The power of digital technology to improve health and care for patients is being felt at Netcare Vaalpark Hospital following the implementation of CareOn, a pioneering electronic medical record system that is being implemented at Netcare facilities.
“Only a handful of hospitals in the world have the capability for specialists and healthcare teams to view patients’ clinical information, test results and vital observations remotely in real time. Netcare is the first private healthcare provider in South Africa to have invested in developing a state-of-the-art electronic medical record system which we are in the process of implementing in all Netcare facilities,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.
Netcare is partnering with international leaders in technology Apple, Deutsche Telekom (Clinical Solutions), IBM Micromedex and Capsule Technologies, among other organisations, on the CareOn system.
Razina Kader, general manager of Netcare Vaalpark Hospital, says that all the staff members and most of the independent healthcare practitioners practising at the hospital have received training and have enthusiastically embraced the onboarding of the new world-class, integrated and fully mobile system, given its unprecedented advantages for enhancing patient care.
All documentation and management of patient records are done electronically, with full electronic ordering to, and results from, pathology laboratories, radiology and the blood bank, with information feeding directly into the mobile platform. In addition, the hospital now has digital integration of medical equipment and devices in ICUs and theatres as well.
“Already, CareOn has become a game changer in our hospital, automatically recording the clinically relevant data on the patient’s unique electronic medical record. Through the secure platform, the treating specialists, nurses and other healthcare practitioners involved in a patient’s care can access and check each of their patients’ current condition, as well as medical notes and additional context on a mobile device at any time and from any location by means of a secure platform,” Kader says.
Having access to the most comprehensive and up to date information at their fingertips at all times has the important benefit of informing clinical decision making in real time. This technology also makes it easier than ever for practitioners to collaborate, enabling multi-disciplinary teams to work together with access to all relevant patient information. Up-to-date, accurate information enables more personalised and efficient treatment, informed by treatment protocols, to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient.
“A key operational advantage of the new digital system is that doctors and nurses are no longer having to capture all information manually on a patient’s file, and can focus on the clinical and nursing aspects, and on enhancing the personalised care provided to each patient,” Du Plessis says.
“CareOn has now been introduced at 12 Netcare hospitals, and a further nine hospitals will migrate to the CareOn system by the end of 2022. By the end of 2023, we anticipate that all Netcare’s acute hospitals will have implemented CareOn.”
The CareOn electronic medical record system further contributes to patient safety through a fully integrated pharmacy module, a first of its kind in South Africa, which builds on the pioneering e-scripting process implemented by Netcare and ratified by the South African Pharmacy Council in 2020.
Through a partnership with IBM Watson Health Micromedex, all electronic prescriptions are checked for any potentially harmful interactions between medication, duplicate medication and medication allergies that a patient may have. In addition, for the first time, pharmacists have access to the complete medication record, to better inform safe medication dispensing practices, including review of medication administration compliance.
The mobile system, using an iPad, also incorporates voice-to-text note dictation and handwriting recognition, with all orders and investigations requested electronically through computerised physician order entry. All results are also automatically and electronically returned to CareOn to enable healthcare workers to access this important clinical information.
The Netcare Group’s cloud-based data analytics platform applies the full potential of machine learning, AI, predictive analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to unify data in real time from various data sources within strict parameters of information security and patient confidentiality.
The adoption of the CareOn system and electronic medical records across all Netcare Group facilities – encompassing primary healthcare, pre-hospital emergency medical services, acute hospital care including cancer care as well as renal dialysis services, mental healthcare, physical rehabilitation and occupational health services – will allow for integrated and hassle-free holistic healthcare across the full continuum of care.
“The ease of access to electronic medical records with context eliminates the fragmentation of services for a more streamlined healthcare experience for patients, saving time and effort for patients as well as reducing the costs of repetitive investigations that can usually be avoided simply through better access to patient records,” Du Plessis adds.
“Our staff are excited to be a part of this revolutionary new advancement in healthcare, and the promise this project holds for optimising health outcomes for each person in our care. This is the future of healthcare, harnessing the latest advances in digital technology to enable the availability of quality data at all times, and using it to improve and save lives. We at Netcare Vaalpark Hospital are grateful and excited to be a part of it,” Kader concludes.
Notes to editor
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