IT system links medical records

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 07:14 27/03/2014

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A new $1.5 million IT system to electronically link Nelson Marlborough clinical records with those of other South Island district health boards has been given the green light.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board members agreed on plans to go with software Health Connect South at a board meeting this week.

Developed by Orion Health, the software's single record-approach allows clinical conversations about patients to be shared across South Island boards.

It is currently used by Canterbury, West Coast and South Canterbury district health boards. Southern District Health Board is building their business case to go with the system.

The board's proposal is subject to further approval from the Regional Capital Committee and the National Health IT Board.

Health Connect South will allow all clinical and clerical staff at Wairau and Nelson Hospitals to share patient information and tests results, and to record and communicate clinical information with other South Island district health boards.

A strong case to move to the software was made, due to the increasing prevalence and complexity of chronic illnesses, which cause patients to move between health boards for treatment.

Last year, around 10219 Marlborough Nelson residents received treatment through other health boards. Around 60 per cent were receiving cancer treatment, mainly in Christchurch, while 2590 patients from other districts were treated in Marlborough Nelson last year.

If it is rubber-stamped by the National Health IT Board, the move to a regional South Island IT system will reduce the amount of time clinicians spend writing up paper records, cut clinical risk associated with transcription error, eliminate duplication of diagnostic tests, and improve the patient experience, especially for those being cared for under more than one South Island district health board.

The board approved $1.49 million towards the system and a contingency fund of $178,000, to be accessed if needed.

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- The Marlborough Express

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