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Regional Digital Health Services deliver systems to Central DHBs

Monday, 17 June 2019  
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Picture: Whanganui DHB chief executive Russell Simpson editor Rebecca McBeth


The Central Region’s Health Informatics Programme has become the Regional Digital Health Services as it moves from being a programme of work to business as usual.


The services, operated by TAS on behalf of the region’s six district health boards (Hawke’s Bay, MidCentral, Whanganui, Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa), provide a platform for patient management and a range of applications such as a clinical portal.


Three DHBs are using the service today with plans for others to onboard soon.


Whanganui DHB chief executive and service lead Russell Simpson says the name change signals the end of the programme and the integration of RDHS as a service in its own right.


“Transitioning to RDHS makes it business as usual, going into normal operations as opposed to a stand-up strategic programme,” he tells


The services’ operating budget is $12–$13 million per year, with $5–$6 million for development of programmes. Around 45 staff sit within the services.


“The benefits are that costs are reduced because it’s BAU and it provides ongoing continuity for patients across the region by all being on either common or core systems,” says Simpson.


The six DHBs recently agreed on which systems should be considered core (single instance) or common (multiple instances across the region), allowing each organisation to “focus strategically on where we need to go,” he explains.


The core applications are the clinical portal, regional picture archiving and communication archive, radiology information system, regional application data access and the healthcare practitioner database.


The patient administration system, webPAS from DXC Technology, is a common application.


“Now that the decision has been made the investment can be determined, really maximising value for taxpayer dollars and getting the most out of each of the systems, whether core or common,” Simpson says.


He explains that many patients at the smaller DHBs are required to travel for tertiary care, so having information technology systems in common across the region is of great benefit.


“I see the value from the patient perspective that no matter where they go across the region, their information is accessible – and there are documented benefits for patient outcomes.”


The Regional Digital Health Services are now co-located with the regional support team at the TAS offices in Wellington, allowing the services to coordinate their efforts to support the key clinical applications.


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