The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has started rolling out an Electronic Bed Management System (eBMS) in the Steve Biko Academic Cluster in Tshwane to cut patient waiting times.

According to Gauteng MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu, the R20 million eHealth initiative is part of the department’s healthcare modernisation strategy to improve healthcare provision through use of technology.

The decision to roll out the system comes after a successful pilot of the eBMS at Steve Biko Academic Hospital earlier this year to deal with the shortage of beds.

Using cloud-based technology, the eBMS allows medical staff to view current bed availability within their hospital and the cluster on large display screens or on their internet-enabled mobile device or PC.

According to the GDoH, the system is providing insight which is allowing hospital staff to improve patient movement and management. The eBMS has already allowed hospital staff to make both long and short term decisions that have led to some hospitals seeing a reduction in patient waiting times and better ward and staff utilisation.

“Management is using eBMS to make reallocation decisions about ward beds. We have split not frequently used wards to move beds to a ward that is always busy. Having had the system in place since early January, Kalafong has already seen a two hour reduction in their casualty waiting times,” said Clinical Manager at Kalafong Hospital, Dr K.M Htwe.

“We are so excited about being able to view available beds across the cluster. This increases transparency which helps us improve patient care,” continued Dr Htwe.

The Gauteng Emergency Medical Services will also use the system when transporting patients to hospitals to improve coordination of its services.

MEC Mahlangu anticipates the system to be fully implemented across the province by the end of 2016.

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