InterSystems, a creative data technology provider dedicated to helping customers solve the most critical scalability, interoperability, and speed problems, has responded to requests from five Australian clinical laboratories gearing up to deal with COVID-19, including St Vincent’s Pathology Service, Austech Medical Laboratories, and Goulburn Valley Health Pathology.
All five laboratories ordered PCR analyser machines – normally used to test for viruses like influenza – to increase their COVID-19 testing capacity and deal with the current crisis. Each of the labs asked InterSystems to provide customised digital interfaces to their InterSystems TrakCare laboratory information systems. The interfaces were delivered in 24-48 hours and before the new machines arrived.
The TrakCare interfaces reduce data entry and ensure that each laboratory’s testing rules and protocols are followed. They also enable test results to be available immediately once completed by delivering them electronically to clinicians. By integrating the new tests within each of the laboratory’s normal workflows, turnaround times can be kept to a minimum, improving the responsiveness of the healthcare system in dealing with the coronavirus.
“We were prepared in early February for higher testing volumes. This included the procurement of a rapid PCR analyser which will provide our Emergency Department with a one-hour turnaround time for patients presenting with suspected COVID-19,” said Greg Granger, Chief of Operations of St Vincent’s Pathology Service (SydPath) in Sydney. “InterSystems delivered an interface for the new machine within one day, an extraordinary result, bringing the instrument online as soon as it came through the door.”
“We went from doing zero to 500 tests per day, with a same day turnaround time, in the space of a couple of days,” said Nadeem Khaliq, Managing Director of Austech Medical Laboratories, which caters to clinicians from all over the greater Sydney region. “We ordered the machine, requested the interface from InterSystems, and it was delivered within a couple of hours. The machine came within two days. The responsiveness of InterSystems was fantastic and was part of a great team effort.” Mohsen Bilal, head of Austech’s PCR section, is directly involved in the testing for COVID-19. According to Bilal, the interface provided by InterSystems has decreased result entry turnaround time and has proven to be an accurate and reliable method that allows the test results to be instantly accessible to the clinicians.
Austech Medical Laboratories is finalising a specialised PCR Laboratory to accommodate two new PCR analysers, expected in a week’s time, to cater for even higher volumes and shorter turnaround times. “This will increase our capacity to provide services that ease the pressure on public hospitals, other laboratories, and nursing homes with vulnerable elderly patients,” said Khaliq. “It will also allow us to dedicate more resources to non-English speaking individuals in the community who require extra assistance, including home visits for patients who are unable to attend a doctors surgery or medical centre.”
Doing COVID-19 tests in-house, rather than referring them to labs two and a half hours away in Melbourne, will improve turnaround times, according to Jeremy Fowler, Information Systems Officer for Goulburn Valley Health in regional Victoria. “I opened the support ticket mid-morning and we had the interface from InterSystems in the test system by that afternoon,” said Fowler. “It is certainly going to make a big difference in the lab. The scientists can do their jobs rather than entering test details and transcribing results from the instrument.”
“We are humbled by the efforts of our customers doing a tremendous job in the front line of the fight against COVID-19,” said Luciano Brustia, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific at InterSystems. “InterSystems is proud to be helping SydPath, Austech Medical Laboratories, Goulburn Valley Health Pathology and other clinical laboratories, and we will continue making additional resources available to customers dealing with the pandemic.”
InterSystems was able to turn around the requests quickly because of its strong expertise in providing interoperability solutions to healthcare organisations globally. Digital interfaces between different healthcare information systems and devices are a core component of the InterSystems IRIS for Health healthcare data platform on which most of the company’s products are built.
Interoperability capabilities are built into both the InterSystems HealthShare unified health record and the InterSystems TrakCare healthcare information system. TrakCare’s laboratory functionality is available within the unified system and as a standalone solution and is widely deployed throughout the world and regionally within Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and China.
In February InterSystems provided functionality for customers around the world to screen for COVID-19 and manage infected patients within the latest edition of the TrakCare. InterSystems has also taken steps to protect the health and well-being of employees to ensure it can continue to provide customers with the support they need.