by Divina Paredes

CIO 100: Southern Cross Hospitals

Mar 24, 2016
Technology Industry

OWNED BY THE Southern Health Trust, Southern Cross Hospitals operates New Zealand’s largest network of private surgical hospitals that provide access to quality elective surgical services in the country.

In the 2015 annual report of the Trust, the financial year saw over 75,000 patients receive treatment at a hospital within the wider Southern Cross network. With 10 wholly owned hospitals and eight joint ventures, the network is well established to provide access to medical treatment for New Zealanders throughout the country.

In June 2015, Southern Cross Hospitals opened a specialist consulting centre in Palmerston North, as part of a wider redevelopment programme.

Southern Cross Hospitals began refurbishment of its hospital in New Plymouth last year, which includes new patient accommodation, upgraded staff facilities, new specialist consultation rooms, and addition of an operating theatre that will be completed in March 2016.

A new specialist centre, ‘Specialists at Eleven’ on Caledonian Road, also opened at the Southern Cross Hospital in Christchurch.

Clinical management has always been the top IT priority of the hospitals, with the implementation of the Orion Clinical Workstation last year.

Datacom, which provides most of the ICT requirements of the hospitals, began the network upgrade in 2015, which included replacing switches and redesigning infrastructure, modernised telephony, and secure wireless connectivity.

The biggest improvement delivered by IT within the last 12 months, according to Information Services Manager Colin Thrush, was the security upgrade through the firewall replacement programme.

Other IT investments for 2016, an increase of up to 10 per cent from last year’s budget, include big data, risk management software, content management, and collaboration technologies.

The challenges the IS team faces in addressing the above are speed of deployment and lack of skilled staff.

ICT staffing changes are expected to increase up to 10 per cent within the year to address the needs and challenges of the hospitals.