Electronic Patient Records Improve Care in Portugal
Client:Espírito Santo Saúde, Portugal
- Improve operational efficiencies for health services
- Increase ability to support group hospitals and collaborate with others
- Leverage technology to make better investment decisions
- xHIS, a flexible information system for managing patient and financial information
- Electronic database to support hospital activities and knowledge management
- Transform unstructured information into structured information
- Single electronic patient records enabling better-informed medical decisions
- Deep reductions in process cycle times
- Improved communications via interconnection of multiple systems
Espírito Santo Saúde, Portugal’s largest private hospital group, is making some key investments in e-health initiatives that are paying off. A flexible hospital information system, xHIS, is helping the company better manage patient information and improve care.
Espírito Santo Saúde was created in 2000 and started with the acquisition of a network of hospitals, and CSC has been with the company from the beginning. The group now has eight hospitals, seven ambulatory clinics, two senior facilities and an institute of radiology. Espírito Santo Saúde is somewhat unique in that it is the first private healthcare operator in Portugal.
Investing for the future
Espírito Santo Saúde wanted an information system that could effectively control clinical and administrative information regarding patients, as well as help manage its hospitals and health centers. With xHIS, the group is able to use the many functions the system has to offer, including the deployment of modules to help manage functions such as admission, invoicing, rehabilitation and the hospital pharmacy.
A chief benefit is that xHIS generates a single electronic record for each patient that can be easily accessed by medical professionals. This has resulted in a substantial improvement in the quality of care Espírito Santo Saúde provides to its patients.
“The main initiative has been to ensure operational efficiency,” says Raul Martins, CIO, Espírito Santo Saúde. “In other words, increase our ability to support our operations within our hospitals.” Martins says Espírito Santo Saúde is making new investments in areas that are more strategic. “Particularly, in e-health, creating Web sites for end-user customers and the people we serve, and also to other institutions that have a relationship with us.”
One particular investment focus is in the area of reading comprehension. Technologies have come to the market that gives Espírito Santo Saúde new options for interpreting text and transforming unstructured information into structured information. Martins says this information is very useful for supporting clinical and non-clinical decisions.
CSC has worked closely with Espírito Santo Saúde in supporting IT activities at the hospital. As a result, the hospitals are computerized in one the most important areas, from when patients arrive, to their departure. “CSC’s software accompanies patients during all interactions, from the early hospital-planning activities, to the moments after, like billing and ensuring future care planning,” Martins says.
CSC has also been integral at helping Espírito Santo Saúde improve efficiencies in specific areas such as administration, planning patient activities, and patient monitoring. “In all these areas, we have had successes,” says Martins. “But the greatest achievement is one that sees itself as a whole, because it is where this ‘synergy process’ appears more visible. Because at each point we will improve, and we will increase the overall capacity to see success and be able to observe success.”
Counting on experience, innovation
CSC’s involvement has made Espírito Santo Saúde’s IT systems more flexible and more nimble. “Because the solution is integrated, we have observed the hospital operating at a higher speed and with better quality. This is extremely important,” he says.
One benefit delivered is that xHIS speeds up the billing process for prescriptions. When the prescription is entered into the information system, it immediately charges for the associated costs, saving the need to apply the costs manually. The company has also been able to use xHIS as a cost analysis tool.
Martins says besides having a good software package, CSC has a customer-focused strategy for the end-user. “They understand the needs of the customer,” he says. “CSC has accompanied us throughout these 14 years, knows our needs, knows where to go, and can create services that are very appropriate to our real needs.”
Over the years, CSC has become firmly entrenched at Espírito Santo Saúde. “We have a permanent CSC team allocated to our 18 units and at the end of the day these people are constantly listening to us, understanding that we have problems, and finding the best solutions, which are not always solutions that come from packages,” says Martins.
This is where CSC’s healthcare expertise comes in. “CSC is an organization that innovates too, which is always trying to take steps forward. This is extremely important because this is the only way to create value in customer organizations,” he adds.