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Southern DHB showcasing its information systems

15 October 2015

Southern DHB showcasing its information systems

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Canterbury DHB and the Southern Cancer Network are visiting Southern DHB today and tomorrow to review and learn about the DHBs Faster Cancer Treatment (FCT), Multidisciplinary Meeting (MDM) and other IT systems developed in-house by Southern DHB.

Patients with a diagnosis of cancer are discussed at regular MDM meetings attended by Cancer Specialists, Surgeons, Radiologists, Pathologists, Cancer Nurse Specialists and Physicians.

“The DHB IT team has developed a MDM IT system to make sure all the relevant information is available for the discussion and to enhance communication. This means we get the best possible opinion on what care is most appropriate for each individual patient,” said Southern DHB Clinical Leader Medical Oncology and MDM Clinical Lead, Dr Blair McLaren.

“The great thing about the MDM IT solution is that the team decisions around cancer care can be documented and shared immediately,” he said.

The MDM supports patient care by allowing multiple professional perspectives to combine and collaborate to provide better quality care for patients. The system is used to provide electronic summaries in the patient health record.

Prior to the development of the system this information had been shared using slower methods such as dictation and typing, using paper and faxes. These new applications are a better way of communicating vital information and are now commonly used by clinicians across the organisation. To date 577 clinicians have utilised the MDM system for 2674 patients since the system was started to be used in 2013.

The development work was supported by initial funding provided by the Ministry of Health in 2012-14. The design has been in collaboration with the multiple clinicians across the district who contribute to the multidisciplinary meetings held each week using video conferencing. Trialling ideas and concepts has been undertaken by dozens of staff who coordinate care for patients with cancer. The aim is to make the services Southern DHB provides better, faster and provide the right support and information at the right time. This has been made possible by the support of the DHBs IT team, in particular Lance Elder, Application Developer who designed and developed the system.

Also being showcased is the Faster Cancer Treatment system (FCT), a database used to track patient pathways.

“By using this system, staff can see where a patient is up to in terms of outpatient appointments, getting tests and having treatments. This allows us to identify where blocks are so we can speed up the time between referral from the GP and getting the right treatment,” said Dr McLaren.

Cancer Nurse Coordinators, using the FCT system, can identify where delays might occur and communicate with patients to ensure that they know what is going on and that their care is as smooth and as fast as possible.

In addition, the Fast Cancer treatment system tracks the DHBs performance against the new Health Target which is that 85 percent of patients receive their first cancer treatment (or other management) within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer and a need to be seen within two weeks by July 2016, increasing to 90 percent by June 2017. The DHB achieved 66% in the last quarter and it is using the FCT database to assist in improving its systems to meet the Ministers target for July 2016.

There are a number of other systems that Southern DHB has developed which the visiting teams are keen to look at including electronic radiology referrals for x-rays; electronic consult requests between different specialties; individualised electronic cancer follow up schedules after treatment; an electronic radiation oncology treatment planning whiteboard and inpatient electronic discharge planning whiteboard to coordinate all patient based services.

“We’re delighted to have this group visiting who will be speaking with clinicians and managers and looking at how we work to provide the best information which supports high quality, patient focused care. The visit is part of a continuing process to support collaboration between the South Island DHBs,” commented Dr McLaren.


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