Portal proves life-changing for rural doctor

The introduction of a regional clinical portal for patient information has been life changing for rural hospital doctor Hannah Lawn.

Dr Lawn works in the 24-hour emergency department at Hāwera Hospital, part of the Taranaki District Health Board.

The Midland Clinical Portal went live in July 2017 and provides a single point of access for patients’ clinical information from across the Midland region – Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Hauora Tairāwhiti, Taranaki and Waikato DHBs.

This means a clinician involved in a patient’s care at one hospital can see the care they received at another.

Rural hospital doctor Hannah Lawn

Dr Lawn says being able to access patients’ medical records from anywhere in the Midland Region is really useful.

“It has been very helpful for treating any cardiac patients that come to ED. I can easily access all their medical records, look at echocardiogram results and see notes from other hospitals,” she says.

“Information is right at your fingertips. Prior to the portal I had to phone patients’ GPs, or another hospital to get copies of their medical records. I can access discharge summaries and immediately have up-to-date information in real time – this really helps my decision making.”

As of September 2018, more than 2.8 million clinical documents are visible to health professionals involved in a patient’s care across the five DHBs connected to the portal.

The top six documents being viewed are; discharge summaries, letters, interventions and procedures, referrals, assessments and progress notes.

There are more than 4300 active users across the region, which covers more than 770,000 patients.

In the next phase of the project, due to begin in mid-2019, clinicians will be able to write directly into the system. Access will also be extended to community health providers, such as GPs.

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