“Someone came into our ED last night with a cough, and just flew back from Hubei.

What’s the earliest we can come up with a solution?”

So began an email from a registrar at Middlemore Hospital, on a Friday in February, before New Zealand had recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

Within three days Orion Health had stood up a solution to assess and monitor suspected COVID-19 patients when they are admitted to hospital.

Our Northern Region Operating Model team of product specialists and implementation consultants joined forces with DHB clinical leads and technology experts from Health Alliance NZ. Using the software already installed in Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB), they created, tested and deployed two forms within the Care Pathways product. These two forms allow clinicians to conduct an initial assessment, and then follow up with close, on-going monitoring of the patient.

Our team recognised the urgency of the problem facing Auckland hospitals, and, in response, worked tirelessly to implement the forms.

For Clinical Lead for Counties Manukau and Waitematā DHBs, Dr Lara Hopley, the forms are an “absolute first”.

“The COVID-19 assessment forms allowed every front-end clinician to easily send a referral to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) and trigger a COVID-suspected alert badge; thus allowing widespread, electronic alerting to the patient’s status.

“Front-end clinicians now have the ability to rapidly update COVID status. Previously, alerts had to be manually changed, following a conversation between clinical decision-makers and administrative staff,” she said.

The biggest difference was in the deployment of the cohort management tool. Clinicians are now able to quickly search over all ‘alerted’ patients, their locations and their test results, in order to efficiently update status. An immediate and accurate communication through the entire system.

Another clinician explained the impact of the ability to immediately and accurately communicate through the entire system.

“This is 10 times better than anything we could do. It has made a world of difference from being a chaotic mess of not knowing who or where the patients were – which would have generated excel spreadsheets, word documents and tonnes of emails and lost patients – to it all being there in one place in the clinical record,” they said.

 “We can now go back in and understand the clinical decisions linked to the change in alert status. It’s made a massive difference,” they added.

Now, when a patient presents with symptoms of COVID-19, they are quickly assessed and placed on the right pathway for them. The ARPHS has access to an overview of the probable and confirmed cases in hospital, and ensure they are also tracking them. This regional data warehouse means that CMDHB is able to highlight the difference between data sources, which is crucial for reporting.

“It was a very long three days’ worth of work getting this over the line – and the team has kept their sense of humour the entire way through,” said Dr Hopley.

“They are truly a credit to all our organisations,” she added.

Forms like these are available for deployment within Care Pathways, which comprises one of the cohort management modules within Orion Health’s comprehensive Outbreak Management Solution. Our solution provides a suite of modules designed to help alleviate the pressure on health systems.

Care Pathways is a toolkit for building patient care workflows across the healthcare continuum. Care Pathways is used by 40+ customers across the globe, with Health Alliance being a leader in developing their own pathways with Orion Health support.

Interested in learning more about Care Pathways, cohort management, or our comprehensive Outbreak Management Solution?