St John Ambulance WA



St John Ambulance WA
Case Study
Improving health care through technology
St John Ambulance WA
• St John Ambulance WA
• Health and Community Services
• Need to better support ambulance officers and paramedic staff
• Improve capture, accuracy and validation of mandatory case
and patient information
• Efficient user interface deployed to mobile iPad platform
• Integration with existing patient information systems
• Automatic dispatch
• Extranet portal for continuity of patient care to hospitals and
medical facilities
• Structured storage of information enabling clinical analysis
St John Ambulance WA is a not-for-profit organisation and the
primary provider of pre-hospital care services in Western Australia,
including ambulance and paramedic care, first aid training and
products, volunteer first aid and community care.
Challenge Background
The need to modernise and increase efficiency in the recording
of patient care records drove the need for change at St John
Ambulance WA (SJA). Access to accurate, consistent and real-time
transmission of patient records is critical to its service which relies on
the integrity of those records for immediate response and continuity
of patient care into hospitals and other facilities.
and reporting
• Real time access to patient information
• Better accuracy and efficiency in processing patient records
• Reduced turnaround time between attending job and
submitting invoices
• Impressive rate of user adoption
• Flexibility to incorporate information and data capture changes
over time
• iPad ePCR developed as a native Objective C application
It had relied on time consuming, error prone, carbon copy paper
forms which had to be filed from the depots and sent to the central
office for processing and data entry.
Ashley Morris, Technical Services Director, St John Ambulance WA
said: “A mobile solution was sought to make the best use of limited
resources and better support our 600 career ambulance officers and
paramedics [and 2500 volunteer ambulance officers?] in the field by
improving mandatory case and patient information record keeping
using SQLite
• CoreData system data storage
• Communications to the central .NET service via XML Web
NEC Australia
St John Ambulance WA
Award winning performance,
security and impressive end user
Challenge Background cont.
The new system required that patient care records could be
submitted to the State office prior to an officer ending a shift and
monitoring in real time. These records were to integrate with existing
The user interface was built to facilitate rapid data entry. “When the
patient information systems at SJA. The tender also called for the
paramedics are inputting incident information they are able to tap
structured storage of information to enable clinical analysis and
on an actual image of the patient to pinpoint the treatment area and
reporting; the automatic incorporation of information for consistency
select the medical issue from a drop down list. Similarly, for vehicle
between dispatch and care records; the capture of patient drug
accidents, the paramedic can tap on the image of the car to indicate
administration sign off; and an extranet portal for care centres and
the site of the impact or position of the victim,” said Ashley Morris.
Mobile solution transforms the
capture and processing of patient
care records
Patient record data is immediately and securely transmitted to St
John Ambulance WA’s central service, ensuring staff there have a
real time view of its patient record database. The online portal allows
managers to review care records and send immediate requests to
paramedics for clarification.
The NEC developed Electronic Patient Care Record System (ePCR)
is the first ambulance system in Australia to use an Apple iPad
Further efficiencies are gained through the integration with the
mobile application to transform the way ambulance officers capture
Computer Aided Despatch system where core data, such as patient
and process patient care data in every case attended by St John
name and address, is pre-filled in the forms to minimise dual entry.
Ambulance WA officers.
The ePCR was designed to be cost effectively maintained and
A key focus was the user experience for data entry on the iPads.
updated by SJA personnel. The data form is dynamic so, as data
Extensive design sessions were held with SJA team leaders and
recording needs change over time, new fields can be easily added.
senior paramedics to create a system that would minimise the
It also complements existing ambulance tools and integrates
time between capture and transmission, supported by an efficient
seamlessly with SJA’s patient recording and billing systems.
interface that was easy to use in field conditions.
Developed with the user experience in mind and rolled out with
The queuing system built into the application supports message
effective, relevant training: “There was no hesitation from ambulance
consistency under constrained network conditions.
officers in adopting the App and it has had an impressive rate of user
satisfaction,” Ashley Morris said.
NEC also designed an extranet enabling hospitals and care centres
to review case information, in real time, to better prepare for patient
The system has proved to be consistently stable and reliable. NEC
and SJA won the e-Health category of the WA State iAwards for the
Electronic Patient Care Record System; a unique piece of intellectual
property that has transformed workflow processes at St John
Ambulance WA.
For more information, visit, email [email protected] or call 131 632
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