NSW Health Pathology is overseeing COVID-19 testing clinics in Australia. However, when it comes to a pandemic like COVID-19, waiting for 72 hours to receive results can take a heavy toll on the patients in terms of anxiety and self-isolation. Therefore, eHealth NSW has partnered with Microsoft Azure to reduce the waiting time for COVID tests. Under the new system, NSW will deploy rapid COVID-19 testing kits that will allow patients to use 4G connectivity and the upload data using Azure cloud. The process makes the 35 portable points connected to one another in real-time despite their location.
This ground-breaking initiative will use artificial intelligence and cloud technology to provide the testing capability for priority patients within three hours for a faster diagnosis. This comes in handy for rural and remote regions as it allows faster treatment after rapid diagnosis.
The scale of testing encompasses around 200 locations with more than 680 point of care test devices deployed in NSW. Multiple other Microsoft services, including IoT, Event Hub, Azure Databricks, Azure CosmosDB, Dynamic 365, and Power BI are also being used by NSW Health Pathology to provide quick and reliable results. NSW has already been involved in leveraging machine learning to provide predictions based on their trials in Blacktown and Westmead Hospitals in the past.
With the new rapid testing system, the healthcare staff have avoided over 300,000 hours of calls to patients, reducing the wait times for the patients. For instance, Sepsis can be fatal unless diagnosed and treated earlier, the NSW Health Clinical Excellence Commission provide clinicians with an algorithm to detect sepsis in patients in the early stages. The algorithm takes data from multiple sources and predicts early warning for sepsis. The collaboration with Microsoft Azure also allows NSW to send SMS messages to the patients and their residents if the results come back negative, vastly reducing the time normally taken for test results to be delivered.
According to NSW Health Pathology CIO James Patterson, “I think with remote monitoring and remote testing you can start to change service models so you can have self-service in communities. That’s how you’re improving the quality of care, not just the availability of care. The whole volume of our COVID-19 tests is now visible through that secure Power BI platform, covering around 1.7 million patients as at October 2020”