Innovation Partnership places spotlight on how smart data puts patients first in Canterbury

Monday May 11, 2015

The Canterbury Health System has had the spotlight cast on it once again, this time in a report the Innovation Partnership commissioned on Data Driven Innovation in New Zealand.

The report explores how data driven innovation represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity for New Zealand.

Canterbury features as one of the report's case studies, entitled 'Unlocking Health: how smart data is putting patients first in Canterbury'.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive says the Canterbury Health System is most interested in using data to improve the quality and safety of care and importantly, to save patients' time.

Canterbury's case study provides two examples of how data are improving patient care. 

The COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) project has resulted in more people with this chronic disease receiving the right care in their own homes.

"The use of data raised awareness of the fact that in winter patients with COPD were occupying up to 60 hospital beds. There's been a massive reduction in COPD admissions – and happier patients receiving care at home," Mr Meates says.

The Canterbury Health System's electronic patient information system known as HealthOne provides up to date data from across the system to the point of care (whether it's in hospital or primary care).

"For the patient this means faster, more appropriate care and HealthOne has helped Canterbury achieve one of the lowest rates of acute admissions anywhere in New Zealand.  Our rate of acute admissions to hospital is 30 percent less than the national average.

"The value of quality data means we can deliver better services that represent value for money by targeting resources to where they're needed most."

Carolyn Gullery, Canterbury DHB's general manager of planning, funding and decision support, and Mr Meates attended the launch of the report in Wellington recently, with Minister of Finance, Bill English and key New Zealand innovation businesses and government organisations, including Fonterra, Google New Zealand, and ACC.

Carolyn says it is really exciting to have the Canterbury Health System's use of data recognised.

"We are using data to pick up on trends, monitor the impact of changes to processes, guide decision making and monitor trends over time. We've also made data visible to all staff on the intranet, so they can see what's happening in real time. It's helping to improve the flow of people through our system," she says.

"This is a far cry from what things were like seven years ago when it wasn't uncommon for hospital to be in gridlock a couple of times a week in winter – causing havoc, with surgery having to be cancelled and patients effectively being stuck and not flowing through our hospital."

Carolyn says using data to identify and predict trends and plan has been fundamental to changing Canterbury's health system.

"It helps us to see what's happening. This has required us to introduce new IT systems so we're getting the right information to deliver the care that's needed for our population," she says.

"In the past year the Canterbury Health System has kept almost 30,000 people out of hospital through initiatives such as the Community Rehabilitation Enablement Support Team and Acute Demand Management Service. Good data, much of it in real time, has played a huge role in this achievement."

Page last reviewed: 18 May 2015
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