NZ healthcare unit pushes for e-records

IBA Health has announced a $NZ2.25 million three-year support, services and licence contract to integrate a secure online portal for patient and clinical information for New Zealand's second largest health provider, the Capital and Coast District Health Board.

Chief executive of the health board, Margot Mains, said the installation of the core systems is planned for 2005, with the rollout extending through 2006.

The system will eventually enable patient information to go online for use by clinicians and health professionals to provide better service planning and monitoring, improved enquiry handling and the ability to conduct clinical audits.

Orion software is providing the auditing software.

Mains said improved patient care and safety is a key goal, but the biggest gains will be from the improved ability to communicate and share information across health services and patients.

"Our current systems for sharing information and collaboration are fragmented, with an over reliance on paper-based records; the nature of paper trails is that they get convoluted and in some cases a patient can end up having multiple files - none of which contain a complete record of their health status, their needs and the care they receive," Mains said.

"Our current software in these areas is also ageing, with some major items dating back to the pre-Internet era of the mid-1980s, and much of our software is designed solely to support hospital use.

"Information is the key to effective healthcare, and we need to enable clinicians, both inside and outside our hospitals to share information and collaborate effectively. Information systems which do that will help us to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in this district."

The Capital and Coast District Health Board has 21 individual boards throughout central New Zealand and is responsible for providing health and disability services, as well as operating three hospitals and providing primary and secondary health services to more than 250,000 people.

Under the contract IBA will provide the patient management system for outpatient appointment scheduling and patient management. Orion clinical software cover ordering pathology, radiology tests and pharmaceuticals, and an electronic discharge summary tool.

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