Collaborative digital health response to novel coronavirus

13 February 2020

NSW Health has been able to identify and respond to novel coronavirus thanks to the collaboration across the health system to build and rapidly deploy a digital triage tool. This is helping patients and their families to have quicker diagnoses and treatment and bolstering the nation’s efforts to ensure public health safety.

The digital triage tool was built in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Health Officer, clinicians and technical teams in Local Health Districts and released to over 160 NSW Health sites on 24-25 January 2020. Changes were made to the Cerner electronic medical record (eMR) system. Screen shots and key questions were made available to NSW Health sites with non-Cerner eMRs.

eHealth NSW’s Clinical Engagement and Patient Safety Directorate, Service Delivery Directorate and Program Delivery Directorate closely collaborated on the screening tool. Local Health District teams were highly responsive, organising their resources and deploying the eMR changes to trigger the tool for digital triage of suspected coronavirus.

Since its release on 24 January 2020, further modifications have been made to adapt the tool to the evolving situation.

Dr Mark Simpson, eHealth NSW Chief Clinical Information Officer and Executive Director of Clinical Engagement and Patient Safety, said, “This is a superb example of our health system working together to implement an emergency response at pace. Through strong collaboration across the NSW Health system we were able to deploy a digital triage tool which is reinforcing health safety across NSW.”

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