Ambulance service wins award for tracking patients

1 December 2012

A Christchurch system tracking ambulance patients’ journeys from initial call to ED and beyond, including multiple callouts, recently won an Australasian ambulance award for excellence.

Canterbury District Health Board, St John New Zealand, and IT company Lightfoot Solutions took out the top award for its “Joined Up Data” project trialled last year to link St John and Christchurch Hospital data.

The joined-up data allowed them to compare the diagnosis made by St Johns to that made by the emergency department team, and to monitor the times from 111 call to triage for patients with life-threatening conditions like strokes.

It also enabled them to take a closer look at patients brought by ambulance to ED four times or more in previous months (about 14 per cent of all ambulance attendances) and consider more appropriate care pathways.

“We could see for example that most of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients we saw frequently didn’t have a GP and we could advise them to register with one. Their GP will then work with them to manage their condition through advice, appropriate medication and community-based support,” said St Johns operations director Michael Brook. The pilot is now to be extended to roll out across the rest of Canterbury DHB.