We’re on to a winner with SWIFT

Posted by Geraint Martin on 11 December 2014 |

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Geraint Martin

SWIFTI’ve blogged a fair bit this year about Project SWIFT (System Wide Integration For Transformation), which reflects not only my own excitement about the potential this project offers, but also its importance to Counties Manukau Health as an organisation.

There is no doubt that we need to change. We’re great at looking after people when they’re sick but we can be more efficient, and do more to help people stay well.

We need a solid IT core underpinning everything we do, and there is some urgency to this. If we want to continue to balance the books in the years to come we have to start now on the things that will help us address demand for our services.

The Board has endorsed IBM as our strategic change partner and I would like to acknowledge all the hard work that they and the Counties team have done in the past six months to define our challenges, with your help and come up with solutions.

As the Christmas party season gears up the team is still working hard to lay out detailed plans for future improvement.


We’re now one step further down the road towards transforming our services, as the Board endorsed 11 strategic initiatives focused on care in the community and improving hospital systems, all supported by improvements in technology.

For most of you the exciting bit for now won’t be the detailed designs that start now on how to deliver improvements, or the pilot programme that will look at enhancing general practice, but the things that can be improved right now to address some of the frustrations we experience in the hospital from day-to-day.

These quick wins focus on three areas: system stability, which is about making programmes like Electronic Discharge Summary (EDS) and Concerto reliable and robust and rolling out wifi for patients and staff; mobility tools for the mobile workforce; and assessing the shared care plan programme and looking at how we can encourage greater uptake by care providers and patients.

There is some really great potential here for addressing some core problems. As Sarah Thirlwall, Stuart Barnard and Janet Gibson outlined in their recent Team Counties blog, Concerto and EDS are two of the most commonly used systems in the hospital, and when something that should be quick and easy takes minutes or longer, or crashes and needs restarting – well, it doesn’t make your job easy.

Wifi will be rolled out in the next few months, starting with areas that are already enabled and continuing as new areas come online. Since one in two people in our community has a smartphone, that little piece of technology has the potential to drive some real improvements in health if we can tap into apps that support wellness at home and care in the hospital.

Leading on from having wifi available, the next quick win is about tools for staff that allow them to access information on the go. Community nurses obviously spend a lot of time out and about with patients, and to have tools they can use for accessing and recording patient information will be a huge benefit for them and other teams in the future.

Improved use of shared care records is the first step to making sure our care for patients with multiple diseases or complex long-term conditions is coordinated and provided in a way that allows them to take control of their health and make good decisions.

Shared Care is a regional project and supports our At Risk Individuals programme. Nearly 3600 patients are enrolled right now, and there are many more who could benefit from having a care plan set up that includes a patient portal, wellness objectives – or rather objectives that relate to how a person wants to live their life – and establishing a care team including GPs, nurses and specialists.

As the SWIFT programme rolls out over the next four years, there will be more developments in these areas.

If you work at CM Health, there is a lot of information on the Project SWIFT page of SouthNET about the 11 strategic initiatives that are being progressed, alongside the quick wins. I encourage you to have a read.

If you have any questions about Project SWIFT or would like to find out more information send us an email at: ProjectSwift@countiesmanukau.health.nz

Geraint