Canterbury District Health Board, St John NZ and Lightfoot Solutions have won a major award for what's been described as possibly one of the 'best paramedic service innovation' this century.
At the annual Australasian Awards for Excellence held in Australia this year, CDHB, St John and Lightfoot won the Star Award for Overall Winner All Categories and the Technical Capability Award for its Joined up Data project to improve patient care.
The project joined St John and Christchurch Hospital patient data to enable more effective tracking of patients, ensuring they received the most appropriate care.
Gary Wingrove, Chairman of the International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine, Director - Government Relations & Strategic Affairs at Gold Cross/Mayo Clinic Medical Transport and one of the internationally recognised primary care experts judging the awards, says the award had gone to a "most deserving project".
"Let's hope it spreads to the rest of the world. It's our dream in North America. This project is so awesome, and will impact our patients in ways we cannot yet comprehend. If they continue to make it a priority, eight years from now we will call it the best paramedic service innovation of the first 20 years of this century," Mr Wingrove says.
St John and the CDHB were also placed Runner Up in the Clinical Capability Award for the unique Waimakariri Afterhours Service developed to meet community needs after the former GP-led service ceased.
Carolyn Gullery, CDHB Planning and Funding General Manager, says it's fantastic to be recognised for outstanding collaborative efforts across the Canterbury Health System.
"This is a superb effort and really highlights some of the amazing work going on across the Canterbury Health System to achieve the best outcomes for the people of Canterbury," Carolyn says. "We are working collaboratively on a number of fronts, and by harnessing smart IT solutions our resources are better targeted to where they can really make a difference to people's health," she says.
The Star Award was for the project St John and the CDHB piloted back in January 2011.
"For the pilot project, we used a performance management approach developed by performance consultants Lightfoot Solutions.
"What it allowed us to do was join up St John and Christchurch Hospital's patient data to track patients more effectively through their care pathway and ultimately get them to the most appropriate care – or essentially the right care, in the right place at the right time by the right person.
"It also has really helped us identify specific groups of patients where a change to the patient pathway could improve their health outcomes," Carolyn says.
St John Operations Director Michael Brooke says the collaboration with Canterbury DHB has clearly shown the new insights that are available by linking data to follow through the patient journey.
"These include the ability to compare the diagnosis St John makes when the patient calls, with the diagnosis the Canterbury Hospital emergency department (ED) teams make. We have also been able to monitor the elapsed times from call to triage for patients with life threatening conditions – strokes for example.
"We have been able to take a closer look at patients who were brought to the emergency department four or more times in the previous 12 months and who accounted for 14% of all ambulance attendances at the ED. Linked data enabled us to consider options to connect them with other, 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."
CDHB and St John are now working on extending the pilot to rollout across the Canterbury Health System and potentially across other District Health Boards. This will enable St John to provide benchmarking services to DHBs showing how they compare with each other and the opportunities that exist for improving patient outcomes.
The annual Australasian Ambulance Awards for Excellence have been developed by the Council of Ambulance Authorities to acknowledge and encourage innovations from Ambulance Services throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
These awards provide a platform for the industry to learn from each other and capitalise in each other's achievements.
St John and CDHB were placed Runner Up in the Clinical Capability Award for their Waimakariri Afterhours Service.
In July 2010 GPs in Kaiapoi and Rangiora joined the Christchurch based afterhours service with the 24 Hour Surgery. This meant Waimakariri residents did not have a local GP service after hours, and would have to travel into Christchurch. The high level of public concern prompted CDHB to work with St John to provide the Waimakariri Afterhours Paramedic Assessment Service. Through this service, if a patient requires a face to face assessment to determine the immediate care required, a Paramedic assesses patients in their homes and coordinates the appropriate care, which may include referral to the 24 Hour Surgery or ED in Christchurch or may reassure the patient that they are safe to wait and ring their GP the next day.
St John was also winner in the Management Practice section.
St John was also the winner in the Management Practice section. The process of developing a five year Operations Plan based on ideas from St John staff and health partners was recognised as innovative, resulting in significant buy-in to the plan and to the transformation of the ambulance service delivery model – and setting a benchmark for consultation and collaboration for St John.
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