NEW ZEALAND’S SOUTHERNMOST DHB employs approximately 4500 medical and support staff. Southern DHB has an IT team of 50 full time-equivalent staff, under the leadership of John Simpson, director of information services.
As a DHB, it is responsible for planning, funding and providing health and disability services to a population of over 304,268 located South of the Waitaki River. This area includes Invercargill City, Queenstown – Lakes District, Gore, rural Southland, Clutha, Central Otago, Maniototo, Waitaki District and Dunedin City.
The DHB’s information and communications technology (ICT) development is influenced by local needs and also those of the region through the South Island DHB Alliance. The other members of the alliance are the district health boards of West Coast, Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough and South Canterbury.
Among the DHB’s priority projects are implementation of systems for electronic reconciliation of medicines on admission and discharge from hospital and a regional clinical workstation (CWS) and clinical data repository (CDR).
The CWS is a web based system accessed via a single sign-on that connects multiple clinical applications and data sources to provide clinicians with secure access to patient data. A CDR is a database of patient identifiable clinical information such as medications, laboratory results, radiology reports, care plans, patient letters and discharge summaries.
The DHB is also involved in the patient administration system that manages the administrative details of a patient’s encounter with a hospital or other DHB service.
The use of telehealth applications to support care in rural areas is a focus it shares with DHBs in the region.