Gisborne’s Tairawhiti District Health Board expects to establish better control over clinical data – and to make life easier for its clinicians – with the implementation of the web-oriented Clinician View system, from Auckland’s iHealth.
The application brings various information strands together and presents a readily accessible overview of a clinician’s tasks and records.
Previously, a doctor would have to log into the outpatients system, view the notes for a patient, noting that an X-ray had been requested, then log out of that system and into the radiology system, says information services manager Harry Barber.
“There’s a lot of rich functionality in our existing [computer] systems,” he says. “All the information is there [in digital form], but it’s not been great at reporting and answering queries.” The new software gives that convenient reporting capability, he says.
An audit of existing systems uncovered that shortcoming, and also established that the systems were not interactive enough. A clinician could retrieve radiology or lab results, but could give no indication that he/she had read them. This posed the danger of results being ignored.
Clinician View provides a messaging ability for the clinician to notify the system that he/she has read the information, and a periodic scan flags the reports that have not been read.
Tairawhiti was a testing site for iHealth’s Galen patient management software, but this did not make the iHealth web offering an uncontested prospect, Barber says.
Tairawhiti looked a number of alternatives, such as Orion. The choice was made essentially on the clinicians’ recommendation, he says.
“It was logical to them; it had all the information in the right place; and it met our technical infrastructure and interfacing requirements.”
The audit of existing systems also uncovered difficulty in analysing patterns over time, such as variation in the number of patients being dealt with. For that purpose, Tairawhiti has built its own data warehouse.
"Commercial offerings were expensive, and we had our own in-house skills to do it ourselves,” Barber says.