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New Information Services For Better Patient Care

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
New Information Services For Better Patient Care

On December the 3rd, the three Auckland based District Health Boards (Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata) started a new service for healthcare providers in the region, providing information on medications dispensed. This service is a joint effort by the three Auckland DHBs to improve the quality and safety of patient care. This represents a major benefit to patients when they go to hospital or change doctor because it helps reduce the chances of a harmful prescribing error.

The information service, known as TestSafe, is a secure electronic database which stores selected health information for use by authorised healthcare providers such as GPs, pharmacists and hospital doctors. It has been in operation since 2006 and is widely used for sharing information on test results from hospital and community laboratories. Access to medications dispensed has started with involvement from 85% of community pharmacies in the region and there will be further work ongoing to make a more comprehensive record available.

The government's national Health Information Technology Board is keeping a close interest on progress as the TestSafe pharmacy service is one of the first projects to start delivering on 'Safe Medicines Management' which is one of the boards priorities. Graeme Osborne, National Health IT Director said "We are pleased to see the progress the Auckland DHB's are making in information sharing initiatives for the benefit of patients."

TestSafe is one of a number of information sharing programmes underway by the Auckland DHBs. Patient information is collected and shared with healthcare providers and agencies so they can make better and more informed decisions to provide appropriate care as quickly as possible.

"TestSafe has significantly cut down time needed to get hospital results and has actually been pivotal in patient care on a number of occasions," says John Cameron, GP and Medical Executive Officer for ProCare.

Next year, GP's will be able to swap pen and paper for the mouse and keyboard to make referrals in Auckland. The Auckland DHBs are implementing an electronic referrals solution for the transfer of referrals from GP practices to all six hospitals in the region. In another initiative, key clinical documents from specialist systems will be shared electronically with other healthcare providers in different hospitals and facilities.

Addressing patient's concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality is critical to the success of the programmes. TestSafe keeps test results in a secure on-line database which can be accessed by healthcare providers involved in a patient's care; information is not available over the public internet. Patient choice is important and patients are given the option to prevent sharing their information via TestSafe. Checks are in place to monitor access to records and the information is not made available to insurance companies, employers, or other third parties.

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