Report shows benefits of electronic journey patient boards at Alfred Health

Wednesday, 08 May, 2024

Report shows benefits of electronic journey patient boards at Alfred Health

The implementation of electronic patient journey boards (EPJBs) at Alfred Health has increased the effectiveness and efficiency of patient care across each of its three Victorian campuses, a report has found.

Researchers from the Health and Social Care Unit in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, supported by the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC), undertook an evaluation to formally review the impact and effectiveness of the Alcidion EPJBs across The Alfred, Caulfield and Sandringham sites in Victoria. The final report with the key findings was released this week.

Key findings

  • Access to patient information: Real-time integration across multiple systems led to significant improvement in the alignment of patient information between electronic medical records and patient journey boards in wards. As a result, clinicians now have direct access to the most up-to-date patient information to support care journey management.
  • Consistent ways of working: Across the footprint of more than 30 inpatient wards the team have aligned on patient flow management, consolidating 30 approaches to 9 variations closely mapped to the clinical workflow, which supports improved availability and consistency of patient information across the service.
  • Discharge planning: Implementation of EPJBs led to a significant improvement in estimated discharge date (EDD) compliance, with EDD captured for more than 97% of patients up from 62%, supporting optimised length of stay and better hospital planning.
  • Outlier reduction: While admissions increased by 10% during the trial period, outliers at the point of admission — those allocated outside their home ward — saw a reduction of 2%, indicating improved visibility of available beds, supporting improved patient safety and length of stay.

The introduction of the EPJBs played a pivotal role in a range of service improvement initiatives to realise these results.

Alfred Health Chief Digital Health Officer Amy McKimm said as a predominantly digital health service, Alfred Health is committed to improving patient care by ensuring patient-level health data flows across the health service.

“Our goal is to have a process that can oversee patient management and flow across all patient care pathways, identifying areas of concern or constraint. This is regardless of whether the patient is within our hospital walls, in their home or with partnered hospitals/health services,” McKimm said.

The role of patient journey boards

Patient journey boards facilitate the coordination of care across the health service. They are a visual management tool to provide access to critical information about each patient’s progress, to enable health service staff to view and make decisions based on available information.

EPJBs integrate patient information; replace white boards and paper; remove manual bed allocation systems; improve real-time planning of bed capacity to meet demand; assist with future and retrospective bed flow audits; and eliminate risk and inefficiency of data duplication (manual board vs electronic medical record).

Alfred Health recognised the need for improved patient flow and data collection and started the transition from manual patient journey boards to EPJBs in November 2022.

Alcidion CEO Kate Quirke said the research showed not only the impact of EPJBs in practice but also the many ‘ripple effects’ journey boards have along the patient journey.

“The research has highlighted the wide range of benefits delivered through real-time data integration and intelligent user interface design, supporting clinicians with a digital clinical workflow that releases time to care,” Quirke said. “We often talk about effective patient flow and these findings demonstrate it in practice.”

A cooperative and collaborative partnership

DHCRC CEO Annette Schmiede said the research project reflects the focus of the recently released Digital Health Blueprint and demonstrates the benefits of a cooperative and collaborative partnership; with Alfred Health, Monash University and Alcidion working hand in hand to deliver a robust evaluation of EPJBs in practice.

“The Digital Health Blueprint called for modern foundations to underpin a collaborative, standards-based health system that is safe and secure,” Schmiede said.

“In practice, this requires a commitment from industry, university researchers and health service providers to independently and rigorously assess the effectiveness of new innovations to deliver a health system that is fit for purpose.”

Alfred Health’s Chief Allied Health Information Officer Lauren Solomon and Allied Health Workforce Officer - Digital Health Angie Bezen are presenting at the Digital Health Festival at 3pm, Wednesday, 8 May, on interoperability in allied health demand management. Visit for more information.

Image credit: Productions

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