Icon Group is Australia’s largest dedicated cancer care provider with more than 2,800 employees. Icon’s businesses have extensive capability and experience in radiation oncology, medical oncology, haematology, chemotherapy compounding and pharmacy. Icon Group has grown rapidly in Australia, New Zealand and Asia over the last four years with expansion continuing.
Icon has 12 major clinical applications supporting 36 oncology centres and 60 pharmacies. As they grew, Icon used point-to-point interfaces to integrate these software applications and connect to external healthcare providers. However, the effort to develop and support also grew rapidly. To remove a barrier to further growth, Icon decided to implement a centralised integration platform.
After a wide search, Icon selected HealthShare Health Connect from InterSystems. Health Connect was the logical choice, says Ben Swindale, General Manager of IT for Icon Group, both because of InterSystems’ strong focus on healthcare and its global presence, as well as the technology’s inherent flexibility and ability to integrate core systems using HL7 messaging standards, including new standards such as FHIR.
Since implementing Health Connect, Icon Group has reduced the time to integrate core applications with other information systems from months to weeks, improved the experience of patients, reduced the volume of faxed information and PDF discharge summaries, and increased service levels to client hospitals, all using InterSystems HealthShare Health Connect as a centralised integration platform.
With Health Connect, Icon now has the ability to rapidly integrate to client healthcare provider systems. Within a short period of time, it quickly ramped up to 31 interfaces supporting six different HL7 message types Admit Discharge Transfer (ADT), Referral (REF), Scheduling Information Unsolicited (SIU), Medical Document Management (MDM), Detail Financial Transaction (DFT) including Observation (ORU) and the systems of five external organisations.
With consistent patient information available across its own hospital operations, Icon has improved patient experience and reduced data entry, duplication of information, and the potential for errors. “We’ve been able to provide a more welcoming experience for our patients,” said Swindale, General Manager, IT for Icon Group. “We are not asking for the same information if our patient has been seen in another Icon facility.”
Icon Group has also increased service levels to client healthcare providers. An Icon pharmacy can now receive patient demographic data and other information directly from hospital systems. The results of patient interactions are then able to be integrated back into the hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR). “Using Health Connect and HL7 is faster, makes the hospital medical record more complete and accurate, and reduces the risk of manual data entry errors,” said Swindale.
Previously, Icon delivered patient discharge summaries in various ways, including fax or securely emailed PDF documents. These point-to-point methods are now being phased out. “With Health Connect we now have standard interfaces for patient feeds, discharge summaries and external healthcare providers and it is just a matter of connecting them up,” said Swindale.
Re-platforming these procedures onto Health Connect has ushered in digital transformation for Icon and has reduced the time to connect new facilities. “Health Connect provides an easier path to deliver ‘best in class’ solutions for our clients,” said Swindale. “In the past, each integration was different, so we couldn’t easily reuse existing structures. For a recent new pharmacy, it only took two weeks to get into production from design, and the new interface can be extended to other sites when they are ready.”
Icon used both InterSystems support on-site and online training to get its team up to speed, and employs local implementation partner DWS to augment its team’s resources. “InterSystems has been really responsive. They spent time early on training us and helping us to build the first few interfaces,” said Swindale. “DWS also helped us get the foundations in place, giving us their best practice on developing the system and structuring the interfaces.”
Icon Group will be expanding its use of Health Connect and relationship with InterSystems in the future. “As we expand globally, we will be looking for other opportunities to work with InterSystems,” said Swindale. “We see InterSystems as one of our key strategic partners. They are integral to what we do.”