Spait Chair Carol Atmore Steps Down

News
28 Jul 2020

Dr Carol Atmore

Dr Carol Atmore has resigned as chair of SPaIT, after five years in the role. She has been a member of SPaIT since 2012 and has made an enormous contribution to the Alliance, bringing a strong primary care focus to our regional focus.

Carol, a practising GP, has recently taken up a role as Head of Department, in the Department of General Practice and Rural Health within Otago Medical School at the University of Otago in Dunedin. She has a doctorate in rural health and was also chair of Alliance South (Southern DHB’s local alliance) up until late last year.

“I have really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the work of the South Island Alliance. I have had the pleasure to work with many fantastic people throughout the South Island in this role.” Carol says. “I strongly believe in the kaupapa of a single South Island health system and hope to support this work as the opportunity arises from within my other roles.”

South Island Alliance chair Jenny Black says Carol’s extensive knowledge of the South Island, due to her time in the different DHBs, made her contribution invaluable. “She understood rural and remote South Island as well as urban, she had a great balance of primary vs secondary clinical issues and she knew the importance of strategic thinking and planning ahead. We’ll miss her enormous contribution and thank her sincerely for it – and we wish her well for her next challenge.”

Anna Wheeler, Associate Director Nursing and Midwifery, South Canterbury DHB, has replaced Carol as the new chair of SPaIT.


Regional Outcomes And Equity Report 201819

 

News
27 May 2020

The Regional Outcomes and Equity Report 2018/19 is now available. It brings together a range of data from various sources to measure performance against our South Island Alliance Outcomes Framework and priority focus areas (2018–21).

The intention of the report is to establish a baseline dataset for regular reporting and update at regional level across a wide range of health specialties. It is also intended to assist with defining strategies and activities to address future activity and challenges, particularly in achieving equity.

Data highlights that progress is being made in many areas. However, there is much more we could do, particularly to address inequity for Māori across the South Island.

We trust this report will initiate the generation of new ideas, innovation and problem-solving as together we seek to address challenges, with a strong focus on improving equity for Māori.

This report brings together a range of data from various sources to measure performance against our South Island Alliance Outcomes Framework and priority focus areas (2018–21).

The intention of the report is to establish a baseline dataset for regular reporting and update at regional level across a wide range of health specialties. It is also intended to assist with defining strategies and activities to address future activity and challenges, particularly in achieving equity.

Data highlights that progress is being made in many areas. However, there is much more we could do, particularly to address inequity for Māori across the South Island.

We trust this report will initiate the generation of new ideas, innovation and problem-solving as together we seek to address challenges, with a strong focus on improving equity for Māori.

Click here to access the report.


Microsoft Teams The New Solution For Alliance Meetings

 

News
25 May 2020

Organising meetings for more than 80 Alliance work groups across the South Island is no small feat. Over the course of a year, that’s hundreds of meetings for over 1000 people – consumers, clinicians, health professionals and leaders across the South Island health and social system.

Alliance meetings are held virtually and face-to face, using a variety of digital solutions to accommodate our broad and widespread membership. During the Covid-19 response, as the SIAPO team switched to working from home, we also needed to switch to a single virtual meeting solution – to avoid confusion, provide better support and enable better online collaboration.

As part of the regional roll out of Office 365, Microsoft Teams became available for us all to use and has since been adopted as the single  solution for all our Alliance meetings.

While we still accommodate other technologies where required, Teams is our preferred option. It has simplified our job of hosting meetings immensely and enhanced the way we work together across the South Island health system. We would like to thank all our colleagues who joined us in this transition.

During the pandemic response period, within Canterbury DHB:

Here are some of the benefits our team has found:

When we’re back in the office, we’re also expecting Teams to spell the end of manoeuvring bulky video conferencing equipment between rooms and floors of our building, hunting for missing cables and controls, and begging for tech support.

  • Alliance group members experiencing issues with Teams or wanting more information should contact the relevant group facilitator.

New Look South Island Alliance Board Appointed

News
23 May 2020

The South Island Alliance hosted the South Island Board induction day in Christchurch, on 13 March. Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, and John Whaanga, Deputy Director-General Māori Health, met with new and existing South Island DHB members.

