The following article was written by Kate McDonald and published in Pulse+IT on 5 April 2017.
CareConnect consolidates on one site as GPs get single sign-on to TestSafe
General practitioners in NZ’s Northern region now have single sign-on access to the TestSafe clinical data repository through the My Practice and Medtech32 practice management systems, allowing them to log on once per session and see their patients’ results with the click of a button.
TestSafe is a shared clinical information service first established at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital to allow hospital doctors to see lab results. Based on Sysmex’s Eclair clinical data repository (CDR), it is now used by all four Northern region district health boards and has since grown to contain diagnostic results and reports, clinical letters, discharge summaries, copies of eReferrals and data on medicines dispensed by community pharmacists.
Managed by healthAlliance, which provides shared services to Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitemata and Northland DHBs, the system is also available to other healthcare providers including nurses, midwives, pharmacists, specialists and after-hours care providers.
TestSafe is one of three shared clinical systems that run under the banner of CareConnect, the other two being eReferrals and SharedCare. The eReferrals system uses HealthLink technology and recently racked up one million referrals in the three Auckland DHBs, while SharedCare is based on technology acquired by Whanau Tahi when it bought HSAGlobal in 2015.
CareConnect service delivery and communications manager Deborah Ross said information about the three services had now been brought together on one site as the single entry point for both healthcare providers and consumers. healthAlliance also runs a single helpdesk for all three.
Single sign-on to TestSafe went live for Medtech32 users in February, meaning healthcare providers simply have to log on to their PMS to be signed in to TestSafe. The spokeswoman said a session lasted eight hours, but if the user logs off the PMS then the session ends. healthAlliance maintains a user directory and manages who can access data, and consumers can opt off having their data shared.
healthAlliance has also launched Xero, allowing users to view radiology images. “We have made it available so that TestSafe users can now visualise DHB images, whereas in the past they only had access to the reports,” Ms Ross said.
TestSafe is available across the northern region but those outside the area can also apply for access, including GPs who have patients receiving care at Starship children’s hospital.
The original TestSafe is now the largest regional results repository in New Zealand, covering as it does the largest population centre. The other regions also use versions of the Eclair CDR from Sysmex, including the Midlands region, which has two: one in the Bay of Plenty and one in Taranaki.
The new Healthscope Wellington SCL provides community and hospital lab services to Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa and runs a patient database that can be accessed by community providers, while the South Island has a system called TestSafe South that is now part of the Health One and Health Connect South portals.
eReferrals and SharedCare
The three Auckland DHBs have also been at the forefront of the use of eReferrals in New Zealand, with the first eReferral forms becoming available in 2012. Now, the vast majority of referrals from GPs are sent electronically to a central triaging service, with the capability built into Medtech, My Practice and Profile for Mac.
Using HealthLink’s Forms technology, electronic triaging of eReferrals began in 2014, with a web portal for non-GP referrers going live late last year for those who don’t use one of the three PMSs. Ms Ross said these referrers need a digital certificate to use web eReferrals, but a messaging system is not required.
In terms of SharedCare, she said over 150,000 patients in the region have a SharedCare record. Originally known as the Connected Care Management Solution (CCMS), the technology is aimed at integrated care, allowing community health providers to link to the secondary sector to enabled team care arrangements for people with long-term conditions and at-risk populations.
Ms Ross said the highest number of enrolments were in Northland, with 123,000 patients with a SharedCare record, and Counties Manukau, which has 24,000. Rates of GP use in those two DHBs are also very high.
“In CMDHB, 95 per cent of all GPs are SharedCare users, and in Northland we are currently implementing to get 100 per cent,” the spokeswoman said. “ADHB and WDHB are lesser users of SharedCare but have some services using, and several in the pipeline.
“It is also used by other healthcare providers including pharmacists, hospices and some NGOs.”