Taranaki DHB heartens community healthcare with mobile forms
Acknowledged for its leadership in adopting new technologies,Taranaki DHB has recently expanded its use of mobile forms, adding its Child Therapy unit, so more patients can benefit from digitally generated data.
Migrating 22 paper forms for its Public Health Nursing unit to a mobile solution was its first forward-thinking move, and adding another 10 paper forms for its Child Therapy Unit is another step helping the district health board (DHB) better serve its community explains ICT Services Manager Brett Griener.
“Of the 32 forms that have gone digital, a considerable amount of the fields are automatically populated with data linked with our patient admin system,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of the nurse or therapist using their mobile device to search for the child or adolescent by name to bring up their record.Or if it’s a new patient, they can easily collect new information to then later create a new patient record.”
“Drop boxes, tick boxes and mandatory reminders also help speed up the collection of necessary data and improve data veracity.”
“With less time spent filling in paperwork, the nurses and therapists in both units are reporting that the quality of time with their patients, both in the community and during outpatient visits, has vastly improved.”
Attributing to this better service and extra level of face-to-face care, Brett adds, is the wider device functions that staff is putting to use.“They can email on the go, check calendars and make new appointments and even use the devices GPS capability for location directions to new patient visits.”
With any DHB, patient privacy is of utmost importance and Taranaki DHB stands proud of the higher level of privacy it can now offer to its patients. Its new mobile software encrypts all data securely in the cloud and all devices are password locked.
Brett says the risk of patient records being lost of mixed up has greatly reduced. Previously nurses and therapists had to lug heavy suitcases of patient files to and from community visits.
Brett says there was a close collaboration between the IT and clinical team to create the mobile forms and develop improved workflows which has led to more timely peer review of patient data and care.
“Once the patient data has been entered, there are options to route certain information to relevant clinicians or doctors for approval.Previously, a patient’s paper form would have to wait to be re-entered into a spreadsheet once a computer becomes available in the unit, and it would often be days before a clinician approved the treatment.”
With information flowing more seamlessly into its patient administration system, Brett believes the DHB is leading the way in providing faster, safer public health services in our country.
“All five hospitals in the Midland region, through the Midland Clinical Portal, also gain access and visibility to Taranaki DHB documentation. If a patient was seen at Waikato DHB for example, their up-to-date records from Taranaki DHB would be available for the clinical team to view, and in turn, provide quicker, more informed care.”
Estimated to save more than $60,000 per year, per team in manual data entry and consumables alone, Brett says the financial savings are significant.
“Our current strategy calls for more efficiency using IT clinical systems, next on our road map is mobile device management to add an extra level of support for our people working on the go.”
Significantly, Taranaki DHB has offered to demonstrate and share all the forms, processes, workflows to any other health provider interested in mobilising their data using the same mobile software platform.
“There was a significant amount of planning, collaborating,investigation and testing behind the scenes. There’s no point re-inventing the wheel when we can easily pass on our learning’s and demonstrate the system to speed up migration time.”
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