“The SDPR will consolidate geographically fragmented EMR, PAS, and LIMS systems to create a detailed lifelong patient record and deliver cost savings,” NSW Health said in a news release.
NSW Health is the largest public health system in Australia with more than 220 public hospitals, 16 Local Health Districts, and three Specialty Networks. NSW Health Pathology operates more than 60 pathology laboratories (clinical laboratories in the US) and has 150 patient service centers.
“While this initiative will provide untold benefits to all the patients of NSW, we are excited about its potential for improving the health outcomes of our regional patients,” said Andrew Montague (above), former Chief Executive, Central Coast Local Health District in a press release. “By enabling greater collaboration across all local health districts and specialty health networks, the Single Digital Patient Record will provide clinicians with even better tools to keep the patient at the center of everything we do.” This project is more market evidence of the trend to bring clinical laboratory test results from multiple lab sites into a single data repository. (Photo copyright: Coast Community News.)
Cloud-based Realtime Access to Patient Records
Australia has a population of about 26 million and New South Wales, a state on the east coast, is home to more than eight million people. Though the scale of healthcare in Australia is much smaller than in the US, this is still a major project to pull patient data together from all the NSW hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare providers such as clinical laboratories and pathology practices.
With the change, NSW clinicians will benefit from a cloud–based system offering up real-time access to patients’ medical records, NSW Health Pathology Chief Executive Tracey McCosker told ITnews.
“Patients and our busy staff will benefit from clinical insights gained from the capture of important new data. Our work in pathology is vital to the diagnostic process and developing a statewide laboratory information management system will ensure we provide the best possible services,” McCosker told ITnews.
The KLAS Research report, “US Hospital Market Share 2022,” states that Epic, located in Verona, Wisconsin, has the largest US electronic health record (EHR) market share, Healthgrades noted. According to KLAS:
NSW Health’s decision to engage Epic came after a process involving 350 clinicians, scientists, and technical experts, Zoran Bolevich, MD, Chief Executive of eHealth NSW and NSW Health’s Chief Information Officer, told ITnews.
NSW Health’s Goal for Statewide Digital Patient Record
It was in December 2020 when NSW Health announced its plan to create the SDPR.
“Our vision is to be able to provide a single, holistic, statewide view of every patient—and for that information to be readily accessible to anyone involved in the patient’s care,” Bolevich said in the news release.
The SDPR, according to NSW Health, will address the following:
Current systems not connected statewide.
Inaccessible patient data.
Duplicative data collection.
Gaps in decision-making.
Improve health outcomes.
Create patient centricity.
NSW’s government has already invested more than $106 million in the SDPR, Healthcare IT News reported.
Other Large EHR Rollouts
NSW Health is not the only large organization to take on such an ambitious project of creating a large-scale digital patient record. And not always to a successful conclusion.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)—also intent on EHR modernization—recently announced it is suspending roll-out of the Oracle Cerner EHR at VA centers until June 2023 to address technical issues affecting appointments, referrals, and test results.
Four VA centers in Washington, Oregon, and Ohio already went live with the system in 2022.
“We are delaying all future deployments of the new EHR while we fully assess performance and address every concern. Veterans and clinicians deserve a seamless, modernized health record system, and we will not rest until they get it,” said Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Donald Remy, JD, in a news release.
For its part, Oracle Cerner wrote federal lawmakers noting the importance of continuing the project, which will move the VA away from its former VistA health information system.
“Modernization requires change and some short-term pain for the long-term benefits of a modern technology infrastructure,” noted Oracle Cerner Executive Vice President Ken Glueck in the letter, Becker’s Health IT reported. “A modernization project of this scale and scope necessarily involves time to untangle the decades of customized processes established in support of VistA, which inevitably involves challenges.”
NSW Health’s goal is to build a single repository of health information—including lab test results from multiple clinical laboratory sites. When finished NSW Health expects that sharing patient data will contribute to producing better healthcare outcomes.