Following district health board (DHB) elections last year, the new-look South Island Alliance Board welcomes three new members. The Board is made up of the five South Island DHB Chairs; Jenny Black (Chair) of Nelson Marlborough DHB, Ron Luxton of South Canterbury DHB, and new members – Sir John Hansen of Canterbury DHB, David Cull of Southern DHB, and Hon Rick Baker of West Coast DHB.

Jenny Black says she has seen a lot of progress during her time chairing the Board over the past seven years. “While we have a long way to go yet, there have been many achievements to celebrate along the way. The five DHBs are now much more connected, as we continue to collaborate and ensure the delivery of a more sustainable and equitable service for all South Islanders – regardless of rurality, age or culture.”

In terms of regional planning, she says it’s essential that the whole South Island health system is connected – especially important in the new post-COVID-19 health environment. “It must work for everyone. And with three new faces on the Board for 2020, I look forward to working with them, to see how much harder and faster we can go.”Ron Luxton, who has been a member of the South Island Alliance Board since 2016, says that their vision is for a strong public health system for all South Islanders.

“We are constantly working towards a strong patient-centred public health system, where regional services are provided with adequate workforce and care as close to home as possible. This is an excellent opportunity to focus on integration of South Island IT services and providing a truly regional perspective on our future health learning.”

The South Island Alliance hosted the South Island Board induction day in Christchurch, on 13 March. Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, and John Whaanga, Deputy Director-General Māori Health, met with new and existing South Island DHB members, as they listened and learned about Ministry of Health expectations and our region’s alliancing approach.Jenny would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions from outgoing board members, Dr John Wood, Canterbury DHB, and Kathy Grant, Southern DHB.

South Island Alliance Board

Jenny Black (Chair), Nelson Marlborough DHB


Jenny started her career as a dietitian in 1982 and gained her understanding of the ‘healthy to illness’ health care spectrum during her professional practice. Jenny believes in keeping people well and providing care as close to home as possible. She has been Chair of Nelson Marlborough DHB since 2011.


Ron Luxton, South Canterbury DHB


Ron is a retired pharmacist, who owned and operated a community pharmacy in Temuka for 34 years. He is a member of many boards and committees, including chair of the Aoraki MRI Charitable Trust and director of the South Canterbury Eye Clinic. Ron has been part of South Canterbury DHB Board for the past 19 years, including 12 years as Vice Chair and three years as Chair.


Sir John Hansen, Canterbury DHB


Sir John is a retired judge of the High Court of New Zealand and a member of the Courts of Appeal in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Formerly a member of the Hong Kong Judiciary; Board of New Zealand Cricket; Chair of Forsyth Barr Stadium, Sir John also held a number of post-earthquake roles in Christchurch.


Dave Cull, Southern DHB


Dave became the 57th Mayor of Dunedin in October 2010 and was re-elected in both the 2013 and 2016 mayoral elections. Before politics, he was a presenter for Television New Zealand and an author. David was appointed chair of Southern DHB in 2019.


Hon Rick Barker, West Coast DHB


Rick was raised on the West Coast and was an MP for 18 years and a Cabinet Minister for six. He was elected to the regional council in 2013, representing the Hastings constituency, and was appointed Deputy Chair three years later. Rick was appointed chair of West Coast DHB in 2019.


GP Uptake In E-ordering A Positive Outcome From Lockdown

 

News
19 May 2020

Laura Anderson, Medical Laboratory Technician at MedLab South, Nelson.

Electronic ordering of lab tests has been available around the country for some time now, but the uptake from GPs has been relatively low in some regions.

With COVID-19 forcing the country into lockdown, and for many GPs – taking them online, e-ordering lab tests to support virtual consults saw significant uptake in the Nelson Marlborough district.

MedLab South Lab Manager Rebecca Brosnan says to have more GPs move to e-ordering and be able to continue providing their consults, albeit virtually, is one of the silver linings from the level 4 lockdown. “It’s good for GPs and a real win for us at MedLab South where we’ve seen great gains in efficiencies and in accuracy of data as a result of the increase in e-ordering,” says Rebecca.

