Presenting at the HiNZ Conference recently, Peter Bramley, CEO of Nelson Marlborough Health said, “If you removed the cleaners, the orderlies and the administrators from the health system, healthcare would fall over in a day”.

For a long time, health administrators have not been given the tools they need to help deliver efficient, effective care in the hospital. Many administration systems have ageing infrastructure and applications, and often don’t talk to each other which does not cater to populations where people may visit many different health providers across different regions. There are high costs associated with configuration changes and minor development, thus due to limited resources and budget constraints, hospitals have had no choice but to survive on their legacy systems.

The South Island Alliance of District Health Boards (DHBs) identified the need for a region-wide patient information system which would streamline the patient journey through the health system and make tasks easier for staff, enabling more efficient and connected healthcare, ultimately resulting in a more seamless patient experience. Out of this need, the organisation partnered with Orion Health to build the South Island Patient Information Care System (SI PICS), New Zealand’s first patient administration system to be shared across more than one DHB.

SI PICS enables the efficient management of patient demographics, appointment bookings, waiting list management, patient transfers, patient activity records, reporting, admission and discharges. The single portal replaces eight ageing and unconnected administration systems with one system for the whole South Island.

Health Connect South, the South Island’s electronic health record developed by Orion Health, has given visibility across hospital and community (via HealthOne) care providers, which is one very important piece of the puzzle. Patient administration is another critical part of an integrated health system, and the South Island is well on the way to achieving this with the recent implementations of SI PICS at Nelson Marlborough and Canterbury DHBs.

The main purpose and key benefit of SI PICS is to drive consistent business processes to improve the effectiveness of information sharing across the entire South Island.

Earlier this year, SI PICS went live at Nelson Marlborough DHB, where 280,000 patient records were migrated and information on 700,000 patient events came across to the new system. Christchurch Hospital went live in October, a significant milestone as the region’s largest tertiary facility. The other three district health boards are due to implement the system over the next two years.

To learn more about the South Island Patient Information Care System, read our case study below.