Seven DHBs team up for health management IT

Seven New Zealand District Health Boards have combined in an effort to transform the way health care is provided in and across their regions.

The seven have teamed up to form what they call the Health Management System Collaborative (HMSC) and to find ways to deliver better health through a major information technology upgrade aiming to deliver integrated and coordinated services within their districts and across regions, a tender document says.

"DHBs have the opportunity to fund a continuity of care to support this, which ignores the traditional boundaries between hospital, primary care and community services," the documents says. "A key enabling factor in meeting this vision is a single integrated health record which is used at all points of care and is supported by seamless scheduling, booking and administrative IT systems."

The health boards involved in HMSC are Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, South Canterbury, MidCentral, Wairarapa, Whanganui and Northland. the tender says the effort has the support of the ministry of Health.

The traditional model of patient administration system (PAS), based on collecting care data based on the provider, is no longer seen as appropriate to manage the health of individuals and populations, the DHBs say. The HMSC wants to "leap frog" the traditional PAS evolution, and establish a Health Management System that is "person focused, available at the point of care (regardless where that care occurs), accessible to the person and gathers information as part of the process of care".

The tender also gets to the nub of the barrier DHBs are facing in changing to new ways of using IT to deliver healthcare.

"Recently, there have been separate initiatives underway to replace ageing computerised patient management systems at a number of District Health Boards in New Zealand with more comprehensive and modern systems. It has become clear that the vision of the individual initiatives is similar; differences being largely with respect to timing and phase within the procurement process.

"The Health Management System Collaborative (HMSC) represents a convergence of these initiatives in pursuit of this extraordinary opportunity to positively transform the way healthcare is delivered in New Zealand."

The HMSC members are also at different stages in their system replacement cycles. However, the dociument says they wish to collaborate to implement a common replacement health management system that enables the best possible outcome for their populations.

The new system, the tender says, will allow people to be fully informed about their health and to participate in their own care.

"Clinicians won’t have to phone each other to request pertinent clinical information about a shared patient. It will allow individuals to move through the system smoothly, easily, safely and efficiently."

That expands the traditional view of PAS and clinical support systems to be more integrated and interactive as well as wider in scope and richer in functionality.

IT provider Simpl Group is managing the RFI. In a note, Simpl discloses it is active as a systems integrator in the health sector, but has been engaged to support the RFI as consultant.

"Simpl neither sell health management systems (HMS) nor act as an agent for any HMS vendors. However, Simpl do support a patient administration system (PAS) developed in-house for Auckland District Health Board, a potential future member of this consortium of purchasers.

"Simpl will not respond to this RFI and will not enter into services partnering discussions with any potential respondents during this RFI process. However this must not preclude Simpl from acting as a systems integrator or implementation services provider in subsequent phases of this procurement (RFP) or its ultimate implementation. Any such intention will be publically declared at the first opportunity and will include any necessary steps being taken with respect to probity."

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