2012 Annual Report


  • 55% ownership by Abano; 45% by Sonic Healthcare
  • Hold and maintain strategy
  • 18 community rooms, three GP visiting rooms and one centralised laboratory
  • 230 staff including 148 clinical specialists


Aotea Pathology is recognised as a world class provider of community pathology services. It currently operates under a DHB contract, which was extended for an additional three years on 1 November 2011.  During a recent compliance audit by the DHB, reference was made to the excellent culture of quality and continuous improvement which is embedded within the whole organisation.

A number of new initiatives brought additional challenges for staff in 2012, as management focused on the contract rollover, reviewed a number of testing platforms and continued to roll out the Electronic Test Ordering system (eLab) across the region.

eLab helps the clinician identify and order the most appropriate tests, enter test requests directly into Aotea’s system, and at the same time get information for the patient to ensure they are properly prepared for their specific tests. This was officially launched by the Hon Tony Ryall, the Minister of Health, in September 2011 and is now being rolled out across the Wellington region.

FY12 Highlights

  • Established and enhanced relationships with key personnel at all levels of DHB
  • Launched eLab, Aotea’s new online, test ordering system 
  • Continued to invest into IT upgrades, as well as new software and hardware for the eLab system
  • Ceased charging for private specialist referred testing
  • Refurbished, relocated and upgraded some collection depots to improve patient accessibility and experience
  • Enhanced the website and online functionality of the business to provide better information for patients and clinicians
  • Settled a three year collective employment agreement, tied to the end of the current DHB contract, providing increased certainty for staff and the business going forward 
  • Undertook additional testing, including assisting Public Health with testing for rheumatic fever and whooping cough, and invested into new testing platforms for immunology.


While the three year contract extension has provided some short term certainty for the business, there is no certainty on how pathology services will be delivered after this time. The single most important objective over future months is to work with the DHBs to establish the future model for laboratory services for the region. 

In the short term, management will be exploring opportunities to enhance the service to users, particularly through electronic test ordering and online result enquiry. In other aspects of the business, Aotea Pathology will be in a holding pattern until there is future contract certainty.

Goals FY13

  • Continue working towards creating an innovative model to de-risk the ongoing  three yearly tender of services to local DHBs
  • Enhance eLab with improved functionality and performance for referrers
  • Implement eWrite-Up – an internal arm of eLab which eliminates manual handling at the point of collection, providing improved accuracy and efficiency while enhancing the quality of reporting
  • Investigate opportunities to provide clinicians with greater online access to patient results
  • Improve staff talent retention by up-skilling existing staff to meet specific areas of need and providing them with access to ongoing training and development opportunities and effective reward and recognition programmes.