In late October, Belgian general hospital AZ Delta went live with the latest version of ChipSoft's all-in-one healthcare IT solution HiX. IT manager Korneel Traen explains why innovation in healthcare is so important and how the hospital uses software to fulfill its visions for the future.
Healthcare innovation: a necessity
'As a hospital, we have to be innovate in order to maintain our relevance in the healthcare landscape and to be able to offer the very best patient care. Our electronic health record (EHR) HiX helps us tremendously with that. We use the EHR to automate and centralise care-related registrations in a single patient record, which makes registering these data as efficient as possible.'
'Additionally, the registered data can be reused for other registrations or for improving care within the hospital and even in the entire region. This regional aspect is even more important, as the next step is to cooperate more efficiently with primary-care providers outside of the hospital, such as GPs, physiotherapistsists, residential care facilities, and the patients themselves. The ultimate workflow that we're aiming for is a fully integrated care process where as many steps as possible have been automated.'
Korneel Traen, Manager IT, AZ Delta
The importance of software migration
'With the migration to HiX 6.2, we upgraded our EHR to the latest version. The importance of this update cannot be underestimated. On the one hand, we did this to keep up with the development of the product and to benefit from the innovations that accompany it. On the other hand, however, this process also offered us the possibility to further improve certain specific records. For example: we took the opportunity to build in certain features to the records for cardiology, rehabilitation, and the lab.'
'The software update contains record-specific updates and new general functionalities. One improvement that we implemented throughout the entire EHR is the renewed clinical noting functionality. This tool adapts itself to the patient's care needs, creating a better and faster clinical noting process.'
Increase efficiency through integration
'Every healthcare innovation we implement is an efficiency improvement. To make things easier for physicians, we integrated the medical imaging process with the medical records. By means of device interfaces, users are allowed to view, use, and reuse the data from devices in the EHR. This means that, from now on, ECGs and ultrasounds will be available in the cardiology record, and the cath lab will be integrated in HiX. Additionally, thanks to interfaces with the heart-lung machine in the OR, we can monitor the patient values in the record. That is not only more efficient, but also safer.'
Automating the entire care process
'As we use a package based on Microsoft technology, our software is subject to Microsoft Lifecycle policies. So it was self-evident that we implemented the new technologies in our organisation together with our IT partner ChipSoft. After all, a patient record alone will not get us there. Our EHR package also contains other technologies, such as the data warehouse, which we use to structure data for optimisation purposes, and the care portal, which we use to connect with external physicians or the patient.'
'Step by step, we're going to incorporate the entire care cycle in the digital process, both inside and outside of the hospital. We will do that by automating the various elements of the care process and then integrating them into a single workflow. Consider a multidisciplinary process such as the pacemaker registration and monitoring. This process begins in the hospital, but when the patient leaves the hospital they will be monitored in their home environment. This entire workflow has to be integrated in the record, including warnings. This allows the nurse in the cath lab or the cardiology department to directly monitor the values and alert the patient if there's something wrong.'
Merging medical and IT perspectives
'For IT innovation to be useful, the medical policies of the hospital have to take the IT perspective into account right from the beginning. Thanks to the fact that our care providers already have experience with the electronic health record, they are more and more experiencing first-hand what the added value and the possibilities are for them. They will further configure the software according to the needs of their respective departments. This way, we're moving towards IT infrastructure that completely supports the medical processes, and that is exactly what we want.'