This view is quoted in the recently launched King's Fund report on 'The Quest for Integrated Care' in New Zealand, which explains how the earthquake accelerated plans for an electronic record and how the problems involved in creating it were solved in record time.
The report examines not only the progress Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) of New Zealand has made in developing a fully integrated care system, but also how the consequences of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake accelerated planned developments, which included the rapid development of the eSCRV.
According to an earlier report by New Zealand's State Services Commission (SSC), the earthquake made patient records inaccessible without a method for consistently checking a patient’s medical history for treatment; and thus presented an immediate case for developing a robust system for sharing patient information across key healthcare providers, such as general practitioners, pharmacies, allied health professionals and community nursing services, allowing them to access up-to-date and accurate records at any point-of-care.
The SSC report adds that prior to the natural disaster healthcare providers collected and managed their own patient records, which increased the incidence of duplication, discrepancies and clinical risk. There was also very little information transferred between services with very few providers able to access a complete picture of a patient's history. The focus, instead, centered only on the patient at the heart of the healthcare system and pathways built around meeting their needs, without accounting for the comprehensive services that may have been received.
Commenting on the portal technology, CDHB chief executive David Meates said: "eSCRV provides one health portal, regardless of where you work in the health system. It has been designed to ease the patient's journey, facilitate quality care and enhance communication, not only between the patient and the provider, but also between practitioners and services.
"The earthquake gave us the impetus to say that things we were planning to do needed to happen today."
The cross care setting clinical portal supports clinicians by allowing them access to medical histories—including a summary of medical conditions, details of recent or long-term illnesses, hospital and GP visits, operations, diagnostic test results, medications and information about home care visits—at the point of care delivery. This detailed resource helps make faster diagnosis and decisions about treatment, and possible care options. In helping health professionals make informed, timely decisions, eSCRV contributes to improved patient safety and better health outcomes.
As demand increases for integrated health services across the UK, there are many lessons to be taken from the speed and scale that the portal technology was deployed across New Zealand, as Colin Henderson, managing director UK and Ireland for Orion Health explains: "eSCRV is an exemplar of what is possible when the pressure is on and how quick these sorts of systems can be up and running. Using Orion Health's portal has proven that with the right technology in place it is possible to deliver true patient-centric, integrated care."
"Furthermore, eSCRV is helping to improve care of the vulnerable and elderly and reducing hospital readmissions as a result. It's giving care professionals across settings access to a more complete picture and case history of a patient allowing better, faster decisions to be made. Orion Health is working with many organisations throughout the UK and Ireland to deliver similar solutions who are keen to collaborate with CDHB to learn from their experience and emerge as a similar success story."
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About Orion Health Ltd
Orion Health's easy-to-use solutions and applications improve patient care and clinical decision-making by providing integrated health data in a single, unified view. By enhancing existing healthcare information systems, the Orion Health Rhapsody™ Integration Engine, Clinical Portal and workflow solutions, provide healthcare workers with easy access to patient data and trends, and reduce errors and omissions by streamlining information transfer.