South West Alliance of Rural Health and Barwon Health Embrace Digital Innovation with InterSystems IRIS for Health


InterSystems, a creative data technology provider dedicated to helping customers solve the most critical scalability, interoperability and speed problems, announced that South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) and Barwon Health in South West Victoria in Australia will realise their digital innovation strategy with InterSystems IRIS for Health™, the premier data platform specifically engineered to extract value from healthcare data.

SWARH provides information technology services supporting public hospitals and associated health services in a region extending from west of Melbourne to the South Australian border. Barwon Health’s facilities include University Hospital Geelong and community health centres in and around Geelong and the south coast.

Currently, SWARH and Barwon Health support different IT environments. These include a range of clinical and patient administration systems, specialist healthcare applications, and data analytics solutions. While these systems are connected – primarily via Health Level Seven (HL7®) messaging standards – there is no single data repository supporting real-time data analysis.

With IRIS for Health, all healthcare data within SWARH and Barwon Health will be available for artificial intelligence & machine learning (AI/ML), business intelligence (BI) and clinical intelligence in real time. By embracing digital innovation, the organisations plan to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience, and optimise the use of resources.

IRIS for Health will also future proof the organisations’ interoperability and healthcare device integration capabilities. This includes API Management capabilities and deep support for emerging healthcare data standards like HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).

A single-stack solution for AI/ML, BI and clinical intelligence is expected to simplify and accelerate the process of extracting value from or ‘operationalising’ healthcare data. It is also expected to improve the consistency and reliability of healthcare information – something InterSystems calls ‘healthy data’ – and pave the way for machine learning.

Machine learning is revolutionising the extraction of value from data and, as the custodian of valuable healthcare data, SWARH recognises that it can use it to improve patient outcomes and experience. One example being explored is to identify, in real time, which facility is likely to provide the best outcome for a particular patient. A machine learning algorithm could then inform decisions about where to send a patient being transported by air ambulance, for example.

“IRIS for Health will enable us to consolidate all our healthcare data into a single repository for analysis and operationalisation. It enables, for example, machine learning models to be trained on historical data capture across the whole region,” said Andrew MacFarlane, CIO at SWARH. “That underpins our innovation strategy to extract value from healthcare data to provide the best possible care and ensure the long-term sustainability of our operations.”

IRIS for Health enables the organisations to capture and persist the data from HL7 and other messages to create a real-time health data lake or repository. It will also integrate with Barwon Health’s existing data warehouse to migrate previously captured information to the new environment. Both SWARH and Barwon Health use the Microsoft Power BI data analysis tool and will take advantage of the InterSystems IRIS Connector for Power BI. IRIS for Health already provides the database and interoperability technology underlying SWARH’s InterSystems TrakCare® healthcare information system and its data will also be available for analysis.

IRIS for Health will enable other strategic goals for SWARH and Barwon Health, including the use of AI for better population health, and the ‘Hospital of Things’ which will see the integration and analysis of data from healthcare and medical devices both inside and outside hospitals, combined with external population data, to improve the quality of care.

“Organisations need clean, accurate data available anytime, anywhere. It needs to be able to flow seamlessly across all sources, be ready for action, and enable better decisions. That is what we call healthy data,” said Darren Jones, Country Manager – Australia and New Zealand at InterSystems. “We congratulate SWARH and Barwon Health on becoming the first healthcare providers to deploy a healthy data strategy in Australia.”

About InterSystems

Established in 1978, InterSystems provides innovative data solutions for organisations with critical information needs in the healthcare, finance and logistics sectors, and beyond. Our cloud-first data platforms solve interoperability, speed and scalability problems for organisations around the globe. InterSystems also develops and supports data management in hospitals through the world’s most proven electronic medical record, as well as unified care records for health systems and governments through a powerful suite of healthcare data integration solutions. The company is committed to excellence through its award-winning, 24×7 support for customers and partners in more than 80 countries. Privately held and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, InterSystems has 25 offices worldwide. For more information, please visit