HealthManagement, Volume 7 - Issue 2, 2012 HIT

Integrated IT to Optimise Patient Care

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In March of this year COCIR - the European trade association  for the medical technology industry hosted a  meeting with the European Commissioner for Health and  Consumer Policy, John Dalli and senior representatives  from hospital and healthcare providers. The meeting in  Paris showcased how integrated IT and innovative financial  partnerships are optimising patient care.  

Commissioner Dalli is supporting Member States on national  efforts in improving health for millions of patients across  Europe. Innovation, technology and smart financial investment  are crucial in helping to resolve the increasing financial and  demographic pressures common to all healthcare systems in  Europe. As part of an ongoing dialogue, Commissioner Dalli accepted  COCIR’s invitation to spend some time looking in detail  at examples of European best practice, including where EU  funding is helping transform healthcare delivery.  

“I was pleased to see and discuss innovative technologies  from different industrial sectors combining with innovative  healthcare models as well as financing solutions to enable better  patient care and increased efficiency within this care setting,”  said Commissioner Dalli. “I have no doubt that healthcare  systems need to use appropriate new technologies and other  innovative solutions, if they are to emerge stronger from the  current economic challenges,” Dalli added.  

Many of Europe’s leading hospitals and healthcare providers  have recognised the potential of using smart investment  in medical technologies and IT to become ‘healthcare  hubs’, forging improved networks with physicians and local  clinical services to better manage the needs of patients in  local facilities, even in their own homes.  

As we are all aware, the European healthcare system  is in a period of change, driven by demographic change,  evolving skill shortages, rising consumer demands for better  health and advances in healthcare technology. In the  context of financial austerity, more local and regional hospital-  centred networks are being developed to provide improved  service to an ever more demanding and informed  patient. Public and private partnerships and investments in  healthcare technologies and research are driving a steady  evolution in healthcare, set to benefit the lives of millions  of Europeans and contribute to economic prosperity.  

Commissioner Dalli visited the Institut Gustave Roussy, Ilede-  France. The Institut Gustave Roussy oncology hospital is an  application service provider, showcasing cloud computing and  telehealth. In France today, 75 percent of all public hospitals  are still not equipped with an IT system for their imaging examinations.  In an effort to save costs by quickly increasing the  use of digital technology, the Ile de France Regional Healthcare  Agency (ARS) contracted with a consortium to deliver digital,  cloud-based PACS and archive services to the Île-de-France, the  country’s most populous region with over 12 million people.

The goal of this project was to enable regional healthcare  professionals to share, analyse, interpret and archive the avalanche  of patient information, which has been crucial in driving  cost reductions and improved patient experience. This project  has the capability to connect and share information from over  90 hospitals and 100 private practices across the region.  

Additional presentations were also given on three Spanish  hospitals. The Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau, Barcelona  has partnerships for imaging technology and IT management.  Multi-year partnership projects enable healthcare  providers to reduce their risks and gain affordable access to  the latest technologies. In 2009, a ten-year partnership was  formed between the Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona and an  industry partner for a fully-managed service of Sant Pau’s  Imaging department at a fixed monthly fee.  

As the first project of its kind in the region, the provider  has defined a new imaging system department including  technology, improved workflow and processes to handle the  future growth and clinical ambitions of the hospital. The provider  also renews the technology according to a capital asset  plan, taking into account technological advances that occur  during the contract period. The managed service includes  MR3, CT4, molecular imaging, X-ray and ultrasound.  

Also presented was the Hospital Universitari de la Ribera  in Valencia, which showcases the public-private partnership  management model and is a prime example of a high  quality and sustainable healthcare system. Using advanced  IT systems (including electronic medical records and telemedicine)  in combination with latest diagnostic technologies  and comprehensive educational programmes further  assures consistent, high-quality and sustainable delivery of  healthcare under the programme. The patient benefits from  no waiting times, screening programmes, single person  rooms, homecare, patient healthcare programmes.  

The Santa Lucia University Hospital (Cartagena)/Los Arcos  del Mar Menor University Hospital (Murcia) was another  excellent example of financing, medical equipment  and IT integration as part of a public private partnership  presented to the Commissioner. As part of a Public Private  Partnership (PPP), these two hospitals in the Spanish Region  of Murcia now have more than 100 imaging systems,  such as computed tomography (CT) scanners and magnetic  resonance imaging (MRI) systems, as well as systems for  molecular imaging, mammography and ultrasound.  

“Hospitals of tomorrow, and healthcare professionals and  administrators working within the healthcare system, need to  have the tools and investment to cope with growing healthcare  demand,” said Heinrich von Wulfen, COCIR President. “Today,  many leading hospitals will be critical players in an integrated  healthcare delivery system which engages the consumer and  understands the patient’s disease and patient’s biology in order  to stratify the treatment. Such a system is digitally accessible  in people’s homes, community clinics and physicians’ offices.”  

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In March of this year COCIR - the European trade association for the medical technology industry hosted a meeting with the European Commissioner for Hea...

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