Canterbury District Health Board's Eclair system provided a lifeline during the recent earthquake, which placed enormous pressure on health and emergency services in Christchurch. With the urgent relocation of many patients needing essential elective surgery and care there was little time to arrange the transfer of medical records from Canterbury. As well as this, many GP clinics were closed due to earthquake damage, meaning patient records were unavailable.
Eclair remained fully operational throughout the earthquake crisis and proved crucial in the ability to provide a complete clinical history of laboratory and radiology results to healthcare providers both in Christchurch and other hospitals across New Zealand.
Eclair is developed and supported by health IT company Sysmex. Eclair is a secure clinical data repository (CDR) of all laboratory and radiology results plus other clinical records from GP, community and hospital providers (primary and secondary care) for Canterbury DHB, South Canterbury DHB and Nelson Marlborough DHB, also known asTestSafe South.TestSafe South is modelled on a successful TestSafe model which connects Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata district health boards.
The hospitals that received patients transferred out of Christchurch needed the patient records but were unable to contact GP clinics for details on admitted patients. Gloria Crossley, Manager of Pathology Services at Taranaki DHB was assisting at Canterbury DHB during this time when Canterbury Health Labs Labline service began receiving a huge influx of calls from both local GPs who could no longer access their own systems as well as from clinicians in other regions where patients had been relocated.
"Healthcare providers seeking information on the patient, where patients have had no previous episodes of care, needed the right information as soon as possible," said Ms Crossley. "This reduced additional clinical investigations and saved critical time. Eclair has a vital role in the care of patients both in Christchurch and in other regions."
The Canterbury earthquake highlights New Zealand's co-dependency with essential services coming together across regions at times of great need, especially emergency services and health. Graeme Osborne and the National Health IT Board's vision for four linked regional CDRs would be ideal in a crisis situation, allowing seamless, secure and immediate access to patient medical records regardless of location.
The possibility of sharing information held in regional CDRs would benefit patients and healthcare providers tremendously.
During 2010, South Canterbury's patient laboratory tests were copied into the TestSafe South secure online database. With the implementation of the DHB's new Clinical Information System (CIS) in April 2011, Timaru Hospital clinicians will also have access to TestSafe South and immediate access to tests performed at both Canterbury and South Canterbury.
Auckland has a number of features that are on the TestSafe South's ‘roadmap' but not yet in place in TestSafe South. These include an ‘escalation' feature introduced at Auckland City Hospital during 2010. This feature prompts someone else to review a record if a radiology report is not reviewed and signed off within a specified time. And dispensing data / medication information from around 85 percent of community pharmacies across Auckland has been going into the Eclair CDR since December 2010.
This year Sysmex will release a version of Eclair that is capable of secure remote access to other regional Eclair CDRs. For example, a user of the TestSafe system in Auckland will be notified on the existence of records in TestSafe South for the current NHI and be able to remotely view those records.
The regional Eclair systems will be federated through trust relationships and encryption keys, allowing users seamless access. Audit trail functionality in Eclair will capture all remote access events, enabling full traceability.
Sysmex New Zealand
Sysmex New Zealand is a market leader in the development and implementation of health IT products and services for clinical laboratories, hospitals and healthcare organisations.
Sysmex's long-standing yet dynamic culture of innovation, coupled with a strong global distribution network, ensures advanced technical expertise in health IT and sustained growth.
IT solutions include Eclair and the Delphic LIS delivering benefits to laboratories, hospitals and healthcare providers, including improved patient clinical services and efficiency advances leading to cost savings, and ultimately translating to the delivery of better patient care.
This software has been developed and supported in New Zealand over the last two decades since the inception of Delphic Medical Systems which later became part of Sysmex Corporation of Japan in 2000.
In the core field of haematology, Sysmex is the global market leader occupying the number-one share of the worldwide market. Sysmex is also the number-one supplier of coagulation instrumentation worldwide.