Placing patients at the centre of care

Netcare won the prestigious 2019/2020 Ask Afrika Orange Index Award for service excellence

Wednesday, February 3 2021

October 2019 “Healthcare is one of the most demanding sectors within the services industry when it comes to meeting the expectations of consumers and building a strong and trusted brand. This is largely due to the emotional and uncertain nature of healthcare and the differing perceptions of what constitutes service excellence within the healthcare context,” Jacques du Plessis, MD of Netcare’s Hospital Division after Netcare won the prestigious 2019/2020 Ask Afrika Orange Index Award for service excellence. This was the fourth consecutive year that Netcare won this national award.

“Service excellence at Netcare focuses on placing the patient at the centre of the health and care we provide, and combining internationally proven innovations with consistent care and compassion in order to provide each individual with the best and safest health and care,” he explains.
He says the shift towards participatory healthcare requires Netcare to find ways of providing patients with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make more informed decisions to enable them to become participants in their healthcare journey.

As such a number of person centred health and care initiatives have been integrated into the training of staff members and healthcare partners, and are being piloted at multiple Netcare hospitals, he reveals.

Pick: Jacques du Plessis, MD of Netcare’s Hospital Division

“Globally, enhancements in healthcare delivery are increasingly being enabled by digitisation and the intelligent application of data and machine learnings,” says De Plessis. “We’ve aligned ourselves with these global trends, which his evolving our service offering to significantly transform the way in which we deliver health and care to every person with whom we engage.”

Real-time data analytics and machine learnings have, for example, enabled Netcare to develop a predictive model to forecast potential outbreaks of antibiotic resistant organisms in wards. This will be implemented in 2020 to enhance the proactive actions we can take to counter these concerning outbreaks.

“Equipping our facilities with advanced medical technology to attract highly skilled and experienced specialists to practise in our hospitals, and providing professional nursing services which encompass acts of compassion, remain key tenets for Netcare.

“However, it’s cutting edge innovations that are putting Netcare at the forefront in SA in providing person centred health and care that is digitally enabled and data driven, and which will have an indelible impact on the future healthcare landscape in South Africa,” stresses Du Plessis.

New Netcare technology platforms, together with the expansion of its data analytics capabilities, will play an increasingly important role in supporting individuals in their health and care journey. The considerable service offering of the Group, including emergency medical services and primary healthcare to occupational health services, mental health and highly specialised acute hospital care, provides it with a unique opportunity to deliver on this strategy.

An electronic medical record system will provide doctors, nursing professionals and other healthcare practitioners involved in patients’ health and care with seamless access to comprehensive, accurate real-time patient medical information, even when they are off-site. This will help improve quality and consistency of care, safety and clinical outcomes, reveals Du Plessis.

Netcare is well on its way towards implementing a fully mobile, digitised platform housing electronic patient records (Care On). The platform is currently being piloted at Netcare Milpark Hospital and will be implemented across all of Netcare’s divisions by end 2022. It will enable a seamless interface between healthcare practitioners across the organisation, and eliminate the fragmentation of healthcare services. This will drive greater coordination of care, shifting from the current episodic, fragmented care to lifelong care.

“The Care On solution includes full digital integration of medical equipment in wards and theatres, pathology laboratories, radiology and the blood bank, with information such as patient observations feeding directly into, and being stored on, the platform in real time. Electronic access to clinical data analysis will also empower and guide our clinicians in the delivery of the most effective and appropriate care. It will eliminate duplication of diagnostic procedures due to records such as laboratory tests and radiology examinations not being available and will enable more patient participation in their own health and care, as they too will in time have electronic access to their medical records,” explains Du Plessis.
The platform will also drive improvements in the pharmacy dispensing system by allowing automated drug dosage and medication interaction checks to significantly improve medication safety.

Du Plessis says he is confident that by continuing to explore innovative solutions and harnessing digital technology to further enhance its service, Netcare will go from strength to strength in advancing world-class healthcare delivery in SA.

“We are very fortunate to have employees within the Netcare family who are motivated to treating each other and everyone whom they come into contact with, with professionalism and compassion. It is this commitment to person centred health and care that has once again won Netcare the 2019/20 Ask Afrika Orange Index award for service excellence,” concludes Du Plessis.