Western Cape Innovation leads to National Awards! | Western Cape Government


Western Cape Innovation leads to National Awards!

28 November 2022

The 20th Annual Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) Awards 2022 again highlighted the important role data plays in decision making and action. While there were many amazing contributions from across the country,  it was the Western Cape who led the way in the utilisation of data and evidence to make a meaningful difference to the lives of its people.

The Western Cape Department of Health won the main prizes of the event, scooping the awards for:

  1. National CPSI Public Sector Innovator of the year 2022,
  2. Innovations Harnessing Technology (ICT and other frontier technologies), for its groundbreaking HECTIS innovation.


What is HECTIS?

The hospital and emergency centre tracking information system, or HECTIS as it is commonly known, is a web-based patient management system for emergency centres and is the first and only one of its kind in South Africa. HECTIS was created by Dr Moosa Parak, an emergency physician from Mitchells Plain Hospital in the Western Cape. Another key contributor was Mr. Jacques de Villiers, who translated Dr Parak’s design into the digital language to develop HECTIS. Today, HECTIS can be found in forty-one health facilities in the Western Cape.

“Moosa is a champion for change, a champion for new, a champion for making a difference. He has been a pioneer in getting our data recognized; getting data to be acknowledged to make change. We are an agile, data-driven department and we adapt for the betterment of our clients who we put at the centre of everything we do,” said Dr Keith Cloete, Head of Department of Health in the Western Cape.

HECTIS is an IT data system that focuses  on the clinical processes in an emergency centre. The system follows the patient as they receive care in an emergency centre, from the time they come in and are triaged by a nurse, through every step in the clinical process e.g. being treated by a doctor.

At each step, data is logged electronically, by the clinicians providing the care. This  data can be used to manage the emergency centre in real time. A simple example is that the hospital manager can look at their phone and receive data on waiting times, while a clinician can instantly see the number of patients waiting to be seen, and how sick they are. More than that though, the system allows the data from all forty-one sites to flow into a single data warehouse, allowing analysis of the data to understand the health system at a wide geographic level. We can understand the percentage of patients presenting due to interpersonal violence, or the number of patients who have been victims of firearm violence at a sub-district, district or provincial level.

The HECTIS system has led to development of the Provincial Safety Dashboard, which is used by the Provincial Government as part of its armamentarium to manage safety and health care in the province. The system provides invaluable data at local and provincial level to make life saving decisions.

What is different about HECTIS?

HECTIS is currently the only e-innovation in the public sector to assist in managing an emergency centre and has been iteratively built with direct feedback from end-users. It is important to note that the system is not an adaptation or replication of an existing tool. It is a true innovation that merges the clinical and technological fields and was developed right here in the Western Cape.

HECTIS is also an innovation that functions at scale. Presently, there are forty-one sites in the Western Cape using HECTIS, and this number is increasing rapidly. The system has thus far logged almost two million patient episodes. The Western Cape plans to implement HECTIS in every public sector emergency centre in the province. A great deal of credit for this  must go to the IT project management team, led by Mr. Jashmeer Maharaj, who have rolled out HECTIS throughout the province, and of course to the staff who use the system.

Some of the ways we use HECTIS

The Emergency Centre (EC) is a hot spot for any health facility as it is the entry point for so many of our patients. Coupled with the high demand for health care and an increasing number of clients, the HECTIS system supports efficient, timeous, clinical management of those most in need of care, hence saving lives.

Additionally, the HECTIS data has been utilized for key quality improvement projects at facilities. These include improvements in waiting times, improved triage accuracy, better communication between nurses and doctors, and continuous monitoring and evaluation.

But HECTIS goes beyond just the management of an individual emergency centre. The Department of Health shares HECTIS data with safety stakeholders, including the South African Police Service, Department of Community Safety , and the City of Cape Town as part of the Western Cape Safety Strategy. This data is used as part of a whole of government response to improve safety in the Western Cape.

HECTIS is a true home-grown innovation that has achieved success at scale. It fully embodies the value of innovation that is at the heart of the Western Cape Government. The success of the system, and its due recognition inspires us to continue to innovate, in order to improve the lives of our people.