With a network of seven hospitals‚ Mater Health Services and its 7500 staff and volunteers provide exceptional care to 500‚000 people in Brisbane‚ Australia each year. To enhance the value of its single electronic patient record‚ Mater Health Services uses InterSystems HealthShare® as a strategic informatics platform to connect over 20 clinical and patient administration systems and create the Mater Clinical Data Repository (MCDR). The MCDR and its associated clinical portals benefit the Mater group of hospitals by providing clinicians with an integrated view of clinical information for improved patient care, and by creating operating efficiencies which save time and money.

“InterSystems’ advanced technologies have underpinned our clinical portal strategy and had a positive impact on clinical care and outcomes for our patients,” said Mal Thatcher‚ Mater’s Chief Information Officer. “Clinicians can access the information they need, when they need it, to make the best decisions.”

Cost savings have resulted from a reduction in the time staff spend transporting information charts around hospitals. Other efficiency gains have resulted from combining information from different applications. For example, cross-referencing appointments against pathology means that clinicians don’t waste time searching for test results.

Minimises Disruption and Resistance From Clinicians

Mater Health Services

To create the MCDR, the Mater uses HealthShare to harness a range of InterSystems technologies for HL7 message translation and storage‚ application integration, and data management. By connecting over 20 clinical and patient administration systems‚ the Mater was able to leverage previous application investments and retain freedom of choice for future purchases. It also minimised disruption and resistance from clinicians who had a strong preference to continue using existing applications.

Providing a single interface into each application through HealthShare is also helping to reduce the Mater’s IT implementation costs. “Having a central platform for interoperability and analytics avoids the need to develop multiple‚ costly‚ point-to-point interfaces between systems‚” said Thatcher.

Rapidly Fills Functional Gaps in Existing Healthcare Solutions

Key Benefits

  • Improved clinical outcomes and operating efficiencies
  • Ability to rapidly fill functional gaps in healthcare systems
  • Decisions and actions are based on realtime active analytics

As well as providing the infrastructure platform for its electronic patient record, the Mater has made extensive use of HealthShare to fill functional gaps in its existing healthcare systems and to extend their overall capabilities.

For example, by using HealthShare’s composite application development capabilities, the Mater has rapidly developed over 15 connected healthcare applications. Leveraging data from multiple existing applications, the new composite applications have been developed more quickly and more cost-effectively than was previously possible. One HealthShare-based connected care application has doubled the number of eye tissue donations from Mater hospitals by providing automatic notification of tissue availability to Queensland Health, the state health authority. Another application, for outpatient appointments, consolidates appointment data from three separate systems for allied health, private clinics and public clinics.

Mater Health Services has employed HealthShare to accelerate the Mater Shared Electronic Health Record project to deliver an electronic obstetric record for new mothers. This aims to improve patient care through the sharing of information between general practitioners, visiting medical officers, maternity patients and Mater Mothers’ Hospitals.

The clinicians love what we have been able to do with HealthShare. The more information we can provide clinicians in a useable way‚ the more effectively they can care for patients.

Andy Richards, Integration Specialist
Mater Health Services

As part of the project, The Mater used HealthShare to develop an interface to the new national Healthcare Identifiers Service and to provide the ability to communicate with other healthcare providers using the Secure Messaging Delivery technical specification developed by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). “One of the advantages HealthShare has given us is that we can create new interfaces quickly without having to rebuild interfaces to other systems,” said Andy Richards, Mater’s Integration Specialist.

With a single electronic patient record for 1.4 million patients‚ 10 million pathology results and 12.5 million events‚ including detailed demographic information‚ the Mater is also taking a close look at the HealthShare platform for patient care and medical research applications. With InterSystems iKnow technology built into HealthShare, this opens up the possibility for the Mater to gain insight into annotations associated with health records, such as discharge summaries. The hospital network is also undertaking research and development exercises to see how InterSystems active analytics technology can explore the wealth of data stored inside the MCDR. (August 2012)

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