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CIO50 2021 #15: Shayne Tong, Auckland District Health Board

  • Name Shayne Tong
  • Title Chief Digital Officer
  • Company Auckland District Health Board
  • Commenced role February 2017
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 100 staff, seven direct reports
  • As chief digital officer at the Auckland District Health Shayne Tong says the focus for his team is on deploying “fit-for-purpose innovative technologies in pursuit of value creation in highly constrained ecosystems, at pace and scale.”

    COVID-19 and Vaccinations Innovative Health Response

    In March 2020 Tong became Northern Region executive lead for data and digital for the COVID-19 health response (with over 1 million COVID-19 tests conducted) and vaccination rollout to 1.5 million people during 2021 at the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre [NRHCC].

    During 2020 there was a massive acceleration in innovation into the cloud and development of data and digital solutions to manage the COVID-19 health response, with “huge political expectations to deliver at pace and to pivot to meet fluctuating demands.” This involved completely new and standalone green fields IT infrastructure and enablement to establish the NRHCC to enable multiple government agencies to provided services in community testing centres and managed isolation quarantine facilities.

    Expansion of existing IT and cloud infrastructure, and enablement for the Northern Region hospitals and workforce to support virtual consultations, telehealth, theatres, negative pressure rooms, and remote working. This involved network expansion, Citrix expansion, increase on MS Teams licenses and Zoom licenses.

    In addition new MIQ facilities and community testing centres required IT and cloud infrastructure, and enablement with tools, supports services, managed devices, and other Microsoft and cloud technologies.

    A regional cloud data platform was deployed to track and visualise COVID-19 and Vaccination status at a glance. The “trusted” data set in alignment with leading practice data, information and knowledge management practises and future proofing this for possible AI and ML predictive reporting.

    Tong’s team also implemented a regional workforce redeployment solution that digitally manages the re-deployment of staff for the region into NRHCC and MIQ health response. They worked across organisations boundaries and jurisdictions to launch and deliver a pan-region response rapidly to meet stakeholder expectations

    Other deployments by the team in the COVID-19 response have included supporting the National laboratory eOrdering solution to manage the end-to-end management of test results, and leading a northern region vaccination booking system that was required until a national booking was implemented by Ministry of Health (over 400,000 bookings doses of Pfizer), and a cloud northern region vaccination information website.

    3D printing hub

    In addition to the COVID-19 response another innovation deployed by Tong’s team is the 3D printing hub. This gives clinical and non-clinical staff access to 3D printing experts, engineers and designers, helping them improve patients’ lives and hospital environments. There are five 3D printers in the 3D lab and a basic desktop 3D scanner. There are two different areas of 3D printing — 3D printing for innovative and leading practice patient treatment that will positively impact patient treatment and outcome, and 3D printing for equipment replacement and replication which significantly lowers the cost to serve.

    Data science and artificial intelligence projects

    Looking ahead to new projects, the team is evaluation radiology analytics using natural language processing (NLP). That is, using cloud cognitive services to analyse over 1 million anonymised radiology reports to understand patterns of use for critical radiology equipment. This will allow teams to understand efficacy, advise change in clinical practices and provide a view of usage to optimise usage and capacity management.

    Another project underway is around clinical pathway analytics — using process mining tools combined with NLP to improve matching. “We have been experimenting with ADHB event data to understand patient journeys end to end. The work so far has shown promise, and we are looking to enhancing this with NLP, to drive artificial intelligence and machine learning cognitive capabilities that will improve matching performance,” Tong says.

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