News Release

Rapid changes are afoot at Cook Islands largest hospital, as they implement Sysmex’s laboratory information system (LIS), HCLAB, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The laboratory in Rarotonga Hospital is the central hub for diagnostic testing in the Cook Islands. Sysmex has been selected as the successful vendor to modernise their IT systems and is set to implement the LIS to manage for their laboratory workflow.

Douglas Tou, Laboratory Manager at Rarotonga Hospital, shared: “One of the main reasons we wanted to upgrade our IT system was to meet the necessary compliance levels to become an ISO accredited lab, and we saw in Sysmex the opportunity to realise this vision”.

The LIS shall be in place to provide relevant and timely data for patient care, laboratory management, disease surveillance, evidence-based planning, policy formulation, and research, Douglas said.

Colin McKenzie, Sales & Marketing Director of Sysmex New Zealand, added: “The go-live will signify a major transformational change for the lab, as they move away from a completely paper-based system to one driven digitally”.

HCLAB_Rarotonga hospital

Rarotonga Hospital Laboratory

The implementation was made possible with funding from the Ministry of Health (Te Marae Ora), as part of their initiative to set up a PCR specialist laboratory in response to the pandemic. “It was truly the perfect storm”.

Rarotonga’s PCR lab will be envisaged to perform mass COVID-19 testing across the Cook Islands, where previously swabs were sent to New Zealand for testing – requiring a week to complete. HCLAB will directly interface with the PCR instrument, as well as other lab analysers, with the aim to handle considerably higher test volumes.

With the commencement of the quarantine-free Trans-Tasman travel bubble in May, the improved testing capability offers reassurance to the Ministry in keeping the nation COVID-free.

“Our customer care team are working diligently throughout the entire implementation and anticipated ‘go-live’ process. We have a staff member on-site to ensure a smooth transition for the lab”, said Colin.

“Sysmex are delighted to be helping Rarotonga Hospital Laboratory swiftly respond to COVID-19 and looks forward to supporting the growing outreach of the laboratory’s needs”

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