When every second counts, the right information at the right time saves lives,” Dr Steere said.
“The EHR has a live dashboard showing real-time trends and inbuilt safety alerts around allergies and early signs of deterioration as well as guidelines around patient risk factors and medication dosages.
“Before the EHR, crews were committing all of this information on paper, which took more time and was more likely to have errors or be difficult to read.
“Now, our crews can spend more time with the patient rather than with paperwork, building upon the high quality standard of care the RFDS provides.”
RFDS EHR Digital Lead Ryan Klose said the technology was developed using a world-class management platform from global provider Oracle.
“We approached Oracle in the first instance to tap into their data expertise currently used in the defence, banking and elite sport industries,” Mr Klose said.
“The way we are using the technology – in the rural health setting – is truly groundbreaking.
“Take the split-second decision-making of a motor-racing team with the layers of data protection behind every transaction you make at your local ATM. Then apply that to a medical emergency.
“Whether it’s being used in the back of an aircraft or in the back of a road ambulance, the EHR needs to provide information that is accurate and stays private.
“The RFDS employs leaders in their field that truly understand the complexities of working in remote settings and in this project, data experts worked side-by-side with clinicians to come up with a solution tailor-made for the outback environment and for the patients we will help.”
The RFDS is currently undertaking a staged rollout – SA, NT and NSW are live and Queensland is set to adopt the EHR in coming weeks.
Seed funding for the EHR project was generously provided by Mrs Rinehart and the Rinehart Medical Foundation.