NS automates reporting of negative COVID results
August 12, 2020
HALIFAX – When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the province of Nova Scotia, leaders recognized that contacting patients with their test results would be a challenge. As testing ramped up, more than 60 Nova Scotia Health staff members were responsible for delivering test results to more than 40,000 Nova Scotians by phone. Most results were given within a 48- to 72-hour timeframe – a pace that could potentially overwhelm staff.
Leaders at Nova Scotia Health, a Lyniate customer that uses Corepoint Integration Engine, began considering ways to notify patients with negative test results via email to save time. Patients whose test results came back positive would get a phone call from a provider.
Nova Scotia Health leaders considered several different solutions, including a mobile app that would have been expensive and time-consuming to implement. So they asked Lyniate (lyniate.com) for assistance.
“We let them know Corepoint could identify all patients that had an email address from their registration system, match that email to the visit ID the patient had in common with the LIS (which could not store an email address), and could then send us results,” said Alex Lin, team lead, professional services North America.
Corepoint powers the back-end solution by combining data from the two different systems and identifying which patients the email notifications should go to. The email notification includes a link to a webpage, managed by Nova Scotia Health, where patients can view their results.
Here’s how the process works:
- When someone registers at a Nova Scotia primary assessment centre for COVID-19 testing, they’re asked if they would like to provide their email address.
- Corepoint checks the registration system for valid health card numbers, emails, and visit IDs, and stores the information in a database.
- Corepoint also checks Nova Scotia Health’s Lab Information System (LIS) for negative COVID-19 test results and matches this data against the registration system.
- Corepoint then generates a file containing the data required to notify the patient about their result.
- Corepoint also alerts the Nova Scotia Health team if files have not been picked up after five minutes, ensuring that customer notifications are quick and effective.
Once the patient receives an email, they can click on the link provided to access the webpage and review their COVID-19 results.
The webpage also contains other information to help the patient understand what they need to do next and what options they have available.
All positive results for COVID-19 are delivered by phone because of the sensitivity of the situation and the need to act urgently on positive test results.
The solution went live in June 2020, and Nova Scotia Health plans to expand its usage in case there is a second wave of COVID-19 in the area. In the two months since the solution was implemented, Nova Scotia Health has sent out 10,564 emails, of which 8,310 have been accessed by the patient. As of late July 2020, there are two active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Estimating that each phone call or voicemail to deliver a negative test result would take two to three minutes, the new solution has saved staff between 350 and 530 hours over two months.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who worked on this project from its inception,” said Karen Drakes (pictured), project manager at Nova Scotia Health’s Information Management & Technology team, while adding that “The ingenuity and collaboration of everyone involved is what fired this initiative to get it to the finish line.”
About Nova Scotia Health
Nova Scotia Health provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. They operate hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Their team of health professionals includes employees, physicians, researchers, learners and volunteers. They also work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards. For more information visit nshealth.ca.