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NSW Health is looking to introduce a new platform that will provide parents with electronic reminders for when their child is due for their next routine health check, including childhood vaccinations.

The feature would be off the back of the government agency standing up its vaccination administration management (VAM) system in June to initially help manage the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

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The VAM system, developed in partnership with ServiceNow using the Now platform, is a single platform designed to manage all stages of the COVID-19 vaccination process — from vaccination booking, administration, to delivery. It also records clinical information, manages clinical workflows, and links in with the federal government’s Australian Immunisation Register.

“We needed a platform that was able to not only be scalable, but also very configurable and flexible, so that we could deal with rapid changes and shifts in the eligibility criteria around things like age or different professional groups or even different local government areas in New South Wales that needed more attention because of the COVID outbreaks,” NSW Health CIO and eHealth NSW chief executive Dr Zoran Bolevich said, speaking as part of the virtual ServiceNow 2021 event.

Since the system has been established, more than 400 NSW Health sites, including hospitals such as Liverpool, Royal North Shore and St Vincent’s, and the mass vaccination centres in Hunter New England, South Western Sydney, the Qudos Bank Arena, and Wollongong, use VAM.

As a result, nearly 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccination appointments bookings have been made and more than 1.2 million vaccine doses have been delivered through the platform.

“What they are seeing is a huge acceleration of the program as our supply issues, especially with Pfizer, are getting addressed and the supply is increasing. We expect that the pace will continue to accelerate,” Bolevich said.

The platform has also enabled NSW Health to run targeted vaccination campaigns for certain industries such as childcare workers, teachers, and healthcare workers.

“We were able to provide those individuals with their own unique booking code in a very safe and secure way, which then enables them to take advantage of special capacity that has been made available to priority clinics, so that we can target those populations, which is very important for our public health response,” Bolevich added.

Alongside helping parents manage their child’s healthcare, Bolevich said the agency is looking to use the platform as part of its patient-reported measures program, where NSW Health will be able to systematically collect and measure in near real-time patient care experience and the outcome of that care.

“We’re using structured survey instruments to capture that information and we’re using Now platform as a workflow engine, enabling us to engage with consumers,” he said.

“Then, how is that information they make available to clinicians in their workflow, so that they can take that information into account when they’re designing treatment plans and when they’re adjusting treatment for their patients.

“We’re also using that information to get a plan and to understand whether the interventions we are investing in, as a health system, has been delivering value; it’s all about pivoting towards a value-based healthcare.”

Another area NSW Health is focused on is looking to improve its specialist outpatient services by developing an electronic referral management solution.

“In Australia, typically, patients will be seeing their primary healthcare physician or general practitioner as we call them here, who will then refer patients to a specialist,” Bolevich said.

“These processes are still somewhat paper-based, and we’re trying to digitise them and turn these referrals into an electronic workflow and have that managed in a safe, faster, more effective way.”

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