The Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) Innovation Programme launched today in collaboration with Inclusive Healthcare Innovation to find the next ingenious healthcare tools and practices.

“GSH has a long legacy of innovation but we’ve been riding the wave of the first heart transplant since 1967. It’s time to ride a new wave,” said GSH CEO Bhavna Patel in her welcome speech. “There is a need for innovative delivery of patient care, which is the main focus of the Western Cape’s 2030 strategy of ensuring a quality people-centred health service,” said Patel.

Dr Lindi Van Niekerk led the GSH Innovation Programme seminar launch by explaining how the programme is an opportunity for staff to turn their ideas into a reality, and in so doing, solve some the hospital’s biggest challenges. Van Niekerk explained how the UCT GSB Bertha Centre, in partnership with the Innovation Unit (London), conducted research to identify the major pressing challenges, hindering care delivery, from the staff perspective.

Eight prominent innovation challenges where identified: using waiting times more effectively, sustaining a culture of care and dignity, tracking and communicating, patient records and notes, more efficient entry and exit, improving care for specific patient groups, working better with community services and boosting volunteer resources.

The GSH Innovation Programme was devised to provide the funding and expertise to support staff in realising their ideas for innovation to address the eight prominent issues. Through the programme, staff teams will receive the opportunity to apply to the GSH Innovation Programme to access the necessary funding, expertise and mentorship over the next year. The ultimate goal is to find at least five solutions that improve the deliv­ery of quality patient care that will be presented to the Western Cape DoH in October 2015.

Two back-to-back seminars celebrated the work of 13 GSH staff from different departments that have already developed and implemented inno­vative solutions that are improving the patient experience.

Head of General Medicine, Dr Peter Raubenheimer, presented the Electronic Continuity of Care Record (eCCR), a computer-based discharge application that is improving the documentation of patient care. The eCCR was created by Robyn Dyers and Shane du Plooy in collaboration with Dr Raubenheimer as an electronic discharge application that captures relevant patient data. “The system uses standardised discharge summaries that allow users to capture vital patient information that can be used for future patient analysis. The eCCR also captures ICD-10 codes on all discharged patients,” said Dr Raubenheimer.

Dr Raubenheimer explained how the eCCR has already been used for six months in the Department of Medicine in GSH with great success. “All patients now leave the hospital with typed, coded and printed discharge letters, while accurate information is available in electronic form to clinicians in other facilities,” said Dr Raubenheimer.

Dr Richard van Zyl-Smit presented the work his Pulmonology division is doing through a smoking cessation clinic that was founded in November 2012, as well as the development of an app to assist practitioners in comprehensive screening and clinical decision making. “Though still in pilot phase, the app evaluates patients based on their smoking history, nicotine addiction tests, nicotine withdrawal scales, emotional attachments assessments and a depression score. Such information will ensure the clinician has real-time information to decide on the best treatment plan,” said Dr van Zyl-Smit.

Presenting for Dr Rachel Weiss, Linley Holmes explained how the UCT Clinical Skills Centre has formed public-private partnerships with various stakeholders to build a Simulation Lab as a solution to the shortage of space and quality medical equipment to conduct training. In addition, a digital e-learning platform was developed to give medical students the opportunity to share knowledge. “This includes the prototyping and development of shared learning materials for the continuing professional education of nurses in both public and private institutions, as well as the development of ECG learning modules,” said Holmes.

Other presentations included innovation in patient flow optimisation in the Radiology Department; the creation of a breast wellness programme by a nurse to help women battling breast cancer; Project Flamingo to address the lengthy waiting lists for  mastectomies; research into devices for patients with rheumatic heart disease and other staff training initiatives focused on improving patient care.

eHealthNews will continue to report on the developments of the GSH Innovative Programme.

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