The most extensive transformation Plunket has seen in its 109 year history has been deployed nationally and celebrated across the sector.
The electronic Plunket Health Record (ePHR) application has changed the shape of wellbeing for 90 per cent of children aged 0-5 years in New Zealand, says Plunket’s acting CIO, Roy Goldsmith.
“The design, development, testing and implementation of ePHR, has been a significant milestone and achievement for Plunket.
“Working closely with our partner Microsoft, a solution has been created to meet the immediate business need. Information is captured in a way that allows it to be analysed and used to continuously improve our services and ultimately improve the outcomes for the families and wh?nau we see every day.”
Moving from a completely paper-based system to a tablet, apps, email, and internet for hundreds of nurses has required a detailed and comprehensive approach to training and development he says.
“The team have focused on minimising the impact of the change, to enable our frontline workers to retain their focus on the children and parents they care for and support.”
The success can be measured in some short-term ways already, such as making it easier to access information, be informed about practice and service delivery and be more relevant to families, he says.
“We are especially excited as we develop our understanding of how we use the consented information captured, (whilst ensuring appropriate privacy of our customers’ information) to improve our service delivery and our understanding of what parts of our care delivery matter most.
“This has been the difficult first step, but has thrown the door wide open for so much more to come,” Goldsmith says.
Plunket’s technology path has changed significantly as the organisation has evolved and increased its dependency on technology.
“Working with and in the business has remained important through this evolution, and the innovation originally stemmed out of the needs of the frontline staff and then refined using the expertise within ICT.
“The journey has spanned several years and when ePHR was dreamt up as a solution, nothing like it had been done before.
“Working closely with Microsoft has resulted in us paving the way in the applications development and for the use of the cloud for the storing of health records. Being the first to be granted permission to store this type of data in the cloud was a huge endorsement from government that we were both innovative, and underpinned with strong information management and security principles.”
Having deployed the technology and application, Plunket is in the perfect position to use analytics and machine learning to predict outcomes and improve service he says.
Plunket was in a fairly unique position at the beginning of this journey according to Goldsmith.
“Because of the paper based nature of our front line there was not the heavy dependence you see in many corporates. This afforded us the ability to develop in an almost greenfields environment. The balance we have kept front of mind has been focused on the fact that every dollar we spend is a dollar less spent providing our service to the community.
“The change in scale and dependence as we transitioned has meant a massive change in the need for industry standard operating processes, monitoring and management of our technology, security and risks.”
Raising the profile of technology within the organisation, rebranding the team as Plunket Connect and directly reporting to the CEO, and being part of the executive leadership team was just the beginning, he says.
“We have also needed to independently build capability and innovation, while amalgamating the processes, people and business as we deployed the technology. The trade-off has generally come in the form of delivering a base capability that can be built upon and speed realising benefits.
“Maintaining stability for the organisation was critical in this process and we are doing so by creating a framework to bring the disparate systems together, using the ITIL framework to ensure that the usual Incident, Problem, and Change Management disciplines are strong.
“In the first 1000 days we make the difference of a lifetime.”’
“This is not just a vision statement, it is what Plunket does every day and without a doubt the Plunket Connect Team are determined to deliver,” he says.
The Plunket Connect Leadership Team was very much involved in the creation of the Future Plunket strategy that has clear vision, purpose and goals. Each of the five key themes has a technology aspect and the establishment of a corresponding and aligned ICT Strategic Plan was a significant milestone.
“There is a real partnership around the executive leadership team, with strong interaction and support between Plunket Connect and the Operations teams that is developing demonstrable value and significant outcomes,” Goldsmith says.
“The inclusion of Business Intelligence as part of Plunket Connect has strengthened this bridge between technology and the business. It allows the regular delivery and continued development of information in appropriate reports to enable our Operations to have the right information at the right time.”
As well, forums have been created to enable sharing and communication with Plunket Connect always being a standing member.
He says the Plunket Connect team spend time with Plunket Nurses and doing call listening in PlunketLine. This has proven to be hugely successful in improving the understanding of how what they do can help the frontline staff and therefore the babies, family and wh?nau that we deliver services to.
“We regularly have All Hands meetings where our various Business areas share their stories. As a management team, spending time in different locations around the country, working from Plunket offices and rooms, as well as simply making ourselves available for coffee conversations is important to keep connected.”
“Our focus is on building a team with the appropriate technical skills, but most importantly the right attitude and aptitude. Having a clear desire to work for Plunket is crucial and an absolute requirement when hiring. Due to our hiring philosophy we have a good balance of gender and strongly look for cultural diversity, while still looking to ensure we get the best person for the role.
“I, as a leader as well as my leadership team take great pride in the people we work with and the organisation has a whole. It is incredibly rewarding to lead, mentor and develop those around me to deliver a service that truly makes a difference to the families, wh?nau, children, and communities we are committed to,” says Goldsmith.