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 Monday, April 09, 2012

With a staff of approximately 6000, Barwon Health is one of the largest and most comprehensive regional health services in the Australian State of Victoria. Having successfully reduced the elective surgery waiting list, improved Emergency Department wait times and finished last year with a budget surplus, last November Barwon Health was named “regional health service of the year”.

According to CIO Ann Larkins, Barwon Health’s ehealth journey began around 2005, the success of which she ascribes to their strategy of agile development, “our approach has been about incremental developments rather than a big bang”.

Having started with a basic system that provided pathology results online, this has been gradually developed in stages to now provide everything offered by the larger ehealth software providers including digital medical records, medications management, electronic messaging to GPs via Health Level Seven. “It has become a complete one stop shop clinical system” says Larkins, “not too dissimilar to some of your bigger companies … the product that we are using has evolved from a much smaller base but with much more of our input into it along the way”.

The benefit of this development methodology is that, “it is a much more agile way to respond to the requests of clinicians whereas some of the less responsive big companies find that difficult and challenging. We’ve achieved a lot in a small time with small agile developments”.

This has allowed for department specific systems be either integrated with or developed within the main clinical system. “We respect the needs of different departments to have their own system where there is need for them, but where there’s functionality already existing we pull them into the core”.

(Source: FutureGov)
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