South Island seeks telehealth solution
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
The South Island DHBs have gone to market for a telehealth solution for the region using MS Teams or Zoom, as demand for telehealth increases due to Covid-19.
A Request for Information describes the current multivendor environment within the South Island as, “problematic with interconnectivity, so that the ability to have a video consultation is determined not only by the availability of equipment, but also by whether both endpoints are on the same network”.
“This is frustrating to patients and clinicians, but unfortunately attempts to address this issue with vendors has been unsuccessful.”
The South Island DHB chief executives have approved a Telehealth Strategy for the region and each have telehealth co-ordinators, policies and procedures, documentation, and monitoring systems.
“The South Island health system is taking a collaborative approach to improving the expansion of the use of telehealth as an everyday method embedded into clinical workflow, to improve healthcare delivery,” the document says.
“In order to deliver video conferencing and telehealth services across the South Island’s health system… we are seeking to partner with a provider who will be able to deliver a high-tech technology solution, complete with the latest equipment, systems support and installation.
“Technical barriers to adoption need to be removed by creating an environment which supports technology to perform seamlessly with either MS Teams and Zoom.”
Each DHB will be responsible for procuring and managing the implementation of the appropriate solution in each facility.
The RFI says the South Island terrain, weather, distances and condition of the roads and other transport networks can make travel for hospital appointments challenging.
“Telehealth has been particularly important in rural and remote areas where it has had a positive impact on patients and clinicians, through reduced travel time and improved, more timely access to specialists and health advice,” it says.
“Within the last 12-18 months, there has been a significant increase on the demand for telehealth across the five South Island DHBs due to Covid, and as we look to improve the models of care and consultations between primary and secondary care into the patient’s homes.”
The DHBs are looking for a technology agnostic and mobile first approach that supports standards and moves away from proprietary hardware towards good quality consumer-based devices.
Responses are due by 12pm on October 22, 2021.