Canterbury District Health Board and Sysmex New Zealand partner through pandemic

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) and Sysmex New Zealand’s strategic partnership has gone from strength to strength, as both organisations faced the extra pressures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the urgent need to scale up testing and reporting at CDHB’s Canterbury Health Laboratories (CHL), the Sysmex New Zealand team were able to support CHL through several immediate initiatives. At the outset, CHL needed increased flexibility around its available PCR testing instruments to enable increased COVID testing volumes and contingency capacity. To manage the flow of SARS-CoV-2 PCR results from the instruments to the Delphic Laboratory Information System (LIS) for reporting to clinicians, the technical team at Sysmex New Zealand developed and implemented interfaces which were live within 48 hours to allow this to happen. This ensured the fast turnaround times, imperative for COVID-19 diagnosis and when testing numbers are extremely high, were maintained throughout the response.

Kirsten Beynon, General Manager for CHL and West Coast DHB Laboratory, is proud of the lab’s ability to respond to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) reporting needs. “From day one CHL was providing significant information via reports and dashboards out of the LIS for the MOH and our referrers. The Sysmex team were very responsive to supporting this and we extracted these reports very quickly. Further to this, CHL and Sysmex New Zealand have collaborated on the new initiative for COVID-19 testing reporting to the national repository”.

“Because the laboratory needed as many people on the shop floor as possible, as well as lockdown constraints, the support team from Sysmex New Zealand were able to give the CHL IT team a helping hand with these and other ‘business as usual’ projects. It’s great to be able to make a difference,” stated Sysmex New Zealand Director of Sales and Marketing, Colin McKenzie.

Adding to the workload for lab and IT staff is the pending Delphic LIS V10 upgrade project, which both Sysmex New Zealand and CHL were keen to keep on track. With no ability to do face-to-face training on the new software, a series of online training sessions were held and recorded to create a resource for lab staff for ongoing reference. The upgrade project is expected to go live in August 2020 bringing the laboratories across CHL’s labnet* group onto the latest version of Delphic.

For the CDHB clinicians using Eclair to access laboratory results, Sysmex New Zealand created new views of the result data, enabling immediate visibility of all patients who had undergone COVID testing within each hospital facility using Eclair in New Zealand’s South Island.

Stella Ward, Chief Digital Officer at CDHB commented, “Canterbury DHB and Sysmex New Zealand have worked together on successful laboratory and clinical IT projects for several years, and the COVID-19 situation has highlighted our strong partnership, coming together and getting things done quickly and effectively.”

*labnet is an alliance of District Health Board owned Laboratories who are working together to promote and enhance medical diagnostic laboratory testing in New Zealand. Included in the labnet group are: Canterbury Health Laboratories, operating laboratories in Christchurch and Ashburton Hospitals and providing reference laboratory services nationally; West Coast DHB (licensee) operating the laboratory at Grey Base Hospital; Taranaki DHB trading as LabCare and operating laboratories at Taranaki Base Hospital and Hawera Hospital; Hawke’s Bay District Health Board operating laboratories at Hawkes Bay Hospital and Wairoa Hospital.

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