ePCR in the HSE North East

The integrated electronic patient care report (ePCR) system has now been implemented in the HSE North-East across all 8 ambulance stations.

The system involves the integration of the CAD patient information, from the Communications Centre in Ambulance Headquarters in Navan, to ePCR application on the tablet PC mounted in the ambulance that the call is being dispatched to. Following the entry of the patient information in the ePCR on the tablet PC, the practitioner sends the information via GPRS/SMS – as you send a message from your phone - to the emergency department of the receiving hospital.

The ePCR also integrates with the LifePack 12 and if an ECG is taken this will also be transmitted with the patient record to the receiving emergency department. This information is viewed on a screen, eTriage, installed in the department of each hospital, but they only receive information on the patient that is being transported to them. eTriage screens are currently in use in Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda; Cavan General Hospital; Louth County Hospital, Dundalk; and Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan. (Continued in next column...)
  Currently additional functionalities are being developed for the ePCR, for example, a functionality which allows practitioners hand over to each other seamlessly when in different vehicles. Another functionality will make it easier and clearer if a correction is made in the event of an error in the recording of a medication on the ePCR.

ePCR in the HSE West

The ambulance service in the HSE West counties of Mayo and Roscommon are gradually implementing the ePCR system, particularly Belmullet station, which is using ePCR exclusively and printing the handover patient report in the receiving emergency department. The transmission of the patient information to an eTriage screen in the emergency departments in Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar, Roscommon County Hospital and Sligo General Hospital will be coming on stream over the coming weeks.

Scanning of PCRs

In 2007 PHECC sought to scan all PCRs for the ambulance service areas who had implemented the national report since 2005. The objective of the exercise was that the PCRs would be indexed under certain criteria, entered and stored on a database which would be installed on a designated PC in ambulance headquarters. This would allow the PCR image to be recalled as required. The PCRs were indexed as follows: i) Station name, ii) Date, iii) Incident number, iv) Surname, v) PIN numbers of practitioners.

Benefits of the scanning process:

  1. With in excess of 1,200 PCRs per month in all ambulance services there were considerable demands on storage space so it was with great enthusiasm that the services looked forward to the PCR scanning exercise which would result in the shredding of the PCRs following a rigorous verification process.
  2. Due to the number of PCR fields indexed, there was an ability to recover all PCRs where some of the information was missing.
  3. Immediate retrieval of PCR as opposed to the tedious retrieval process which had become the norm when a PCR was required.
  4. Allows clinical audits to be completed more frequently which has led to improvements in the quality of data being recorded by the practitioners.
It is hoped that the PCR scanning exercise can be repeated until such time that the ePCR system is implemented nationally. The limitations of the PCR in terms of accuracy, legibility, data capture / extraction, retention and risk of misplacement / loss will then be a thing of the past.