Rebecca has been working closely with Clinical Information Systems Director Dr Bev Nicolls at Nelson Marlborough Health since April 2019 to get GPs and clinicians in the region to order their tests electronically through the e-ordering platform.

Rebecca says many were geared up to use e-ordering well before lockdown and initial uptake last year was encouraging, but only about 25% were actively using it in place of the traditional order form method. The traditional method of ordering tests requires a lot of manual data entry for lab staff, and in some cases with bulk test orders from clinicians, it presented a real challenge when the patient presented for their test.

GP and Clinical IS Director Dr Bev Nicolls says not only is the new e-ordering process saving significant time for the lab team, it is giving GPs much needed information and control.“When you’re handing a patient their lab test order details on paper, once they leave the room there’s no way to know if they’ve had the test, you can’t easily change the test order, nor can you see where the testing process is at. If they are using e-ordering, then they’ll have that information and that control,” says Dr Nicolls.

Like other e-referral systems, lab e-ordering is interfaced into a variety of practice management systems allowing GPs to request a test easily with relevant information available, get patient test results sooner, improve the patient experience at the testing centre, removal of double handling of information, improved accuracy, and freeing up resources in the lab.

Following level 4 lockdown restrictions, the lab saw an immediate jump to around 50% of the region’s GPs using e-ordering for lab tests, with many more who knew about it now requesting to access the platform soon after. With the support of MedLab South, GPs were provided with remote installs of the platform and online video training to learn how to use e-ordering. This brought the use of e-ordering from 25% to well over 80% in a matter of weeks. MedLab South are now rapidly trying to get all GPs and hospital clinicians to be using e-ordering to further build on the gains seen during the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown period.

Southern Community Lab Group CEO, Dr Peter Gootjes says much of the success of e-orders in the region can be attributed to the leadership of the clinical teams and lab staff. “The clinical leads have been highly engaged with the lab which allows us to continue innovating in the way we work together and the way we deliver services. That’s vital when we face a health crisis like COVID-19,” says Dr Gootjes.

MedLab South hopes to see e-ordering continue to have high-levels of use when GPs return to more in-person consults, as well as continue to see further uptake across general practice and hospital outpatients and the hospitals overall.


Collaborative Response Enables Urgent Dental Care

 

News
28 Apr 2020

Dr Lester Settle, chair of the South Island Alliance’s Hospital Oral Health Workstream.

Measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have dramatically changed how emergency dental care is being delivered across the South Island, with dentists and DHBs working collaboratively to provide the essential service.

There has been some uncertainty around dental care as it was initially not considered an essential service, says Dr Lester Settle, chair of the South Island Alliance’s Hospital Oral Health Workstream. “Dentistry is particularly difficult as it often sits outside of mainstream health, yet unresolved dental infection can still be life threatening, so it’s really important to seek help if you have any dental concerns.”

To ensure safety for both the patient and dentist, procedures have been put in place, so dental care is available for those who need it. Dentistry is one of the highest risk professions for transmitting viruses such as COVID-19, due to its close range and most dental procedures generating aerosols – tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air for up to an hour, harbouring the virus. For this reason, options for safe dentistry are limited to urgent care. “Toothache, for example, doesn’t necessarily meet guidelines for acute/urgent care, as it is not considered life threatening. But it’s incredibly hard to control with just pain relief at home, so we would encourage people with toothache – or any other dental issues – to contact us.”

The New Zealand Dental Council (NZDC) set regulatory standards for dentists to comply with during level 4, and level 3, including a higher level of personal protective equipment (PPE). However, PPE proved difficult to source by general dentists working in the community.To deal with the challenges of providing a safe service, DHBs worked together to find local solutions.

In Canterbury, the local New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) branch, Community Dental Service (CDS) and Hospital Dental Service (HDS), joined forces to set up a coordinated call centre response for patients with acute dental needs.After basic data is collected, this is then directed to CDS or a general dentist for a free telehealth consultation. If the problem is not deferable, then the patient is directed to a community-based dental practice or the DHB, says Dr Settle. “DHBs have been able to provide emergency practices with small amounts of vital PPE to enable care for those patients presenting through the DHB pathways.”

