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Home > EMS Products > Communications

Patient tracking system hailed 'best paramedic innovation this century'

Cantebury District Health board, St John NZ and Lightfoot was the overall winner at this year's Australian Awards for Excellence

By EMS1 Staff

CANTERBURY, New Zealand — A patient information service developed in a city in New Zealand has been hailed as one of the best paramedic service innovations this century.

At the annual Australian Awards for Excellence held in Australia this year, Canterbury District Health Board, St John NZ and Lightfoot won the Star Award for Overall Winner All Categories and the Technical Capability Award for its Joined up Data project to improve patient care.

The project joined St John and Christchurch Hospital patient data to enable more effective tracking of patients, ensuring they received the most appropriate care.

US-based Gary Wingrove, chairman of the International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine and director of Government Relations & Strategic Affairs at Gold Cross/Mayo Clinic Medical Transport, said the award had gone to a “most deserving project."

“Let’s hope it spreads to the rest of the world. It’s our dream in North America. This project is so awesome, and will impact our patients in ways we cannot yet comprehend. If they continue to make it a priority, eight years from now we will call it the best paramedic service innovation of the first 20 years of this century,”

The Star Award was for the project St John and the CDHB piloted back in January 2011.

“For the pilot project, we used a performance management approach developed by performance consultants Lightfoot Solutions," said Carolyn Gullery, CDHB Planning and Funding General Manager.

“What it allowed us to do was join up St John and Christchurch Hospital’s patient data to track patients more effectively through their care pathway and ultimately get them to the most appropriate care – or essentially the right care, in the right place at the right time by the right person.

“It also has really helped us identify specific groups of patients where a change to the patient pathway could improve their health outcomes.

St John Operations Director Michael Brooke said the collaboration with Canterbury DHB has clearly shown the new insights that are available by linking data to follow through the patient journey.

“These include the ability to compare the diagnosis St John makes when the patient calls, with the diagnosis the Canterbury Hospital emergency department (ED) teams make. We have also been able to monitor the elapsed times from call to triage for patients with life threatening conditions – strokes for example.

“We have been able to take a closer look at patients who were brought to the emergency department four or more times in the previous 12 months and who accounted for 14% of all ambulance attendances at the ED. Linked data enabled us to consider options to connect them with other, more appropriate care pathways.

“We could see for example that most of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients we saw frequently didn’t have a GP and we could advise them to register with one. Their GP will then work with them to manage their condition through advice, appropriate medication and community-based support.”

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Ray Bange Ray Bange Thursday, November 08, 2012 3:41:13 PM Congratulations to this team that has recognised and articulated the benefits of integrated data collection and considered the patient journey through an holistic systems-based approach. Healthcare really begins with the patient and not at the hospital door and many datasets in health often overlook that fact. It is a yet another call to bring EMS into the ambit of health care and to break down some of the barriers that tend to create silos of care.