Bangalore: South Africa's first-ever paperless and filmless hospital has gone live at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH), Durban with the Medicom Hospital Information System.
The hospital was officially inaugurated on 22 November 2002 by Deputy President of South Africa Jacob Zuma. The 800-beds IALCH is under the patronage of department of health, KwaZulu Natal government, and provides for both National Central Services and Tertiary Care Services.
A paperless and filmless hospital implementation involves documenting and managing all types of information, like character data, graphs, X-ray images, MRI or CT scan images through the use of electronic media and computers.
Information pertaining to a patient, be it administrative or clinical, is captured directly on the computer system at the point of origin of the data. The information is then available across the entire hospital on computers over a network facility. Any authorised user can access the patient information from anywhere in the hospital.
To create a paperless and filmless environment, the Medicom Hospital Information System is connected to various medical equipment like laboratory analysers, radiology equipment and critical care units at IALCH. This enables results and outputs from these equipment to be automatically captured into the electronic medical record. It avoids the entry of data, thereby reducing the scope of data errors, and also enables the technicians to focus on abnormal results and critical patients.
Patient information is continuously and accurately stored in a longitudinal health record in the form of text, images, documents etc, ensuring better quality of care through the completeness and timeliness of available data. The automated Hospital Information System provides for data discipline and thereby enhances adherence to best industry practices and enhanced quality of patient care.
The benefit to a hospital that adopts a paperless and filmless environment is that a multimedia-based health record is maintained and the speed of patient information availability is enhanced; the medical record is available to users as soon as it is created.
In a conventional paper-based system, such information has to be retrieved from a medical records department, which takes a much longer time. With the bulk of medical records stored electronically and much of the data capture done automatically, the precious time of the healthcare delivery provider - the clinician, nurse or technician - is saved and put to much better use.
Says Medicom Solutions executive vice-president (business development) Ashwini Kumar: ''It is a matter of great honour and pride for Medicom to be have been implemented at the prestigious IALCH. Medicom at IALCH has delivered the full spectrum of clinical and administrative care functions across the connected Enterprise providing for clinical and operational efficiency, decreased paperwork, reduced clinical errors and improved quality of care.''
The IALCH hospital is a super-specialty tertiary care hospital and is involved in post-graduate teaching. The hospital is equipped with advanced medical equipment from leading vendors in the healthcare industry.
A few of the many outstanding facts about the hospital are that it is the first ever paperless and filmless hospital in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. It has the largest referral laboratory in South Africa, spread over five floors and catering to the entire province. It is equipped to handle a workload of 6,500 samples per day.
Adds Medicom Solutions chief operating officer S Govind: ''Software development, quality consciousness and operational excellence is integral to our culture and with IALCH, we have set a paperless and filmless hospital trend for the healthcare sector in South Africa.''
Medicom is a web-enabled, enterprise ready, state-of-the-art, one-stop information management solution catering to the various functionalities of healthcare establishments. The Medicom brand is today synonymous with quality, technology and innovation.
Medicom has been the global choice of hospitals and healthcare establishments across many parts of the world including the Middle East, Southern Africa, South Asia and Far East. It is associated with setting up Enterprise and National Health Information systems in various countries. Medicom is an ISO 9001-certified company and is a voting member of International Healthcare Informatics bodies like HL7 and ASTM.