George Hospital Goes Digital
3 February 2014
An electronic patient folder system was implemented at George Hospital in December 2013 following successful implementations at both Khayelitsha and Tygerberg Hospitals.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said: "Provincial government is working to integrate all patient information into databases that eventually can be accessed at any public facility. It is a huge task to feed all patient information into the system, but we are making progress. The electronic patient folder system at George Hospital is a great step for our patients in the Eden district. There is no question that we have to keep abreast of the world trends in this regard."
The project aims to create and deliver capacity for George Hospital to convert the current paper patient record system into electronic format resulting in a gradual move from a paper based environment to one which uses far less paper. This, in turn, will enable staff to manage their patient files and information with increased efficiency and effectiveness which will improve service delivery. In summary, health care professionals will no longer access a patient’s historical information from the paper based patient folder, but rather source this information on a computer.
OpenText’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is used to scan and save patient information in electronic format for easy access when needed. One of the key visions of Western Cape Government Health is access to patient-centered, quality care and a time-saving project such as this one is another step in the right direction.
Datacentrix who were appointed to spearhead the project are targeting files of patients who have visited the hospital in the last 4 years. Once the system goes live in March they will move to a ‘scan on demand’ approach which means that files will be scanned for patients who have an appointment at the hospital, this means that they will only be scanning files which are actually needed. Approximately 250 to 300 patients a day visit the hospital in various departments, this translated into the same number of folders being converted daily. George Hospital has about 260 000 patient files.
This project will improve patient service delivery in the following ways:
- A reduction in patient waiting times due to easy access to electronic patient records on the system. No need to find, retrieve and move a paper file.
- Users can view the same document at the same time, allowing easy consultation between doctors and members of the clinical team.
- Reduction in paper and photocopying costs.
- Reduction in the number of lost files, and thus lost information, which can lead to unnecessary and costly re-evaluation of patients.
- Reduction in the physical movement of files.
- Provide faster access to patient records.
- Track the status of documents and provide an audit trail of document usage.
- Faster processing of documentation supported by statistics and reporting on progress.