Electronic Medical Records (EMR) – the Virtual Reality

Jane Tomlinson1, Kareena Johnson1, Sue Scott1, Greta Van Kerkwijk1, Andrew Daley2, Adrian Hutchinson3, Kate O’Donaghue1

1Infection Prevention and Control, Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Rd, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, infection.control@rch.org.au
2Department of Microbiology, Laboratory Services, Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Rd, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, andrew.daley@rch.org.au
3Chief Nursing Information Officer, EMR Project Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Rd, Parkville, Victoria, 3052


A function of an electronic medical record (EMR) is to help clinicians effectively treat patients and reduce infections and complications. Recording and reporting on infection risk is achieved through timely identification of new results, early identification of infection risk factors and the ability to analyse patient data and results over time. Clinical decision support tools within the EMR can indicate infection risk, and recommend appropriate therapy or treatment with Best Practice Advisories (BPA). The EMR can enhance clinicians’ existing workflows with tools for patient care, communication, organizational best practice, and analytical reporting.

Infection risk varies within each health service area, the EMR allows configuration of rules specific to an organisation, enabling the infection risk management across all settings.  Examples of compliance monitoring include timely application of transmission based precautions (TBP), multi-resistant organism (MRO) screening, contact precautions and BPA for returned travellers with risk factors or inter-hospital transfers with risk factors for CPE.

EMR has improved ease of surgical site surveillance data collection and chart review. Reports can be generated within the EMR. Configuring and filtering these reports can be automated or clinician generated.  Compliance with manual documentation in the EMR remains a challenge, additional IPC modules to further maximise the power of the EMR is required.

Translating EMR gains into improved infection control practice is essential to ensure organisations have an effective and informed infection control workforce that can monitor and action the wealth of data which is now at their fingertips.

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