Waitematā DHB leads the way in healthcare innovation

13 June, 2019


Waitematā DHB’s award-winning Leapfrog team are pictured (left to right): Health Informatics Manager (HIG) Andrew Cave; Chief Information Officer Stuart Bloomfield; Information Systems Change Manager David Ryan; Head of Analytics Delwyn Armstrong; Digital Innovations Lead Dr Lara Hopley; Director of i3 Dr Penny Andrew; Associate Professor and Clinical Director of Innovation Dr Robyn Whittaker; and Managing Director of Clear Point Phil Pietersen (award sponsor)

Waitematā DHB leads the way in healthcare innovation

Waitematā DHB is celebrating the success of its Leapfrog programme, which won the Business Transformation through Digital and IT category of the NZ CIO Awards on 12 June.  

Leapfrog is a CEO-sponsored programme, which is run out of the DHB’s Institute for Innovation and Improvement (i3), rapidly advancing the digital capability of Waitematā DHB through intensely focused projects designed to enhance health outcomes and patient experience.  

Leapfrog projects have transformed the way in which staff use and engage with technology in order to reduce unnecessary administration so they can spend more time on direct patient care.

A recent example is eVitals, which enables nurses to enter vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate) and risk assessments at the bedside using an iPad mini that fits into their uniform pockets. The electronic record gives charge nurses visibility of all patients on a ward at the touch of a button.  

The system can also be used as an early warning signal if patients are deteriorating.

Waitematā was also the first DHB in the country to introduce ePrescribing within its hospitals. The system electronically records all prescribed medications, reducing the possibility of any errors and, because it is linked with the patient’s clinical record, it can alert staff to the possibility of medication causing an adverse reaction or allergy.  

Electronic ordering systems have also been implemented for doctors to order blood tests and radiology procedures.

“Replacing manual paper-based steps has given our staff more time to spend with their patients, reduced waste, improved efficiency and reduced paper,” says Director of i3 Dr Penny Andrew.  

Patients are also benefitting from Leapfrog innovations including Telehealth, which reduces the time and costs associated with travel to the hospital by connecting patients with a specialist using online video conferencing tools. The technology has been successfully trialled by selected specialties since late 2018 and a wider roll-out is expected.

“We have also trialled iPads on the wards to give patients access to email and the internet whilst in hospital, enabling them to keep in contact with family and work as desired. Feedback was unanimously positive because the system gives patients more control and a sense of ‘ordinary’ life while they are in hospital,” says Dr Andrew.

Waitematā DHB CEO Dr Dale Bramley says the CIO Award is a wonderful way to recognise innovation delivered by the Leapfrog team across the DHB within a short period of time. He also acknowledges the support of staff, patients and whānau in trialling and adopting new technology.

“It is great to see the rapid implementation of new ideas such as Telehealth, eVitals and ePrescribing being embraced by our workforce and benefitting so many of our patients. Everything, from clinical tools through to digital post systems, and the success of these programmes is testament to how well supported they are by everyone,” says Dr Bramley.

“Everything that is designed and developed within i3 and implemented through the Leapfrog programme is clinically-led and designed around our people and the patients we care for. We have people at the heart of every innovation and look forward to developing more sustainable, effective and exciting solutions in the future,” says Dr Bramley.

The Leapfrog team is currently working on the roll-out of electronic progress notes to document patient recovery across the DHB and design work in preparation for the Elective Capacity and Inpatient Building at North Shore Hospital.  

The Leapfrog programme has also been recognised internationally. Last month, Leapfrog team members were invited to Texas where they presented at a conference focused on the transformation of patient care.



Posted by

Anna Arrol

Administration Assistant

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