Six months after leaving all paper patient files behind to move into the practice’s newly renovated premises, formerly Kogarah’s Presbyterian Church, the combination of the historic church and mobile modern technology is a success story.
The old church was built in the 1920s after its congregation expanded beyond the original next door 1800s building. Parishioners later dwindled and seeing the building for sale, close to both his St. George Hospital research laboratory and day surgery 100 metres away, Dr. Murrell bought the church as a shared premises for his practice and his wife’s dermatology practice. Kogarah’s Mayor, Nickolas Vararis, officially opened the new premises on 17 October.
The Director of St. George Hospital’s Orthopaedic Research Institute and a Professor at the University of New South Wales, Dr. Murrell divides his time between academic work, seeing patients; and conducting research with his specialist shoulder surgery team.
Going Paperless - Challenges and Solutions
The challenge for Dr. Murrell and his medical and office staff was to replace its paper filing system, a 100% commitment backed by eliminating any filing space in the new premises. “The space we’ve saved from 15,000 inch-thick paper patient records has created new exam and teaching rooms.”
Searching for solutions, Dr. Murrell found an Australia review site that was very positive about Motion tablets, recommending systems integration and networking specialists Secure Agility.
“They lent me an evaluation tablet to test out Motion’s technology and Australian head Paul Nowicki provided a high level of personalised support. Secure Agility then designed the wireless system for us to make sure the tablets could be used everywhere, including our day surgery 100 metres away,” said Dr. Murrell.
Dr. Murrell searched first for available Australian software, before finding integrated server-based solution VIP.net in New Zealand from Houston Medical (.net); making contact in late 2008 with managing director Derek Gower of Houston Medical. “When we went ahead, Derek and Australia manager Warren Goertz have been hands-on with great service in comparison with larger, more impersonal firms.”
Dr. Murrell wanted a mobile tablet solution that all users could walk around with and use flexibly. Multiple people can now access patient information simultaneously.
“It was well worth it once we were over the initial barrier. At any time, several people can work with the tablets, with patients in the front desk area filling out their information on the tablets; and staff working in the teaching area. “Patients get more specific and reliable when using the tablets, on paper many patients wouldn’t fill out all questions.”
The team can then view reports, ultrasounds and X-rays either using the docking stations, or keyboard systems linked to regular PCs with wide 36” screens. The day surgery’s tablets plug into the wireless network, eliminating the need to carry files up and down the road.
With doctors also referring to the same data on the server and no hand-transcription now required, sharing and utilising information is much more convenient and has eliminated manual errors. “We collaborate better with patients, viewing results with them on the large screens. Houston’s VIP.net next sends patients’ reports back to their referring doctor.”
Another benefit is being able to view patient records at home or in remote locations. “Our entire team can provide care and access information no matter where we are, by just logging into our server.” Dr. Murrell’s practice now functions in real time, with patients and team alike benefiting from improved accuracy and efficiency across a wide range of areas for medical and office staff.
Motion Computing, tablet PCs, Dr. George Murrell, Houston Medical, SecureAgility
About Motion Computing
Motion Computing is a leading provider of integrated mobile computing solutions, combining world-class innovation and industry experience so professionals in vertical industries such as healthcare, field sales and service and government can use computing technology in new ways and places. The company’s enhanced line of tablet PCs, mobile clinical assistants and accessories are designed to increase productivity for on-the-go users while providing portability, security, power and versatility. Motion combines those products with services and unique vertical market knowledge to deliver robust solutions – platforms, peripherals, services and wireless – customized for the needs of a particular industry. For more information, visit www.motioncomputing.com.au
About Dr. George Murrell
George A C Murrell, MBBS (Adel), MD (UNSW), DPhil (Oxon) -- George Murrell is Director of the Orthopaedic Research Institute at St George Hospital and Professor at the University of NSW. He graduated from Adelaide University and was the 1984 South Australian Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford he completed a DPhil (PhD) and was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons Arris and Gale medal. He spent a year in Cambridge teaching before completing his orthopaedic training at Duke University, USA, followed by a two year fellowship in sports medicine, shoulder surgery and research at the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, where he gained a National Institutes of Health First Award, and an American Orthopaedic Association North American Travelling Fellowship.
Professor Murrell specialises in shoulder surgery and has a special interest in arthroscopic methods to repair and restore damaged ligaments and tendons. His team has won over 30 awards for their work and his fellowship program attracts surgeons and patients from around the world. www.georgemurrellshoulders.com.au
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