The Southern Cross Healthcare and Orion Health innovation partnership reflect on a year of significant milestones in 2021.

Since 2018, Southern Cross Healthcare and Orion Health have been working together in a unique innovation partnership with the goal of creating a paperless patient record for the private healthcare organisation. Shifting the patient record beyond paper improves access to information and allows for optimised usability, ultimately improving the productivity of teams and revolutionising patient care.

The electronic patient record, known to Southern Cross Healthcare as Clinical Workstation (CWS), is used within 16 of their wholly-owned and joint venture hospitals across New Zealand. It encompasses a range of Orion Health products accessed via Clinical Portal and provides an integrated view of a patient’s clinical record. 

The partnership’s achievements so far are resulting in highly used solutions by clinical teams across the Southern Cross Healthcare hospital network, including digital patient notes, electronic bedside monitoring and clinical assessments.  These digitised processes have streamlined clinical workflow which has been well received by users. 2021 has been no exception to this with the team having together achieved significant milestones on their journey to paperless. 

Easy access to patient information anywhere, anytime 

Since May 2021, Southern Cross clinicians can quickly view a snapshot of a patient including demographic data, medical warnings, latest observations and lab results via a patient summary dashboard. Additionally, digital patient notes and patient vital signs can now be captured within CWS using a mobile device via Clinical Portal Mobile. This has been a catalyst to rolling out the solutions across the hospital network and has increased clinical engagement with the platform.

“The CWS mobile solution is brilliant and perhaps the best piece of technology I have seen in Southern Cross in the last 10 years. I feel I can handle nursing enquiries better, I have a much better grasp on my patient’s condition, and I can review my patients preward round,” describes Julian Stoddart, an orthopaedic surgeon in New Plymouth.

Safer, more efficient medication management 

With Orion Health Medicines Viewer, clinicians can now easily view community pharmacy dispensed medicines (sourced from NZePS), which is a key achievement on the roadmap. 

Quick and seamless access to NZePS data via Medicines Viewer greatly improves the accuracy and completeness of the medicines reconciliation process. This additional trusted information source helps admitting clinicians to identify gaps and inconsistencies in the patient’s medicines history, ultimately resulting in safer and more efficient medications management.

Rachel McCaskill, Clinical Nurse Specialist Pre Admission Clinic at Southern Cross Healthcare’s Christchurch hospital, describes the Orion Health Medicines Viewer integration with NZePS as a “total game-changer”. 

“It is making our lives in the pre-admission clinic so much easier. Access to NZePS data supports our medication reconciliation process and helps us identify medicines that may not have been noted by the patient on their admission forms.”

Streamlining patient handovers across the continuum of care 

Another highlight for the team this year has been the development of Checklists within CWS to help streamline pre-admission, admission and discharge processes. Checklists provide an interactive digital list of items and checks that need completing for a patient.  They can be used as an ‘aide memoir’ or as a guide for newer staff, to ensure important tasks are completed. They enable easy collaboration across the continuum of care and increase patient safety by ensuring teams are working with the most up-to-date and accurate information.

“Moving from working in more traditional ways to working in our innovative partnership using Agile methodology has really ramped up our success and speed of delivering a user-friendly product that adds huge value to patient care in our hospitals. Our electronic patient record has been adopted extremely well by our clinical staff, who are keen on more digital solutions.  Our medical specialists are now engaging with our EPR both in our hospitals and remotely on their own devices – including their mobile phones. Being truly mobile responsive was the turning point and was only possible with our unique positive working relationship with Orion Health,” describes Carey Campbell, the Director of Nursing at Southern Cross Healthcare.

Niru Rajakumar, VP Customer Success APAC at Orion Health, says the partnership with Southern Cross Healthcare enables an environment where this type of continuous innovation can happen seamlessly. 

“We’re excited to continue working together with Southern Cross to achieve our goal of a paperless patient record.  We’ve got more exciting enhancements in progress that continues and improves medical specialist engagement, streamlines the processes for nurses and optimises user access, all of which will ultimately improve patient care for Southern Cross customers.” 

About Southern Cross Healthcare
Southern Cross Healthcare has been a trusted part of New Zealand’s healthcare system for over 40 years; best known for elective surgery provided through Southern Cross hospitals. Their wholly-owned and joint venture hospital network comprises 16 facilities across New Zealand; continuously invested in to provide modern healthcare technology and quality patient experience.