However, the VA’s experience—and several other similar attempts at large-scale electronic patient record installations—suggest the work ahead will not be easy. But for NSW Health, it may be worth the effort.
Also listed by Forbes was Anne Wojcicki, CEO and founder of 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. Wojcicki’s net worth of $1.1 billion puts her in the 25th position, according to Forbes.
“I think that what will happen is that a few of them will do very well. And the majority of them won’t. “It’s not us as much as the health systems who have to respond to the patient saying, ‘Send my data here,’ or ‘Send my data there,’” Faulkner told Forbes.
Bio-Rad’s Alice Schwartz an IVD ‘Pioneer’
As Faulkner rose to prominence in healthcare IT, Alice Schwartz of Bio-Rad Laboratories found massive success in the in vitro diagnostics industry.
She and her late husband, David, started Bio-Rad with $720 in 1952 in Berkeley, Calif. They were intent on offering life science products and services aimed at identifying, separating, purifying, and analyzing chemical and biological materials, notes the company’s website.
Bio-Rad Laboratories (NYSE:BIO and BIOb) of Hercules, Calif., offers life science research and clinical diagnostic products. The company’s second quarter (Q2) 2021 net sales were $715.9 million, an increase of about 33% compared to $536.9 million in Q2 2020, according to a news release. Its Clinical Diagnostics segment Q2 sales were $380 million, an increase of 34% compared to 2020.
Norman Schwartz, the founders’ son, is Bio-Rad’s Chairman of the Board,
President, and CEO. However, at age 94, Alice Schwartz, the oldest person on Forbes’ richest self-made women list, “has no sign of stopping soon,” IBT reported.
Lists are fun. Medical laboratory and diagnostics professionals may admire such foresight and perseverance. Judith Faulkner and Alice Schwartz are extraordinary examples of innovative thinkers in healthcare. There are others—many in clinical laboratories and pathology groups.
In both the hospital market and the ambulatory market, Epic has the best-selling electronic health records system, according to data issued by ONCHIT
Across the nation, clinical laboratories and pathology groups are busy interfacing their laboratory information (LIS) systems to the electronic health record (EHR) systems of their client hospitals and physicians. Yet, few lab managers know which EHR systems are dominating the market and which EHR systems are barely surviving.
In fact, it can be a challenge to understand market share by vendor. That is because market share can be determined in multiple ways. Dark Daily found three different rankings of EHR vendors. Each was based on slightly different sets of data. (more…)
It’s an interesting statement about how CVS, the national pharmacy chain, believes it can expand its MinuteClinic health services while also integrating data feeds with HIEs
In another demonstration of how fast healthcare is transforming, the pharmacy chain CVS Caremark Corp. will implement the Epic electronic medical record system (EMR) in its MinuteClinic sites nationwide. This means MinuteClinic clinicians will be using the same EMR as a growing number of hospitals and office-based physicians.
What may make this development noteworthy for pathologists and clinical laboratory managers is that use of the EpicCare EMR system sold by Epic Systems Corp. of Verona, Wisconsin, is that MinuteClinic sites will make it easier for CVS to pass clinical data it gathers to regional health information exchanges (HIEs). (more…)
Fast-moving trends are reshaping how clinical laboratories and pathology groups use information technology to deliver more value to physicians and patients
In the field of medical laboratory informatics, there is an emerging trend of great importance to both clinical laboratories and pathology groups. It is becoming increasingly tougher for hospital labs to select a “best-of-breed” laboratory information system (LIS). That’s because more hospital administrators are opting for a single “enterprise-wide” informatics/EHR solution that commonly includes an LIS that is not the first choice of laboratory management.
“We are now at a very significant tipping point in the field of pathology informatics,” declared Bruce Friedman, M.D., Active Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “After more than three decades of stability and broad acceptance of best-of-breed LISs and close collaboration between LIS vendors and pathology professionals, the enterprise-wide-solution is emerging as a favorite of hospital CIOs and CEOs. (more…)