Volunteers at the ‘Heart’ of CM Health

Our volunteers do a wonderful job, and it was great to see this acknowledged during National Volunteer Week (21-27 June).  To top off the week, our Manukau SuperClinic (MSC) volunteers were runner-ups at the 2015 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  Presenting the Award for ‘Health care provider service volunteer team’ was Associate Health Minister Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “This award shows what people can do when they work together,” said Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “You are indeed the face behind great customer service.”

While it was great for our MSC volunteers to be recognised, all of our volunteers at CM Health offer their time generously to help patients and visitors throughout our various sites.  Being the first face, our visitors see as they come through the doors, a warm welcome, and a smile from a volunteer does wonders for a person, who may be vulnerable, anxious or unsure where to go.

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Recognising our hard working House Officers

Dr Neil Stewart

Dr Neil Stewart

Each month a House Officer is nominated by members of the clinical and wider multidisciplinary team for the prestigious title of ‘House Officer of the Month’.  It’s an award that has grown in popularity since it first started in 2011, bringing with it a sense of a ‘job well done’ for the doctors who are nominated.  Last month (May) Dr Neil Stewart received the Award, after being nominated by his colleagues during his General Medicine rotation on Tiitoki team.  Words like committed, hardworking, dedicated, professional and friendly were just some of the comments people shared.  One person said, “We need more doctors like him.”

So what does it take to be a House Officer in a busy hospital?  Neil shares his thoughts about why he decided to become a doctor and his passion for the work that he does.

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APAC returns to New Zealand. An explosion of innovative health and healthcare success stories

APACNo doubt you’ve heard of the APAC Forum, managed by Ko Awatea, the centre for health system innovation and improvement at CM Health. Now in its fourth year APAC, is already the third largest healthcare improvement conference in the world.It’s right up there with similar conferences in Europe and the US.  We are certainly not a poor relative!

This year APAC returns to New Zealand. Taking place over three days, 23 to 25 September at Auckland’s SKYCity, the conference will bring some of the biggest names in healthcare improvement to our shores.

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Supporting the Pacific …. with CM Health’s help

IMG_4028Counties Manukau Health has had the privilege of working with countries in the wider Pacific Region since 2002. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) funds CM Health to provide services to a number of Pacific countries, and since our first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Cook Islands in 2002, Samoa, Niue, Fiji and Kiribati have now joined.

I am proud of the work we are doing to help our Pacific cousins develop the services they need to improve health outcomes for their communities.  Instead of assuming we know what’s best for the Pacific people, our approach has been to respond to the need that each Pacific country determines for themselves. Self-determination or tino rangatiratanga as Maaori refer to it will help support sustainable healthcare delivery in the Pacific.

Thank you to Elizabeth Powell, General Manager, Pacific Health Development and the many health professionals, clinicians and colleagues from CM Health and around New Zealand for your contribution to this international effort. Many of our clinicians who work in the Pacific, comment on how much they enjoy the work and how fulfilling it is to work with their Pacific colleagues to support their ambitions to do more for themselves.  This benefits us all.

Today I’m joined by Fepulea’I Margie Apa, who recently returned from Samoa after a brief visit. Margie shares her reflections on the work CM Health is doing in Samoa.

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A community of learning

I recently discovered that Ko Awatea LEARN, the eLearning platform developed by Ko Awatea for Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) recently achieved another milestone – 1200 sessions in the system in one day. With partnerships spanning eight DHBs, this phenomenal number is only matched by the training hours associated with it – at an average of 20 minutes per session.  That’s equal to 400 hours of training a day!  What we have is a healthcare eLearning community that is developing, growing and thriving.

Today I’m joined by Jason Ranston, from Ko Awatea’s Digital Services, who leads the team behind Ko Awatea LEARN.  Jason has been with CM Health for six years and during that time has seen the use of learning technology rapidly develop in CM Health and DHBs across the country.   Jason talks to us about Ko Awatea LEARN, and how it went from a single DHB system to include eight DHBs, in less than two years.

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A breach of privacy

The other day I saw a staff member getting into their car, and putting what looked like a handful of patient notes in the boot. He was probably off to see his patients at a clinic or do a home visit.   This sort of thing is not unusual, especially as we are very much a paper based system and need to take patient notes with us to do our jobs. However, I couldn’t help thinking how accountable we are for keeping the personal and sensitive details of our patients safe when their notes are in our care.   I bring this up as we have dealt with a case where patient information (contained in a notebook) was left in a vehicle, in full view while unattended. To compound matters, the car was broken into, and the notebook discarded along the way. While the notebook was retrieved, the Privacy Commissioner at the outset told CM Health that it had likely breached ‘Rule 5′ of the Health Information Privacy Code. In a nutshell, the Commissioner indicated that in this situation we did not take reasonable safeguards to protect the information contained in the notebook.

So what are reasonable safeguards, when it comes to transporting patients’ health information, for example, between sites?

Today I’m joined by John Hanson our Senior Legal Advisor who talks us through the intricacies of privacy law and how we can safeguard ourselves and our patients against breaches of privacy. If you are a health professional, who sometimes has to take notes off site to do your job, this is an interesting read.

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Posted in Achieving Zero Patient Harm, Patient Perspectives, Patient Safety | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Pushing the accelerator on integrated care

Benedict Hefford, Director of Primary Health and Community Services

Benedict Hefford, Director of Primary Health and Community Services

We are entering a new era in healthcare – one where we re-orientate our health system around primary and community care.   With a growing and ageing population and a rise in chronic and long-term conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, we have a challenge on our hands to integrate services and systems across the health spectrum and empower our healthcare users to keep themselves well and at home – away from unnecessary trips to hospital.

This renewed interest in integrated care has resulted in a number of projects, campaigns and improvement initiatives taking place across Counties Manukau. Each project has a specific goal, but ALL have the needs of the patient and family/whaanau at its core.

Today I’m joined by Benedict Hefford, Director of Primary Health and Community Services to talk about how projects such as ARI (At Risk Individuals) are starting to make a real difference to the lives of people living with one or more long-term conditions and other risk factors such as inadequate housing or low health literacy. As Benedict will explain people in this group are at greater risk of poor health outcomes, including unplanned trips to hospital, and they use a disproportionate amount of healthcare services.

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Posted in A Whole of Systems Approach, At Risk Individuals, Health Literacy, Health Targets, Healthy Living, Ko Awatea, Localities, Primary Care, Project Swift, Rheumatic Fever, Saving 20,000 Bed Days | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment