Clinical decision support solution from Advanced used to deliver national healthline service in New Zealand

Published Monday 23rd November, 2015

Homecare Medical Ltd has recently rolled out Odyssey, a clinical decision support solution from Advanced, as part of a drive to deliver enhanced and integrated telehealth services across New Zealand.

Advanced’s software is being used to provide Homecare Medical’s telephone health triage service for GPs, and the national nurse led triage service, Healthline.

The Odyssey software went live earlier this month and was used to manage nearly 2,000 calls on its first day of operation.

Homecare Medical is a leading teletriage organisation in New Zealand and delivers services to around 600 GP practices, covering approximately 2.2 million people. The company won a Ministry of Health tender to run existing telehealth services, which were previously being managed by four separate organisations.

In addition to providing Healthline, Homecare Medical’s six integrated services include quit smoking services and advice on poisons, alcohol and drugs, immunisation and vaccination, depression and gambling.

Registered nurses answering Healthline calls are using Odyssey to complement their existing knowledge and experience to make effective decisions when assessing a patient’s needs, leading to better patient care and substantial time and cost savings.

The solution’s comprehensive question-sets use a Bayesian approach that guides and allows health professionals to quickly assess multiple symptoms and determine the most appropriate actions, with regard to urgency.

To support Homecare Medical’s integrated services, Odyssey is also being used by nurses based in the country’s two ambulance services to assess, triage and advise emergency ambulance calls that are categorised as having a non-life threatening need. This will enable more effective use of emergency ambulances, ensuring they are available for patients who have more life-threatening needs.

Andrew Slater, Chief Executive Officer of Homecare Medical Ltd, says “Advanced has an excellent reputation in the UK and has adapted its software specifically for the New Zealand environment. We have used Odyssey for three years to drive better patient care in out-of-hours services for GP practices, and felt reassured to extend our use of the system to underpin our Healthline service. Odyssey ensures we deliver safe, effective clinical advice and connect patients with the most appropriate care.”

Advanced has worked in close partnership with Homecare Medical to ensure the system has been tailored to meet the population’s healthcare needs. This has included addressing specific cultural issues by creating additional open-ended questions, prompts and rationales.

George Thaw, Managing Director of Advanced (Health & Care), comments “We are thrilled to have been chosen to assist Homecare Medical to deliver better care outcomes for people across New Zealand. Odyssey will also reduce pressure on after-hours primary care and hospital emergency departments while generating massive efficiency savings.

“Although widely used in several countries, this is the first example of our solution being implemented nationwide. Thanks to the hard work of Homecare Medical’s and Advanced’s teams the project has been delivered on time and to budget with great initial success.”

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