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Sydney IVF

Sydney IVF‚ one of the largest infertilityclinics in the world‚ faced the commonchallenge of needing to support a number ofbest-of-breed applications. The organisation had selected a commercial fertility management system to consolidate a number of in-house systems. This application‚ which manages patient information‚ was an important input into Sydney IVF’s billing process and therefore needed to integrate with Navision‚ Sydney IVF’s existing financial software system.

Key Benefits

  • Single view of the customer journey
  • Improved business agility
  • Rapid composite application development


After meeting with the suppliers of its existing software solutions‚ Sydney IVF realised that they could not easily and cost effectively provide integration between the applications. Nor could they provide all the functionality required for Sydney IVF’s customer billing process.

Sydney IVF turned to Global Integration‚ an InterSystems services partner‚ for an alternative solution. Within three months‚ using InterSystems Ensemble®‚ Sydney IVF created a truly integrated information environment with a single patient identifier supporting a single view of the customer journey.

Central to the new environment is a patient identification system implemented in Ensemble that maintains a master copy of customer information‚ including demographics from central patient registration. Ensemble also manages the exchange of information between different systems‚ ensuring they remain in synch. Information exchange is performed via HL7 {Health Level 7)‚ a clinical messaging standard supported in various forms by most of Sydney IVF’s software suppliers‚ and via XML (eXtensible Markup Language) where HL7 is not supported.

Single view of the patient facilitates teambasedapproach to care

Integration between applications with a single patient identifier has enabled Sydney IVF to implement a new team-based approach which improves customer care. “Having a single view of the patient has facilitated there structuring into teams that are more closely aligned to the patient‚” said Michael Ashby‚ Sydney IVF’s CIO. “We can now ensure that the same nurse‚ scientist and doctor follow a customer all the way through their treatment. Previously‚ there were barriers to getting a patient focus‚ including different databases and manual hand offs between departments.”

PartnersUsing InterSystems Zen™ technology‚ which enables the rapid creation of rich Internet applications‚ Sydney IVF developed a new composite application for customer billing which has extended and enhanced its existing systems to automate the billing process.

“This is seen as the biggest project and the biggest change to the organisation in 30 years‚” said Ashby. “We have moved people from back-end support functions to front line patient interactions.”

The new systems have significantly improved operational efficiency. Twenty back-end support staff positions – 12 of them in customer billing – were no longer required‚reducing costs. At the same time‚ 30 new roleswere created‚ including 12 patient support coordinators‚boosting productive capacity.

Improving business agility

The integrated information environment underpinned by Ensemble has also improved the organisation’s business agility‚ removing internal constraints to growth and improving its ability to quickly adapt to external changes.

Having a single view of the patient has facilitated the restructuring into teams that are more closely aligned to the patient. We can now ensure that the same nurse‚ scientist and doctor follow a customer all the way through their treatment.

Michael Ashby, CIO
Sydney IVF

“The company’s growth would have been impeded with the existing disparate information systems‚” said Ashby. “The different departments were all treating the one patient but there was a lack of consistency of information and each had their own patient number.”

When Medicare recently changed its pricing‚ billing rules and item numbers‚Sydney IVF was easily able to adapt to the changes. “We were able to design the changes within a couple of days‚” said Ashby. “What took longer was how we were going to interpret the new Medicare rules‚ which were a significant change for the industry. For last six months we have been tweaking the rules and the billing and it has been relatively easy to do. We would have saved 3-4 weeks of fulltime work.”

Empowering care providers with secure access to the information they need‚ when they need it

Having created a more flexible information environment and a single patient identifier‚Sydney IVF is now extending its systems to improve the level of information it provides to the external specialists who use its facilities.

Using Ensemble‚ services partner Global Integration is developing a doctor’s portal so specialists can enter patient demographics and treatment plans‚ and monitor test results. Phase one of the project will see the portal implemented via a Web interface‚ with a second phase providing direct integration to the doctors’ practice management systems.

“We want to make it easier for specialists to work with us than with anyone else‚” said Ashby. “We currently give access to some doctors via Citrix but they have their own systems that they would prefer to use‚” said Ashby. “The first step will be to give them a portal but ultimately information will go straight into their systems via secure messaging and they can take action in their own system. They love the idea.”