Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

New Zealand health boards to merge patient management systems

Steve Rogerson
February 18, 2015
The five South Island District Health Boards (DHBs) in New Zealand are merging their patient administration system into an island wide system. The South Island Patient Information Care System (SI Pics) will become the regional portal for patient information management at Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, Southern, South Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, which are all members of the South Island Alliance.
The single portal, with one system across the island, should streamline and integrate clinical and administrative functions, making tasks simpler for staff, and providing patients with a more efficient health care service. SI Pics includes patient demographics, master patient index, appointment booking, waiting list management, patient transfers, record of patient activity, reporting, admissions and discharges, and alerts and allergies.
SI Pics executive regional programme manager Nick Lanigan said this was an important step towards the improved management of patient information in South Island hospitals.
“It is one of many crucial steps to connecting health workers across the South Island with co-ordinated, consistent access to a single system,” he said. “SI Pics will result in a more streamlined patient journey through health services, from the community to the hospital and beyond and co-ordinate care between different hospitals and care providers around the South Island. It’ll result in improved patient safety and enable better quality health services.”
Auckland-based ehealth software company Orion Health is merging the systems. Its director David Hepburn said the agreement was significant for the New Zealand health sector and globally.
“We are partnering with not just one DHB, but five DHBs that are collaborating with each other and with Orion Health to build a more efficient and thereby better quality care model in the South Island,” he said. “This is partnership on a regional scale, and we are very proud to be part of the South Island Alliance vision for a sustainable South Island health and disability system through innovative technology development and support.”
He said Orion Health would take the experience from the ground-breaking partnership to other health organisations and health alliances globally.
“We can apply the lessons to the work we are doing all around the world in the North America, Asia and Europe to deliver connected solutions for healthcare facilities and regions,” he said.
Lanigan said the SI Pics regional team had members from all the DHBs who have been working with Orion Health to develop this fit-for-purpose and future thinking patient management system.
“This contract now widens the commitment from the regional team at the development stages, to the provision of SI Pics and associated implementation services at Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, Southern, South Canterbury and West Coast DHBs over the next ten years,” he said. “It’s not only about DHBs combining resources to jointly solve problems, but about working with the right partners for the benefit of all of us – staff and patients in the South Island.”
The agreement covers governance arrangements at operational, management and strategic levels, transition, termination, escrow arrangements for the software source code and intellectual property. Canterbury DHB will be the first DHB to roll out SI Pics.
Lanigan said the agreement was the culmination of several months of hard work on the part of the regional SI Pics team, key staff members from all DHBs and Orion Health, which will be using its Enterprise patient management platform to create the regional system.
SI Pics will not only replace eight different patient information management systems currently in use but embed new functionality to meet the changing demands on health care. It will also integrate with Orion’s HCS clinical portal, which most of the DHBs are already operating, as well as other innovations being rolled out via the South Island Alliance such as e-referrals.
Implementation of regional SI Pics has already begun with the first go-live at Canterbury DHB late this year, followed by Nelson Marlborough in early 2016. The remaining DHBs will follow after that with the expectation that all five South Island DHBs will be on the same system by 2020.