Information for patients, families and the community
"It’s really revolutionised my handling and treatment of patients in Port Augusta and as a result, it’s more streamlined, I see more patients, it’s more efficient. I’ve been happy, the patients are happy."
- - Doctor JC Hodge, ENT Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital
SA Health’s new patient electronic health record, EPAS, is a new electronic system that SA Health staff will use to document information about your medical care. It will replace the paper based documentation that often sits in a folder at the end of the patient’s bed.
EPAS is currently active at the below sites:
- Noarlunga Hospital
- Noarlunga GP Plus Super Clinic
- Aldinga/Seaford GP Plus Health Care Centre
- SA Ambulance Headquarters (Extended Care Paramedics, MedSTAR and Mental Health Triage teams) / Flinders Medical Centre (select service areas) – View Only access
- Port Augusta Hospital and Health Service
- Repatriation General Hospital
- The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and St Margaret’s Rehabilitation Hospital
- Marion GP Plus Health Care Centre
How do I get an electronic health record?
When a patient first presents at a hospital or health service where EPAS is in use, their electronic record will be created and any existing paper medical record will be closed and stored in a secure area. Health professionals will be able to request closed paper records at any time as they do now when they need to recall archived medical records.
From then on, the patient’s electronic record can be accessed by clinical staff at any site that uses EPAS. EPAS has multiple levels of user access based on staffs’ roles, ensuring greater security than paper records. This means that your record will be restricted to clinical staff who have the appropriate access.
What information do I need to provide and why?
When you visit a hospital or GP Plus Health Care Centre / Super Clinic where EPAS is implemented, you will be asked for your given name, surname and date of birth as a minimum, along with your Medicare card number, so that the appropriate health professional can accurately identify you and look at the right medical record.
When searching for your record in EPAS, your health professional is searching five million records across SA Health. Therefore, the more details you provide, the more likely they are to get an accurate match.
What happens to my medical paper record?
Your existing paper medical records will continue to be stored in a secured area, and health professionals can still refer to these files if need be.
In addition, you can contact the Freedom of Information Officer at your local hospital or health service if you wish to review your paper medical record.
Once EPAS is implemented across all sites in scope, you will have one electronic health record that can be accessed by clinical staff across any hospitals or health services using EPAS. Only staff with appropriate security rights can access your record.
Benefits for the patient
The implementation of EPAS at hospitals and health care centres will bring numerous benefits to South Australian patients including:
- safer and more efficient and effective patient care
- patients’ medical records will be immediately accessible by nurses, doctors and allied health practitioners at the time of treatment
- patients will no longer have to repeat their medical history and personal details at different health services
- patient safety will improve as a result of health care professionals having access to patients’ medical records and history as they move between health facilities
- patients’ are more likely to receive a more consistent approach to treatment due to enterprise wide processes for health care delivery.
Further information about South Australia’s patient electronic health record is available in the EPAS Patient Care brochure (PDF 5.8MB).
Who will have access to EPAS?
Clinicians, including doctors, nurses, midwives and other health care professionals across SA Health will have access to EPAS once they have successfully completed training to document the provision of patient care. This includes GPs employed by, or contracted to, SA Health.
Is my information secure?
EPAS has a high level of security. There are multiple levels of security built into EPAS and only clinicians with the appropriate security rights to document your care can view your record. Patient confidentiality is built-in to ensure your information remains private.
EPAS also has the in-built capability of running reports to show who has read or modified your record and when and where this occurred. This provides a transparent audit trail to the documentation of your medical history.
SA Health also regularly monitors the security of its electronic systems, including EPAS.
Can I opt out of EPAS?
Once rolled out across all public hospitals set to receive the system, EPAS will be the only patient administration and clinical documentation system in use across SA Health sites.
It is not possible for patients to opt out of EPAS as it will be central to connecting our health service and enabling more timely patient care across SA Health sites.
EPAS and the patient entertainment system
The bedside computers mounted near patient’s beds have a dual purpose – they allow for both patient entertainment services and for clinical documentation at the bedside.
Interruptions to your entertainment service (PDF 2MB) will occur when a clinician requires access to your medical record to provide care, however, it is anticipated that the majority of clinical interruptions will be brief.
If you have purchased a movie, it will pause automatically and then continue once the clinician logs out of EPAS. Extensions to entertainment services are not provided.
EPAS and the My Health Record system
The My Health Record system - previously known as Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) – is a nationally controlled secure online summary of a patient’s health information. Patients can control what goes into it their health record, and who is allowed to access it. They can choose to share their health information with their doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers.
In contrast, EPAS is a state-based electronic health record that is only used by clinicians in South Australian public hospitals and health services where EPAS is implemented. It will become their primary administrative and clinical documentation system for managing patient care.
The difference between the My Health Record system and EPAS is that data entered into EPAS is driven by clinicians and not the patient. Clinicians can request to view a patient’s My Health Record if the patient agrees.
Upon discharge from hospital, treating clinicians complete a patient discharge summary in EPAS which contains information relating to a patient’s hospital visit. This information is automatically faxed to the patient’s GP overnight so that the information is available for the patient’s follow up visit with their GP.
From June 2017, discharge summaries are automatically sent from EPAS to patients’ My Health Record, where the patient has an established My Health Record and is over the age of 18. This allows GPs to view their patient’s hospital information during follow up visits which will assist GPs in preparing ongoing care plans for their patients.
GPs can only access a patient’s My Health Record where the patient has given their consent.
For more information
If you require more information on EPAS please contact the EPAS Program: