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NT Health may revert to legacy system at Darwin EDs following Acacia issues

16 January 2024
By Kate McDonald
Image: MJFelt, iStockphoto

NT Health is considering temporarily reverting to its former clinical system in the emergency departments of Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) and Palmerston Regional Hospital (PRH) following some problems with its new Acacia EMR.

Acacia is the new name for the electronic health record component of the $259 million core clinical systems renewal program and has been built using InterSystems’ TrakCare clinical and patient administration software as a foundation.

Acacia first went live at Katherine Hospital in 2022 and Gove Hospital in 2023, before a roll out at RDH and the new PRH in November last year. However, ABC News reported last week that NT Health would suspend the roll-out in Royal Darwin’s ED following complaints from staff.

The ABC reported that emergency hospital staff were frustrated with Acacia, which they say has slowed down their access to basic patient data including the names and locations of patients requiring care.

The ABC also reported that it had seen a recent email from senior management at RDH and PRH acknowledging the problems and saying the EDs will revert back to the previous patient record system for about six months to allow for further upgrades.

NT Health previously used a legacy system called CareSys as its clinical record in acute care settings along with a Clinical Workstation.

An NT Health spokesperson said system improvements to Acacia had been identified based on advice from users from across the hospitals, mostly from within the ED and some had already been implemented.

“However, to perform some system improvements for the emergency departments, temporarily reverting to the use of the previous system within one department of RDH and PRH is being considered,” the spokesperson said.

“Should this occur, the emergency departments at RDH and PRH would temporarily revert to the older system as a temporary measure while further improvements are undertaken to the Acacia system.”

The spokesperson said the system continue to be used across all the other parts of RDH and PRH, and will also continue to be in use in Katherine Hospital and Gove Hospital.

While the ABC reported one emergency doctor saying there were patient safety concerns, the NT Health spokesperson said there were no reasons for patients to be concerned about their care in the ED as the prior system is still fit for purpose.

“There are aspects of the system within the area of emergency medicine that have been identified for improvement to enhance functionality,” the spokesperson said.

“A thorough clinical safety assessment will be undertaken to ensure patient safety while the improvements are undertaken.

“The Acacia team is working closely with clinicians to ensure the successful implementation of this new system and they are listening carefully to implement changes that improve the functionality of the system and enhance user satisfaction and patient safety.”

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