To enable wider access, Canterbury DHB also redirected funding to increase its subsidy to Community Services Card holders. The call centre currently receives about 80 calls a day during the week, with approximately 160 calls on the first day of the week. Dr Settle says the level of co-ordination and speed to enable the service was unprecedented. “The coordinated response between what are traditionally disparate groups has been inspiring.”


Planning For Our Shared Digital Future

 

News
27 Feb 2020

The Alliance Training and South Island Data and Digital Health Strategy Workshop was held on 14 February.

As healthcare and information technology constantly evolves, reviewing new ways of working is an integral part of collaborating as an alliance.

The Alliance Training and South Island Data and Digital Health Strategy Workshop was held on 14 February in Christchurch, to refresh and upskill, reflect on the past and talk about how to face the challenges of our shared digital future.Attendees included Information Services Service Level Alliance (IS SLA) members, South Island CIOs, Clinical Informatics Leader, South Island Information Services Programme Leads, as well as South Island health professionals who are involved in regional Information Services alliance activity.

The morning session covered the history and principles of alliancing, how to participate in an alliance model, how to measure regional alliancing framework for large system transformation, as well as identifying ‘wicked’ problems faced regionally in an alliance framework. In the afternoon session, the South Island Data and Digital Health Strategy was discussed, with attendees working in groups to talk about ways to operationalise the strategic programmes, of innovation and transformation, empowering the healthcare workforce, data and insights, patient participation, and future of work.

Karl Rivett, Change Delivery Manager for IT at Southern DHB, says the workshop was a good opportunity to understand the purpose of the Alliance and to discuss implementation of the strategy. “Looking at the different compositions of resource (clinical, corporate, IT, public representation), what they need to consider and how they work going forward, is of great interest to me and the role that I have. It’s clear the world of healthcare is never standing still, so whether you experience it as a patient, clinician or supporting staff, we need to constantly consider how we best leverage new ways of working, solutions and processes – and that’s what working in an alliance can do for us.”

Dr Peter Gent, a GP in Dunedin, has been a member of the IS SLA for the past five years. He says the workshop was a useful opportunity to refresh knowledge of the Alliance structure. “One of the main benefits of the workshop was to talk about alliancing as a collaborative working method. It was also great to discuss the Information Services strategic plan with the wider members of the Alliance, not just the SLA.”


Alt Key Messages February 2020

News
20 Feb 2020

The key messages from the February Alliance Leadership Team meeting are now available to view. 

ALT key messages February 2020


2019 South Island Alliance Achievements

 

News
18 Dec 2019

2019 was a busy year for the South Island Alliance.

Here is a summary of some of our achievements


Moving Care Out Of The Clinic And Closer To Home

 

News
16 Dec 2019

Paediatric Ketogenic Dietitian Charlene Tan-Smith (on screen) using Zoom technology (remote conferencing services using cloud computing) to communicate with Stephanie Emery

A new strategy to improve and expand telehealth services across the South Island has been agreed by the five South Island DHBs.

“Technology is at a level now where, other than a physical presence, there is very little difference between a virtual consultation and a face-to-face appointment,” explains Dr Saxon Connor, a specialist surgeon at Christchurch Hospital.“

Before a consultation, all the assessments have been done so the meeting is about the conversation. In my experience, a nurse or GP is always present with the patient, so I am comfortable that the patient is being supported.”

Smart device technology is already being used across a wide range of services in the South Island to connect clinicians and their patients who are not in the same physical location. Benefits for patients include faster access to care, shorter wait times and reduced travel. Clinicians spend less time traveling and have greater control over scheduling. Telehealth also supports a closer working relationship between specialists and primary care, and a more connected South Island health system that better meets the needs of our community.

The new South Island strategy aims to increase the availability and use of telehealth to the point where it is offered to everyone who could benefit from it. The strategy focuses on six key areas:

  • governance
  • technology and infrastructure
  • staff training and change management
  • funding
  • embedding into clinical practice
  • monitoring and evaluation.

The first step is to appoint a regionally funded telehealth project manager.South Island examples of telehealth in action

More information