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Karisma at the National Referral Hospital, Honiara

For Kestral, not every project we undertake is about servicing the needs of our customers or even about expanding our business. From time to time, the work we do is defined more by its benefit to the wider community. Nowhere has this been more evident than a recent Karisma installation in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Honiara is the capital city of the Solomon Islands, on the coast of Guadalcanal Island. With a population of roughly 65,000 people, Honiara is home to the majority of major government buildings and institutions of the Solomon Islands.

One such institution is the National Referral Hospital (NRH) where Karisma is now live for the first time in a Melanesian country. Karisma is, in fact, the first RIS running in any Melanesian pacific nation and will have a wide impact on patient care in the region and at the hospital.

National Referral Hospital, Honiara
National Referral Hospital, Honiara, Solomon Islands

The Karisma project in Honiara began in August 2013 with the first, very hot and humid site visit. The tropical paradise of the island’s natural landscape was in contrast to the realities of a project for a developing nation. The resources and technology available are very different to Kestral’s usual experience in Australia and New Zealand.

The 400 bed hospital was built in the 1960s and has served the community ever since. Apart from the standalone PACS and Karisma, there are no other Medical IT systems within the hospital. Karisma is the first genuine database capturing clinical data on patients for the entire country. This milestone has provided the stepping stone needed in Radiology for NRH to implement Mammography later this year, and Computer Tomography thereafter.

On go live day at NRH, 94 patients were processed – a typical Monday for any site. The staff at NRH were on hand and all pitched in to deal with the volume. Project Leader Dominic from our Kestral Support team explains he was impressed with the culture of the site, which had been manual just a few days earlier, and the way the staff took the changes in their stride.

Dominic believes the greatest strength of the island community is in its people, who are resourceful and make the most of life with what is available.

“On the second day, there were 99 patients processed and things were even calmer than the day before. During the daily debrief, the staff were pleasantly surprised that the numbers were roughly the same both days, because they felt the second day was easy for them. The jump from the book to the monitor can be challenging. They really operate as a team”.

At the official launch, a demonstration was conducted for the NRH CEO and assembled department heads - one of whom commented that ‘for 20 years I’ve wanted unique patient identifiers and now we finally have them’. This simple yet vital data record allows wards to lookup patient records. As PACS viewing stations were also installed during the project, the Wards can now view images and reports electronically and no longer rely on film or paper.

In the local newspaper, the Solomon Star News, NRH Director of Medical Imaging, Dr Aaron Oritaimae said “…the new system [Karisma] will help boost hospital service and reduce waiting time for patients”. He added it would “…also allow storage of reliable data of patients”.

Kestral is proud of Dr Oritaimae’s endorsement and we are certain that the doctors on the wards will find the same benefit from not having to work from paper reports and will quickly adapt to the practice of accessing them electronically.

Kestral is delighted to provide the NRH with Karisma, which has the potential to drive so much change in many different ways. We believe this is a great success story for both the hospital and Kestral and will make a valuable difference to clinical practice and the management of patients at NRH. The impact of a properly integrated RIS/PACS solution will permanently change healthcare for the better at NRH.