Monday, 26 July 2021 13:09

South West Alliance of Rural Health and Barwon deploy InterSystems to manage their healthcare data

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The South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) and Barwon Health are depoying InterSystems’ data platform, Iris for Health, to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience. 

The South West Alliance of Rural Health and Barwon Health in southwest Victoria are leveraging the InterSystems Iris for Health, a data platform engineered to extract value from healthcare data, InterSystems announces.

SWARH provides information technology services to support public hospitals and associated health services in a region extending from west of Melbourne to the south Australian border.

Barwon Health’s facilities are the University Hospital Geelong and community health centres in and around Geelong and the south coast.

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SWARH and Barwon Health support different IT environments. These include a range of clinical and patient administration systems, specialist healthcare applications, and data analytics solutions. While these systems are connected—primarily via Health Level Seven (HL7) messaging standards—there is no single data repository supporting real-time data analysis, says InterSystems.

All healthcare data within SWARH and Barwon Health will be available for artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), business intelligence (BI) and clinical intelligence in real time by leveraging Iris for Health. The organisations plan to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience, and optimise the use of resources.

Iris for Health will also future proof the organisations’ interoperability and healthcare device integration capabilities. This includes API management capabilities and deep support for emerging healthcare data standards like HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).

A single-stack solution for AI/ML, BI, and clinical intelligence is expected to simplify and accelerate the process of extracting value from or operationalising healthcare data. It is also expected to improve healthcare information, which InterSystems calls healthy data, and pave way for machine learning.

As the custodian of healthcare data, SWARH recognises it can use it to improve patient outcomes and experience.

Its aim is to identify, in real time, which facility is likely to provide the best outcome for a particular patient. A machine learning algorithm could then inform decisions about where to send a patient being transported by air ambulance.

“Iris for Health will enable us to consolidate all our healthcare data into a single repository for analysis and operationalisation. It enables, for example, machine learning models to be trained on historical data capture across the whole region,” said SWARH chief information officer Andrew MacFarlane. “That underpins our innovation strategy to extract value from healthcare data to provide the best possible care and ensure the long-term sustainability of our operations.”

Organisations can capture and persist the data from HL7 and other messages to create a real-time health data lake or repository.

It will also integrate with Barwon Health’s existing data warehouse to migrate previously captured information to the new environment.

Both SWARH and Barwon Health use the Microsoft Power BI data analysis tool and will take advantage of the InterSystems Iris Connector for Power BI.

Iris for Health already provides the database and interoperability technology underlying SWARH’s InterSystems TrakCare healthcare information system and its data will also be available for analysis.

IRIS for Health will advance other strategic goals for SWARH and Barwon Health, including the use of AI for better population health, and the Hospital of Things, which will see the integration and analysis of data from healthcare and medical devices both inside and outside hospitals, combined with external population data, to improve the quality of care.

“Organisations need clean, accurate data available anytime, anywhere. It needs to be able to flow seamlessly across all sources, be ready for action, and enable better decisions. That is what we call healthy data,” concludes InterSystems country manager Australia and New Zealand Darren Jones. “We congratulate SWARH and Barwon Health on deploying a healthy data strategy in Australia.”


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Kenn Anthony Mendoza is the newest member of the iTWire team. Kenn is also a contributing writer for South China Morning Post Style, and has written stories on Korean entertainment, Asian and European royalty, Millionaires and Billionaires, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He has been published in Philippine newspapers, magazines, and online sites: Tatler PhilippinesManila BulletinCNN Philippines LifePhilippine StarManila Times, and The Daily Tribune. Kenn now covers all aspects of technology news for iTWire.com.

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