The Medinz communication platform played an important role in keeping people and communities in New Zealand’s largest city safe during a measles outbreak.
In 2019, Auckland experienced an outbreak of measles. With a relatively young population, including vulnerable communities living in close proximity in parts of the city, the situation was serious. There were 1100 diagnosed cases that sparked a run on the MMR vaccine.
Medinz was used by Auckland’s three District Health Boards as the primary communications platform to inform general practices, urgent care centres and pharmacies about vaccine stocks. The critical message reached at least one contact person in each organisation.
Medinz keeps people and communities safer
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service and the DHBs knew they needed to get accurate, clinically relevant information to primary health practitioners quickly, to manage the spread. They also knew the epidemic, and the clinical guidance needed to manage it, would change regularly.
The health agencies turned to Medinz to communicate directly with primary care providers across the Auckland region.
The Medinz implementation was driven by a steering group which included the:
1. Clinical Director of Primary Care, Northern Region Health Control Centre
2. Head of Emergency Management and Response Northern Region
3. A DHB Chief Information Officer
4. Communications Directors at the DHBs
5. Clinical Lead and Communications Director for regional public health
6. Clinical Lead for Community Laboratories
7. Primary Care GP and Nurse Liaisons
From 8th April to 20th November 2019 Medinz delivered:
- 30 measles-related messages, 23 of them urgent.
- To approximately 2,900 practitioners.
- Transparency of message distribution available in real-time to publishers.
- Updates on confirmed new cases.
- New procedures for managing the outbreak.
- New vaccination guidelines.
- Where to send patients for community vaccination clinics.
Medinz’ two-way communications tools also proved valuable in managing vaccine stocks. As concerned Aucklanders flocked to clinics to be vaccinated, the region’s stocks of the MMR vaccine began running low.
On 10 September 2019, an Auckland Primary Health Organisation (PHO) used Medinz to successfully contact practices asking them to urgently advise of their practice MMR stock levels.
According to regional primary care emergency planner and GP Dr John Cameron, in this moment, the communications tool proved its worth. “The message went out at about 8am and by 11 that morning, the full breakdown of where our MMR stocks across the greater Auckland metropolitan area were known. I’m exceptionally pleased,” says Dr Cameron, who is chair of the Auckland Metro Primary Emergency Preparedness Service Level Alliance Team.
“The message went out at about 8am and by 11 that morning, the full breakdown of where our MMR stocks across the greater Auckland metropolitan area were known,”Dr John Cameron – NZ Doctor, 1st October 2019.
With this information to hand, the PHO and Auckland’s DHBs then prioritised the region’s MMR supplies to ensure they reached target populations. Then they used Medinz again to update practitioners on the changing vaccination protocols.
From 8th April to 20th November 2019:
- 30 messages, 23 urgent.
- Approximately 2,900 practitioners.
Your toolkit for safer communities
During the measles epidemic, Medinz supported Auckland’s public health response by keeping communities safer and improving treatment. It did this by delivering: