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SWARH and Barwon Health first to deploy 'healthy data strategy' in Aus

By Catherine Knowles, 28 Jul 2021

InterSystems has announced that South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) and Barwon Health in South West Victoria in Australia are implementing their digital innovation strategy with InterSystems IRIS for Health, the data platform designed to extract value from healthcare data.

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

Barwon Health's facilities include University Hospital Geelong and community health centres in and around Geelong and the South Coast.

Currently, 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.

With IRIS for Health, 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, the company states.

The organisations plan to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience, and optimise the use of resources through the digital initiative.

IRIS for Health will also future proof the organisation's interoperability and healthcare device integration capabilities.

This includes API Management capabilities and support for emerging healthcare data standards such as 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 the consistency and reliability of healthcare information, and enable greater use of ML.

According to InterSystems, ML is revolutionising the extraction of value from data and, as the custodian of valuable healthcare data, SWARH recognises that it can use it to improve patient outcomes and experience.

One example being explored is to identify in real time which facility is likely to provide the best outcome for a particular patient.

A ML algorithm could then inform decisions about where to send a patient being transported by air ambulance, for example.

IRIS for Health already provides the database and interoperability technology underlying SWARHs InterSystems TrakCare healthcare information system and its data will also be available for analysis.

In addition, IRIS for Health will enable 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.

SWARH CIO Andrew MacFarlane says, “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.

"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.”

InterSystems country manager Australia and New Zealand Darren Jones says, “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.

"We congratulate SWARH and Barwon Health on becoming the first healthcare providers to deploy a healthy data strategy in Australia.”

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