Hospital hums as opening nears

Auckland's district health board is "full steam ahead" installing IT infrastructure and applications into its new hospital in Grafton.

Auckland’s district health board is “full steam ahead” installing IT infrastructure and applications into its new hospital in Grafton.

The board’s CIO, Steven Mayo-Smith (pictured), says the operation is “very much into the delivery stage” as the hospital’s new buildings are finished and outfitted.

The project will soon enter into a “change freeze”, a three-month period either side of the date the hospital opens — scheduled for October — when “all development ceases and the whole focus changes to migration”. The three-month buffers allow the board to deal with any issues that arise, he says.

Between now and then, Mayo-Smith says, “we’ll be putting in the new developments we’ve been working towards”. New applications set to go live before the opening include Web Eclair (which stands for electronic clinical information repository), a Sysmex Delphic system which allows lab results to be viewed from several locations.

Eclair is especially significant, Mayo-Smith says, because it’s the first collaboration of its type between the Auckland, Waitemata and Counties-Manukau health boards.

“The three DHBs will be using a single server. We’ll be sharing one system, housed with healthAlliance, from where they’ll view lab results.”

The benefits of that arrangement are “that if a lab test is done at Auckland DHB, someone at Counties-Manukau has access to the results and if someone has a test done at all three DHBs, the results will be available without having to go into each DHBs’ system. That’s much better in terms of patient treatment. It means we’ll being treating Auckland as a region, not three different entities.”

Web Eclair will be live by July. It may later be rolled out to GPs in the three DHBs’ catchment area.

Other applications to be implemented include Concerto, a product from New Zealand medical software maker Orion Systems which “allows a holistic patient view for clinicians”; MedDocs, a medical document management system also owned by Orion; WinScribe, which manages doctors’ notes; and the Cream project, which involves clinical records.

Hardware, cabling and networking for the new hospital is also proceeding apace, Mayo-Smith says, with category five cabling in. It will offer 100Mbit/s to those departments, such as radiography, that will need it.

The DHB is upgrading to new PABX systems, having decided against voice over IP.

“First, there’s the cost associated with VoIP, and, second, it’s still relatively new. As a hospital, we can’t afford to take risks.”

The organisation has 4500 PCs across its sites, which include Greelane and National Women’s hospitals and the Starship children’s hospital. A number of them will migrate to the new hospital as functions performed at those sites are transferred, Mayo-Smith says.

The health board says it services about 391,000 people, made up of 150 nationalities. This is expected to reach 492,000 by 2021.

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