South Australia HealthEmpowering medical staff with quick and easy access to vital information
South Australia Health (SA Health) is the public authority responsible for healthcare in the State of South Australia. It serves a population of around 1.6 million people, some of whom are spread across a large area and located in remote places.
Mary Peterson, Knowledge Manager for the South Australia Health Library Network, is responsible for ensuring that all 38,000 staff have access to the information they need, when and where they need it.
Clinicians in hospitals, clinics or out in the rural community rely on access to medical information to make critical healthcare decisions. A young doctor about to give antibiotics to a patient needs to know immediately how the drug will react to other drugs the patient is taking. Researchers need access to a wide range of information to carry out vital drug and treatment development.
This information includes decision-making tools like MIMS (Monthly Index of Medical Specialities) a pharmaceutical prescribing reference guide, latest medical innovations, news and a wide range of journals and publications; in total over 50,000 different information resources.
SA Health was having real problems making this information available in a fast, reliable and consistent way. A lot of it is subscription based and requires a method of managed access. Peterson says, “We were using a series of identification methods such as IDs and passwords or referring URLs which was giving clinicians access to information, but it was unreliable. One of the biggest issues was off-site access.”
Another challenge was being able to collect data on how individual SA Health organisations, such as a hospital, were using SA Health information resources. Peterson says, “We need to know that the services we are spending money on are actually being used.”
We carried out a detailed review and analysis of SA Health’s situation and recommended SA Health deploy OpenAthens MD (Managed Directory) to be able to securely and effectively manage users’ access to online resources. As OpenAthens MD works independently from all existing IT platforms, it needed no additional IT resources, expertise or changes to existing infrastructure.
We customised OpenAthens to fit with the way SA Health operates so that the system can be managed by a single SA Health super administrator, but also by administrators for each of the key agencies within the SA Health Library Network.
Staff across SA Health really like OpenAthens and the seamless access it gives them. They love that they only sign on once and it covers all the different resources they need to use, and that they can use so many resources at home that they couldn't before.Mary Peterson, Knowledge Manager, South Australia Health Library Network
- Enables any time, any place access to information resources
- Gives each individual user their own ID and password, instead of a universal one
- Reduces password sharing meaning greater security
- 30% increase in number and use of journals available off site
- Proved so reliable that backup subscriptions for many print journals have been dropped
- Centralises information management access, while supporting multiple levels and types of access
- Provides real-time, detailed data on how information resources are being used and by who