Report from South Island Nursing Information Technology Symposium

Held in Chateau on the Park Christchurch.

The theme of the symposium was Nursing Information Technology with a focus on sharing development and demonstrating the available and upcoming technologies that nurses and associated professionals are working with or will be in the future. Speakers were drawn from a national pool.

The morning sessions were mainly presented by vendors, which was excellent. What they had to say was interesting but from my perspective, they had, had to take a step back and consider nurses as major players now, in this circle of technology use. National Health IT Cluster (Dougal McKechnie) identified that NZ is top in the use of IT in health , with Canada being at the bottom. A surprising statistic. His main message was, how important the partnership with the consumer was – not letting technology get in the way. Microsoft ( Peter Haigh ) identified that his firm was focusing on higher quality outcomes, better access and lower cost. The Assistant Privacy Commissioner (Katrine Evans) presentation centered on trust was essential. How easy it was to actually get privacy  right. “The right person, right information, right environment etc”. If you followed the five rights you would achieve privacy for the patient and retain their trust.

Chiptech (Jonathon Sibbles) presented in the afternoon on Telemonitoring (Home monitoring) They hold bracelets which alert ambulances who then ring or visit and give advice. Bed sensors, door sensors, Fall detectors and wandering from property sensors. They are also developing a disc which holds medication and rings if medication not taken. (Great developments!)

Sue Wood, who holds a position on the National Health IT Board spoke about the National Health IT plan. Her main message was ”Nurses must be at the decision making table when new IT projects are being developed. Nurses will be using the equipment so may see the equipment needed from a different perspective.”  I agree with this statement completely but would add that nurses must be informed so they speak with confidence, therefore education around Informatics must be provided.

Jodie Healey from SDHB presented MedChart, the electronic Prescribing and Administration system used at Southern DHB. She was a skillful presenter showing slides of old written prescriptions followed by the very clear and easily read electronic versions. How easy to see how mistakes had lessened.

Anil Thapliyal, spoke about the Agility TRx .Community Healthcare workforce Mobility application. This is the application in Gore where district nurses use tablets to carry their data. It was time efficient for both nurses and patients, all appointments were in the nurses diary so at the start of the day the nurse knew the workload, cost effective re travel time, appointments were able to be made when in the patient’s house so there did not need to be cancellations  and information was able to be shared with another nurse if needed (privacy checks were included)An administrator is able to access some of the information. He described a situation where a nurse was urgently called away by a family situation, so the manager, looked at the workload and then emailed a colleague resulting in all patients still being visited that day. (Really liked this idea. It is on the Gore health website)

Julie Lucas CNM Emergency and OPD WCDHB, spoke about barriers to telehealth:

  • Technology itself and staff not understanding how to use it.
  • Our own minds
  • Time and workloads.

Karen Betony CNE Nurse Maude, speaking on documenting care in an Electronic Record,  also identified barriers

  • Staff thought it would be time consuming (and it can be until process is known)
  • Computer Illiteracy
  • Fear of change
  • Professional protection
  • Cost.

Jane O’Malley Chief Nurse closed the day. Saying how valuable the day had been and where to from here for nurses? Should there be another symposium? It was decided that the leaders in nursing would discuss the way to move forward.

I would like to thank Sue Hayward and Cheryl Atherfold for the support they gave me to attend. It was extremely valuable. However, while I wait for the national decision, I would like to see WaikatoDHB (Nursing) moving forward immediately. Maybe the Directorate could draw up a plan as to how this could happen and then as soon as possible, a person be appointed to develop the education plan needed. This could include the telehealth page which may provide information on informatics. It could include tools and articles, to ensure that nursing staff are well supported and are confident to sit at the decisionmaking table when discussions are being held. This forward thinking will also prepare nurses to be confident when involved in ITC projects. My thanks also to Kate Yeo, CND Rural and Community for her companionship on this trip. A wise and well informed informatician.



• Exec HINZ (Health informatics NZ)

• NZ Telehealth Forum

• HISO (Health information Standards organisation ) rep HINZ

• HIGEAG (Health Information Governance Expert Advisory Group) rep NZNO and College of Nurses Telehealth Time allowance at WaikatoDHB

• Facilitate a Telehealth Users group at WaikatoDHB

• Chair a telehealth group at WINTEC for other health professionals.



• E-Health

• National Health IT plan

• Privacy and Security

• Telehealth

• Telemonitoring

• Social Media – safety and effective use

• E-health

• “The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health”


Examples of the use of IT include treating patients, conducting research, educating the health workforce, tracking diseases and monitoring public health.



• Shared Care Records

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