Auckland to join healthAlliance

Auckland District Health Board is to join healthAlliance, the body that provides shared services in IT and other areas for Waitemata and Counties-Manukau DHBs.

Auckland District Health Board is to join healthAlliance, the body that provides shared services in IT and other areas for Waitemata and Counties-Manukau DHBs.

"We'll definitely be joining, subject to governance issues being worked out," says Auckland DHB CIO Steven Mayo-Smith (pictured).

The date on which Auckland will formally join is yet to be finalised, he says, but the three DHBs have endorsed the recently released Auckland Regional Information Services Strategic Plan.

An example of the level of collaboration to come is a new local pharmaceutical supply chain and dispensing management package that will be used by all three Auckland-based DHBs.

E Pi's WinDose system, which manages the process of ordering, stocking and dispensing drugs, is to be implemented at Auckland DHB from June and at Waitemata and Counties-Manukau shortly afterwards.

The Auckland implementation will be the first of a new .Net-based version of WinDose, previous versions of which are in place at several other DHBs around the country.

"The .Net platform gives WinDose more portability," says James Rice, general manager of Wellington-based E Pi.

The version to be implemented at Auckland, Waitemata and Counties-Manukau was written in C# and is based on a Microsoft SQL Server database.

In June the creation of a "drug, data and knowledge base" will also begin. This will be shared by the three DHBs so that, for example, an adverse reaction between two drugs can be noted and the information made available to clinicians at all three health boards.

The drug database will be populated with information from government drug agency Pharmac before patient display and supply chain modules go live. The full package is scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year.

"We'll be working with the Auckland DHB to analyse and develop interfaces and train their staff," says Rice.

E Pi sees potential in the .Net version for overseas sales that isn't present in previous versions, Rice says, as it's easier to implement.

"There are opportunities to distribute it internationally through partners without sending key E Pi people overseas."

E Pi plans to migrate users of the previous versions to the .Net version and, as a member of the New Zealand Health IT cluster, to work with other members who have overseas distribution channels.

E Pi beat international vendors Ascribe and iSOFT to the Auckland DHBs deal.

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