NSW Health Pathology, an interview with the CIO

Operating over 60 laboratories with almost 200 pathology collection services in community health facilities and NSW public hospitals, over 4,000 staff is employed and over 61 million tests are yearly conducted by NSW Health Pathology. It is one of Australia’s largest public pathology providers and requires a massive clinical and non-clinical IT infrastructure.

James Patterson, CIO of NSW Health Pathology gave an email interview to HealthcareIT News and talked about the recent (PoCT) Point of Care Testing project.

When he was asked about his role as CIO he answered that he was responsible for both clinical and non-clinical systems. He added that they generated over 285 million test results from 2018-18.

When asked about their partnership with Microsoft and eHealth NSW on a first-of-its-kind point of care testing Patterson responded that their PoCT model allowed rapid testing right next to the patient. They developed a Cloud/IoT solution by partnering with Microsoft, Siemens, Intel and Dius which allowed PoCT to be carried out nearly anywhere ensuring the safe transmit of the results to their core clinical systems.

They partnered with eHealth NSW to be able to connect with other near-patient medical devices to acquire data rapidly without transcription.

When asked to comment on a statement made by a former Medical CIO in the US, Dr. John Halamka that the modern CIO procured services, mostly from cloud providers, on basis of business requirements, Patterson agreed and added that CIOs needed to work with clinical groups for procurement of technology and that ICT needed to drive standardization of data.

When asked about his work in providing patient-centric care Paterson responded that their patients’ needs and comfort were their top priority.

When asked about his perspective as a CIO, on telehealth, Patterson responded that everything done in ICT was in alignment with their NSW Health Pathology Strategic Plan and Clinical Services Plan. AI in healthcare was an exciting idea and was being evaluated in overall analytics environment and some clinical settings.

When asked about his thoughts on how the digital health/Health IT was going to change in the next 3-5 years Patterson responded that they were working with analytics, cloud services and IoT for improved services. One of the most significant developments was the wider adoption of standard application program interfaces – especially Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).