Public Health System of New South Wales, Australia Completes one of the World’s Largest VNA Installations
Powers Image-Enabled Records for HIE Comprising More than 7,000,000 Patients
The public health system in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, recently completed one of the largest health imaging exchanges (HIEs) worldwide using sophisticated vendor neutral archive (VNA) technology. The VNA plays a key role in enabling sharing of medical images and complete digital medical records across numerous local government health districts with 110 clinical facilities serving a patient population of more than 7,000,000. The project will result in improved patient care based on more timely and complete information, elimination of repeat exams and reduced costs of manual data sharing. Implemented by government agency HealthShare NSW, the multi-phased project was launched in late 2010 with numerous sites going live since February 2012.
All facilities participating in the HIE continue to use their own major clinical IT applications, including PACS, RIS, and EMR, and maintain their distinctive clinical and business practices. The innovative storage architecture provides interoperability among data from disparate applications with shared formatting and centralized archiving. It enables direct image sharing from PACS-to-PACS and RIS-to-RIS. In addition to DICOM data, it also manages and distributes MPEG, JPEG and PDF and other standard image files in their native formats, along with treatment plans and reports.
All facilities participating in the HIE utilize existing patient identifiers, with a comprehensive state-wide patient registry reconciling and managing varied patient information across sites. Every facility in this large-scale deployment stores its imaging and all cross-department clinical data in centralized patient folders in the VNA, using TeraMedica Evercore technology.
“We believe the HealthShare NSW project serves as a showcase for the power and benefits of the VNA and a patient-centered imaging record,” commented project leadership. “The entire installation serves as a model for sharing patient information across enterprise and technology boundaries efficiently and cost-effectively.”
The system connects nine different PACS vendor solutions processing over 3,000,000 imaging procedures annually in an area as large as the state of Texas. When it receives an imaging order, the HealthShare NSW system automatically searches in real time for all previous studies and results associated with the patient across all participating facilities. It also automatically inserts a link into a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), providing quick access to lightweight, compressed images and reports at the point of care.
Eventually, TeraMedica’s Evercore VNA will provide a gateway to the national government’s master patient index to reconcile all patient identifiers and support complete integrated electronic medical records across the entire country of Australia.
The state-wide image repository was recognized last December with the New South Wales’ Premier’s Award for Public Service. The project was selected for superiority in the Public Sector category for Improving Performance and Accountability. The Award encourages continual improvement of services and systems to promote more effective use of vendor resources as well as adoption of excellent business and management practices.