George Hospital has brought their healthcare institution into the digital age by implementing an electronic patient folder system.

OpenText’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system scans and converts paper patient records into an electronic format. Transitioning from a paper-based environment to an electronic one enables staff to manage their patient files and information with increased efficiency and effectiveness, thereby improving service delivery.

The system was implemented at George Hospital in December 2013 and went live in March 18th 2014.

eHealthNews recently got in touch with Principal Communications Officer of the Eden District, Nadia Ferreira, to find out more about the system’s implementation and the reaction from patients and staff.

Ferreira said that since the system went live 428 users have been registered on the ECM system, with 232 of them being active users. “The scan centre also continues to digitise content on an increasing and ongoing basis. On May 30th there were over 17,550 patients who had their content scanned – this equates to 800,000 pages of patient files now being available on the ECM system.” Ferreira went on to say that at present a further 45,000 patient files (an estimated 1.5 million pages) have been prepped and are ready for scanning.

When asked about the staff reaction to the new system Ferreira explained that “as with any new project we have had our challenges; there has been resistance among certain staff to familiarise themselves with the new system. But overall staff are getting used to the system and are learning how to find patient content. It helps that we have dedicated on-site user support available to all the staff.”

“One of the major patient related benefits the system has brought to the hospital are shorter queues; patients now get their folders more quickly,” said Ferreira. Users can also view the same document at the same time, allowing easy consultation between doctors and members of the clinical team.

The ECM system is only the beginning, according to Ferreira. “The hospital’s Radiology Department is planning on implementing a new digital system: a central server for the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and Radiology Information System (RIS).” According to Ferreira, the advantages of PACS and RIS include fast access to all radiology studies with reports, tracking of exam status, ordering exams electronically and fast viewing of images and reports at other health institutions in the province.  “A central server for PACS/RIS will make future cross referrals and reporting a breeze,” Ferreira concluded.

The project is currently in the workflow analysing and configuring phase. A clinical enterprise-wide live date is expected to be announced by September 2014.

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