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eGrowth charts considered a success for NZ's Northern region

Digital growth charts used in healthcare organisations in the Northern Region of New Zealand has been dubbed a success.

More than 200,000 eGrowth Charts have been created since the Northern Region DHBs and their shared ICT services partner healthAlliance rolled out the initiative.

Auckland DHB was the first to go live in September last year, followed by Waitemata DHB, Counties Manukau Health and more recently Northland DHB.

Traditionally paediatricians, nurses, midwives, dieticians and other health professionals would have their own handwritten charts or would use older electronic charts that were not widely available.

Eclair’s eGrowth Charts has replaced this paper-based charting system, allowing clinicians to electronically capture and record growth data and parameters for a range of patient scenarios, for instance monitoring of preterm infants.

Digitising this data has resulted in increased consistency and accuracy of values and provided automatic calculations of key indicators such as BMI, height velocity and z-Scores. The precise graphics also help clinicians, patients and families visualise and more easily understand the information presented, according to the company.

Starship Child Health Paediatrician Greg Williams says the new eGrowth charts have been ‘a huge technological leap forward’ in monitoring the growth of patients.

He says, "They are easy to access and use, are available across the hospital and community care team, and are now regional.”

Williams says, “The proof is in the uptake - we are using Eclair eGrowth charts way more than the previous versions, and this is providing us with much better information to support clinical care.”

healthAlliance chief clinical information officer Karl Cole says the main advantage of eGrowth Charts is the integration of patient records.

Cole says, "This means all four Northern DHBs can now see the same, up-to-date data wherever the patient goes.”

Primary care clinicians can view the eGrowth charts for their patients via TestSafe, the region's clinical data repository system for laboratory and radiology results and reports, medications, discharge summaries, clinical documents and other patient data.

eGrowth charts can also convert the chart to PDF format for printing so that copies can be given to patients and their families or emailed to other healthcare providers, the company says.