SA Health prepares for second COVID wave with NIDS program

Monday, 24 August, 2020

SA Health prepares for second COVID wave with NIDS program

The South Australian Department for Health and Wellbeing (SA Health) has selected InterSystems’ interoperability software to rapidly interface its Notifiable Infectious Disease Surveillance (NIDS) system to a new workflow system, to help prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Integration between the workflow system and NIDS — which receives notifications of infectious disease cases from testing laboratories and maintains a central record — is provided by SA Health’s Health Information Broker (HIB), a state-wide health information exchange based on InterSystems technology. These technologies enable the state to scale up its public health efforts to meet the challenges of a new pandemic.

The HIB support team asked InterSystems to meet a deadline to integrate the Salesforce-based workflow system to get it operational quickly. “We raised a case with InterSystems and within hours were partnered with a contact. InterSystems took an active, altruistic interest in our challenges and invested many long hours in overcoming them at no financial charge or penalty,” said Steve Korossy, Integration Manager for SA Health.

InterSystems completed the integration project within three weeks, illustrating the value of having comprehensive health information management capabilities. Integration between the workflow system and NIDS was complicated by the fact that Salesforce supports a modern RESTful application programming interface (API), but the older NIDS system does not. SA Health turned to the HIB to enable real-time communication between the two systems.

The HIB maintains connections with different healthcare systems across the state, normalising and sharing healthcare data while also providing data integrity checks. Based on InterSystems technology, the HIB also provides the interoperability and rapid development environment needed to build interfaces to new systems and fill functional gaps. The HIB team has previously built interfaces to the federal government’s My Health Record, Royal Adelaide Hospital, BreastScreen SA, Eye Bank of South Australia and Smart Health Cystic Fibrosis systems.

Darren Jones, Regional Director, Customer Relations & Sales at InterSystems, said the company prioritised supporting customers and overcoming any technology challenges it faced during the COVID-19 crisis. “We are proud to have played a part in boosting that preparedness for a potential second wave or new pandemic,” Jones said.

Darren McGlade, Information Manager at SA Health, said this was one of the most intense projects he had ever worked on and congratulated all involved. “Everyone talks about the second wave and, if it happens, we can ramp up very quickly. If we have an infected cruise ship come in with thousands of passengers, the new system can be used for contact tracing and end-to-end management for all the cases,” McGlade said.

Image credit: © Kneschke

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