IT issues at Southern DHB on the mend

Information technology issues that have plagued the Southern District Health Board with inaccurate health target results have been "largely solved", board members heard last week.

At the board meeting on Thursday, board members and management briefly discussed the challenges of getting correct figures for elective surgery discharges to the Ministry of Health so they could be included in the first quarter health target report.

Published data for the beginning of the 2012-2013 year shows the Southern District Health Board had the lowest elective surgery percentage of all 20 health boards.

The national figures show 90 per cent of people on a waiting list for elective surgery were seen within six months. This is against a target of 100 per cent of people being seen within six months.

But internal DHB reporting has that figure as closer to 95 per cent.

Board chairman Joe Butterfield said he understood the IT issues - involving the integration of three software systems - had been "largely solved".

Patient services executive director Lexie O'Shea said bugs had been found in the system, causing reporting delays. That situation had now been remedied, she said.

A letter to the board from the Ministry of Health acknowledges the delay in reporting - a result of the Otago and Southland site data merging - though the ministry's target champion for improved access to elective surgery, Clare Perry, says in the letter the Southern DHB is still behind plan. She was concerned results remained lower than expected, she says in the report.

The Southland Times