With Auckland district health board’s adoption of Web Eclair, a system for reporting lab test results, doctors at all three of the region’s health boards can exchange information and get results almost in real time.
“The advantage is that results are there and available to authorised users as soon as they’re processed by the lab,” says Ross Boswell, clinical director of IT at Counties Manukau district health board. “They go straight from the lab to the Eclair repository, with a delay of up to one to two minutes.”
Phil Brimacombe, CIO for the Counties Manukau and Waitemata DHBs, says the benefits are significant.
“The interesting thing now is there’s a single instance system acting as a host, serving up to all three DHBs, so that for a patient that moves around between DHBs, the results can be shared between different doctors involved in their care.
“Reports from lab tests are stored in a database that can be accessed from a browser in the clinical workstation.”
Auckland DHB went live with Web Eclair last month, while Waitemata has had it nine
months and Counties Manukau for several years.
“Previously, if you’d been admitted to Auckland hospital then to Middlemore, the Middlemore doctor would have had to request the results be sent by snail mail and wait for them to arrive,” says Brimacombe.
Sometimes, clinicians will do fresh tests rather than wait for results, resulting in inefficiencies ironed out by the electronic system, he says.
As the longest established user, Counties Manukau has done the most with Web Eclair, taking it to the point of electronic sign-off.
“A doctor who orders the test has to take responsibility for having seen the results and taken appropriate action.” Waitemata and Auckland don’t have electronic sign-off yet, “but are keen to work towards it”.
The mutual use of Web Eclair is part of an increasing move towards shared services in IT and other areas in Auckland, Brimacombe says.
The three DHBs’ installations are being run by healthAlliance, the company which runs IT and other services jointly for Counties Manukau and Waitemata.
Having only gone live with it last month, Auckland is to roll it out further in coming months.
Brimacombe says the next step is to extend Web Eclair from the three DHBs to private labs.
Web Eclair — an abbreviation of “electronic clinical information repository” — was developed by Auckland medical software house Sysmex Delphic.