New Zealand’s status as a trailblazer in eHealth was confirmed at the inaugural Global E-Health Forum on October 25 and 26, 2010 in Hamburg, where approximately 250 delegates from more than 30 countries learnt about e-health strategies, solutions and services from around the world.
A 2009 Commonwealth Fund survey ranks New Zealand first for advanced electronic health information capacity among primary care physicians and second for use of electronic medical records. 1 And a 2010 Commonwealth Fund study ranks New Zealand first in overall quality of care, coordinated care and patient-centred care.2
New Zealand’s health sector is internationally recognised as a provider of high quality, trusted services that are delivered cost-effectively. The country’s relatively small size and dispersed population drive the need for cost effectiveness in its health services and encourage innovation. New Zealand has some of the most efficient hospitals in the world with spending per inpatient around half of the Australian rate and nearly one third of the Netherlands.
New Zealand enjoys a culture of strong collaboration between scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. Researchers and product developers work closely with clinicians and the health sector to identify medical needs, areas for improvement and potential technology development.
“Most people are aware that we’re now facing one of the most severe challenges for humanity and that is to ensure sustainable healthcare delivery for all. We have no other choice but to work together. Diseases and pandemics do not stop at borders. And globalisation also means globalisation of health services”, said Ljubisav Matejevic, Founder and Director of the Global E-Health Forum. “We need to develop successful strategies for future healthcare delivery now.”
1 C. Schoen, R. Osborn, D. Squires, J. Peugh, and S. Applebaum, Perspectives on Care, Costs and Experiences: A Survey of Primary Care Physicians in 11 Countries, 2009
2 K.Davis, C.Schoen adn K.Stremikis, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S.
Health Care System Compares Internationally 2010 Update, The Commonwealth Fund, June 2010
In his presentation at the Global E-Health Forum, Dr. David Galler, Board Member of the New Zealand Commission for Quality and Safety in Healthcare, outlined the importance of eHealth solutions to the sector’s future: “eHealth will play a significant part in supporting, enabling, and creating sustainable health care solutions for the future. New Zealand is rising to the global challenge by creating a high value health system of increased quality, whilst containing costs,” he said.
New Zealand’s health technology companies, internationally known for solutions which achieve the right balance between functionality, usability and affordability, are coming out on top in the global marketplace. At the forefront of innovation, New Zealand company Orion Health is a leading provider of clinical workflow and integration technology for the healthcare sector. Orion Health’s software helps to streamline information flows within facilities, between organisations and across regions, and improves care delivery through the secure sharing of data.
Charles Scatchard, Orion Health’s President of International, explains the draw: “Large hospitals and health regions typically have many unconnected islands of information. Orion Health’s Clinical Portal and Rhapsody™ Integration Engine address this disconnection by providing healthcare professionals with unified access to patient data,” he says. “Orion Health has clients in more than 20 countries and partners with a number of technology leaders including Oracle, Logica and Philips.”
Another leader in resource management is Emendo Limited, which developed CapPlan software in New Zealand to accurately match resources with demand for services while enabling staff to deliver excellent standards of care. CapPlan accurately forecasts patient workloads in advance allowing hospitals to safely match staffing and capacity to patient needs.
Bedford Hospital was the first hospital in the UK to adopt CapPlan on a trial basis in March 2007 and later implemented it permanently. Since its rollout, CapPlan has improved patient care and reduced the length of patient stay, as well as increasing data quality and reliability of information. The resulting efficiency improvements have saved the Trust around £600,000 a year to date. In 2009, Emendo was awarded the “adopt, adapt and improve” category prize at the UK’s national health and social care awards, run by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and the Department of Health.
New Zealand has an exciting ability to merge and integrate diverse technologies, exemplified by collaboration and convergence between its medical technology companies and the New Zealand health sector.
An example of sector collaboration is Precept Health, a New Zealand software development company specialising in the development of medical software systems for intensive care units (ICU), operating rooms, emergency departments and acute care units. Precept Health’s flagship product, ICU Care, incorporates unit administration, point of care and automatic medical device integration functions, which empower clinicians to improve patient outcomes and provide ward managers with tools to deliver administrative cost savings. It is not unusual for a New Zealand clinician to work with an engineer to develop a new health IT solution or medical device. New Zealand company Safer Sleep’s solutions were pioneered in New Zealand by Professor Alan Merry, Chair of the Department of Anaesthesiology at the University of Auckland. His research team has been recognised in the academic journal Anaesthesia, as ‘world leaders in the analysis of medication errors and in devising methods to try and decrease their occurrence.’
The SAFERsleep System provides an anaesthesia safety and electronic record solution for hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities. Combining bar code technology, touch screen controls, and workroom organisational tools, the system has been shown to reduce the incidence of bolus to bolus drug error by more than 35%. The System is installed in two UK NHS Trusts and successful evaluation trials have taken place in a further four major Trusts.
New Zealand’s vibrant health technology industry demonstrates flexible, collaborative, innovative approaches and efficient product solutions in niche products. The result is practical, easy-to-use, cost effective solutions which improve clinical outcomes.
Notes to Editors:
For further information, please contact Joanna Ashmead or Joanne Rogers at Prowse & Company Ltd at Joanna@prowse.co.uk or on +44 1372 363 86.
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