Healthpoint innovation delivers Emergency Planning tool to GPs

Health service information aggregator Healthpoint works with GPs and Northern DHB Support Agency (NDSA) to provide an electronic emergency management planning system.

Auckland, New Zealand, 28 June 2011 - Leading health service information and technology provider, Healthpoint has successfully developed and begun implementing an emergency planning tool for GP practices in the Auckland and Northland regions.

"The planning process assists general practices to better prepare for, respond to and recover
from the effects of events which threaten their ability to continue to care for patients. Recent natural disasters here such as the earthquakes in Canterbury, the tornadoes in Auckland and Taranaki and flooding in various parts of the country, have once again highlighted how important it is to have plans and systems in place when disaster strikes. Nowhere is this more important than in the health sector," NDSA (Northern Region District Health Boards Support Agency) Emergency Planning Manager Andy Wisheart says.

Healthpoint was engaged by NDSA mid-2010 and currently 130 practices have commenced their emergency planning on its platform. The goal is that all practices in the regions will use this platform and therefore have comprehensive plans by the end of this year. This is a direct result of Healthpoint's previous success working with GPs, DHBs and specialists on a number of projects.

Medical Director for Procare one of the country's biggest Primary Health Organisations (PHO), John Cameron, says "It is essential for GPs given recent events to undertake emergency planning to ensure the safety of their patients and practice. This is a real step forward for primary care planning as it is an easy to use tool that the wide range of GP practices can utilise."

Dale Shepherd, Practice Manager, Pakuranga Medical Centre says It does take time
but when you get into it you can very quickly see the advantages of having a well thought out plan.

"The team has put together an extremely comprehensive 'list' of things that need to be
covered and include lots of helpful prompts, text and examples of what you need to put in your plan. It covered things I wouldn't have ever thought necessary but when you see it in its entire context you realise that level of preparation for the smallest and biggest of emergencies is crucial.

"This tool ensures that all the information you have stored in folders, notebooks, on pieces of paper and in your head is put into one place where everyone can access it in a methodical manner – something we all need in an emergency when we have so much to think about!" Dale Shepherd says.

"Healthpoint currently works with five of the country's biggest district health boards to provide
information on 340 hospital clinical services. They can do this simply and cost-effectively using Healthpoint and the reasons for this are our team is small, tech savvy, nimble and flexible and able to move quickly to support services to keep up to date crucial health information. We can deliver an essential service far more easily and economically that would otherwise take DHBs and specialists a great deal of time and money – money able to be returned to frontline health instead," Healthpoint's' Managing Director Kate Rhind says.

Latest monthly website statistics show 100,000 visitors viewing 415,000 pages. There
are more than 2000 GPs or GP practices linking in to the secure section of Healthpoint to access the latest District health Board referral and clinical information.


The on-line tool is a series of planning templates. It contains planning information that is likely to be common to all practices (which can be edited) and it prompts practices to fill in information which is specific to the GP practice. The plan is divided into sections

  • Setting up your plan and the team
  • Business Continuity Plan – These are concerned with the risk identification and
    contingency planning in the event that the practice is disrupted by the
    loss of essential services or resources
  • Major Incident Plan – These templates link into the structure for a sector wide
    response to major health emergencies.

The on-line plans are available for the practices to work on through a secure login on the Healthpoint website. They are designed to be printed out in hard copy form to be held in the GP
practices and at an allocated offsite premise or premises.

During a declared major incident the PHOs would be responsible for workforce management. A database of staff details is constructed from the information entered into the online tool.

All other planning information for a primary care practice is kept secure.

Includes arrangements for:

  • Moving to temporary facility
  • Access to supplies and pharmaceuticals
  • Protection of clinical records, personal information and business transactions
  • Continuation of Payroll
  • Protection of medical and business equipment
  • Ensuring staff are aware of emergency procedures, are trained and regularly updated
  • Maintaining an up-to-date contact list of local emergency services
  • Testing back-up and warning systems.

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