Belgian Hospital Manages Growth with UltraGenda
Client:CHU de Liège
- Centralize patient medical records
- Improve patient scheduling process
- UltraGenda, for integrated enterprise-wide scheduling
- Eliminated paper-based processes
- Reduced patient wait times
- Launched multisite call center
Despite cultural, regulatory and budgetary differences, most healthcare organizations around the world struggle with similar challenges. In the quest to improve patient care and operational efficiency, many hospitals now target appointment-scheduling systems for modernization.
In Belgium, University Hospital Liège (CHU de Liège) is a large public university hospital that needed to streamline its patient scheduling systems while digitizing all of its paper-based processes. The hospital, located in Liège, part of the country’s French-speaking region, processes an average of 10,000 appointments daily across its eight sites and 59 departments. In 2006, it embarked on an ambitious project with CSC to transfer all phases of patient care to electronic media.
A paperless future
The digitization project included computerizing patient records, managing beds in real time, and producing nurse e-files, all of which have been accomplished. The next two phases were to computerize prescriptions and patient appointments electronically, a legacy process that was time-consuming as well as confusing for patients. The objective was to augment value for both hospital and clients by acquiring a scheduling system that was fast and capable of monitoring multiple agendas simultaneously.
CHU needed an IT strategy powerful enough to transition from paper to electronic appointments, while also centralizing the multisite operation of hospitals and clinics. The project involved responding to the scale of its current workloads, as well as creating the ability to handle future operational demands. Driven by growth — with an increase in workload of 705 percent in eight years — CHU management needed to find an efficient solution and meet its goal of becoming one of the top computerized hospitals in the country.
Finding a solution
To fulfill European Union specifications, CHU sought a program that was stable, reliable and met the necessary criteria. The task involved scheduling hundreds of events for the same day into a calendar, with no leeway for mistakes. Inaccuracy was not an option.
To complicate matters, several employees had never worked with computers before and had a negative perception of technology. CHU was looking for an extremely simple technological tool that would require few training hours and could handle planning for all medical activities.
After using CSC’s UltraGenda software for a few hours, those same employees "... told us that they certainly did not want to go back to making appointments on paper, says Alain Didderen, scheduler for the hospital's front desk and call center.
Improving the care process
Ultimately, "for the headquarters of Liège and for hospitals in general, the important thing is [to match] the right patient, with the right doctor, at the right time and in the right place," says Didderen. A reliable system that recognizes, tracks and follows a patient through the various processes is one of the benefits of UltraGenda.
Another advantage of the system is organized information with clear choices in a user-friendly graphic environment that guides users through questions chronologically. Not only is the tool powerful, but it has the capacity to build in parameters that enable the system to increase its functionality and "intelligence" for the future.
After launching UltraGenda, scheduling wait time dropped from 10 minutes (during rush hours), to CHU’s goal of 30 seconds. Information, which is now available for multiple users, has simultaneously made the entire system more efficient. Thinking forward, Medical Record Application Manager Denis Menager says, "We plan to improve its very strong performance to further support our growth. The enormous advantage of using UltraGenda is its large integration capacity, which makes our lives easier from the beginning [by] having a tool that is easily embeddable, compared to other software."