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Sydney LHD CEO to lead billion-dollar Single Digital Patient Record implementation authority

3 May 2024
By Kate McDonald

Long-term Sydney Local Health District CEO Teresa Anderson has left the somewhat strife-torn organisation and has been appointed head of a newly announced Single Digital Patient Record (SDPR) implementation authority, set to oversee the roll-out of the $1 billion Epic EMR to the whole of NSW.

Dr Anderson led the inner-city LHD that includes one of Australia’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, as well as Concord Hospital, Canterbury and Balmain hospitals, and the groundbreaking RPA Virtual hospital, for 13 years.

She has now been appointed to run the new SDPR Implementation Authority, working in partnership with eHealth NSW to roll out the country’s largest electronic medical record system covering over eight million people.

The SDPR will replace several different EMR systems, including the widely used Oracle Health (Cerner) EMR, as well as various patient administration systems and three laboratory information systems for NSW Health Pathology, with one single system from US vendor Epic.

Hunter New England LHD and the HNE-based laboratories in the NSW Health Pathology North Network are scheduled to be the first to go live with SDPR in 2026 followed by the Justice and Forensic Mental Health Network. Both HNE LHD and JFMHN both currently use systems from Orion Health, which will be replaced.

According to eHealth NSW, this will be followed by Northern NSW LHD and Mid North Coast LHD in the second tranche, followed by Northern Sydney LHD and Central Coast LHD. The statewide roll-out is scheduled to be finished by 2029/30.

NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce said Dr Anderson was “ideally placed to lead the implementation of a secure, world-class digital platform that meets the needs of our clinicians, patients and carers”.

“She has a long and distinguished track-record of success in the delivery of public health services and Sydney Local Health District has long been recognised for its excellent overall performance as well as its clinical technology innovation agenda,” Ms Pearce said in a statement.

“This was never more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic when Dr Anderson and Sydney Local Health District, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, established and ran the state’s first mass vaccination hub, operated the Special Health Accommodation and provided screening services for Sydney Airport, amongst much more besides.

In the statement, Dr Anderson said the SDPR “will mean that no matter which NSW public hospital a patient attends, their care teams will have access to their full clinical information in real time”.

“This will make it quicker and easier for NSW Health teams to access the information they need to make important decisions about a patient’s care,” she said. “It will also support better continuity of care and reduce the administrative burden on clinicians.”

NSW Health says Dr Anderson will begin her new role from May 27, 2024, and Western Sydney Local Health District CEO Graeme Loy, will act in her place while a recruitment process is undertaken.

Dr Anderson has been under pressure for the last year or so, including a revolt by doctors at Concord Hospital, who passed a vote of no confidence in her in 2023.

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