New eLab service for Wellington hospitals

Service to replace old manual system

Wellington region’s Aotea Pathology has rolled out its new eLab service, which CEO Karen Wood says will improve efficiency and quality as it replaces the old manual system.

Aotea has contracts with Capital and Coast Health and Hutt Valley Health to provide all community-based laboratory services in the region. It deals with 3000 patients a day.

Currently, general practitioners provide paper-based referrals, which are then manually re-entered into the database.

“That’s non-sensical now,” says Wood. “It was an obvious step to move to an electronic system.”

The new service is based upon a system developed by HealthLink in conjunction with a Danish company, DMDD. Aotea has had a long-standing relationship with HealthLink.

HealthLink chief executive Tom Bowden says some of the software has been developed by DMDD and modified by them under contract to HealthLink.

“HealthLink has funded the development of this system, and Aotea Pathology has contributed its time and has also spent considerable effort in upgrading its laboratory information system,” he says.

“HealthLink has invested around $750,000 in building this system for its New Zealand, Australian and Canadian clients.

“We have a range of similar systems under development and, in each instance, we have forged a business relationship with what we believe is the world best provider in a specific field.

“In the case of eReferral we have built our own system.”

He says a key feature of the way eLab has been implemented is the ability to interface with general practice electronic medical record systems, using the HISO Online forms interface.

“This is a standards initiative that was spearheaded by HealthLink for its eReferral service, and has been broadened to include its use for eLab.

“The HISO interface enables a general practice to have a standardised connection with a range of electronic systems.”

Wood says Aotea has invested in new hardware and in training and expects to see benefits with two years. “The only other such system is in Palmerston North but it is less widely applicable,” she says.

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Tags aotea pathologykaren woodHealthlinktom bowden

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