'Digital technologies contribute to hospital’s clinical transformation'
Article posted on: April 19, 2017
(HealthTech Wire / Interview) – Pierrick Martin, IT manager at CHU Nantes (co-ordinating establishment of the GHT44 association of hospitals in Loire-Atlantique), talks about clinical transformation and the contribution of speech recognition to achieving greater efficiency.
In your role as IT manager at CHU Nantes, one of France’s largest hospitals, you are responsible for numerous IT projects. During the HIMSS French Community event last March in Liège, you spoke about your project for clinical transformation. Can you give us an overview?
The key goals in our strategies were efficiency, pragmatism and ROI. Our clinical transformation focuses on automating the information continuum relating to patient admissions. A patient’s stay in the hospital mobilises fifty to sixty different effectors that intervene with or for him. Pertinent information that is available in real-time and the rooting out of redundant data capture are also optimising factors in the patient process. Because reducing waiting times directly impacts the experience and safety of patients, the quality of care, and the working conditions of physicians.
To do this, we have invested significantly in digital technologies and implemented project Ulysse. This project relies on an electronic health record (EHR) which is capable of addressing all the problems relating to patient processing, whether in the context of outpatients, conventional hospitalisation or telemedicine. And it is enhanced by speech recognition to capture patient data more quickly and more precisely, but also to facilitate doctors’ adoption of the EHR. The combination of EHR and voice recognition is a veritable lever for efficiency.
Voice recognition is a key factor in achieving clinical transformation. How does this technology help you?
We have been pragmatic. We would be kidding ourselves if we did not recognise that digital patient admissions require us to set aside time for data processing. It is the only way to enjoy direct benefits throughout the care process. Also, we were quick to identify speech recognition as a pre-requisite condition for doctors to adopt the new patient record system. When we deployed “paperless” services they instantly demonstrated the efficiency of this new interface between man and machine, for both structured and unstructured data. Recent progress in this technology has led to a real demand from doctors for the speech recognition/EHR combination.
What obstacles have you overcome on the road to clinical transformation?
Like many of my colleagues have found on numerous projects, the greatest difficulty was obtaining approval for the financial and human resources that needed to be devoted to digital transformation, both in terms of the IT system and practitioners. We also had to accept that we could not expect the software to reproduce the existing organisation, but instead treat clinical transformation as an opportunity to review, simplify and refocus in order to reap the benefits of the new automated workflows. We allocated dedicated resources for practitioners so we could really pursue this clinical transformation as a project. And it has proved to be a success! Combining EHR and speech recognition has already demonstrated the benefits it brings not only to EHR adoption among doctors but also to accelerating the production of health records, in particular when it comes to complying with regulations that require medical reports to be delivered on the day of discharge.
As an IT manager, what advice would you give a colleague embarking on a large-scale project to digitise the care process, combining EHR with speech recognition?
Secure and ring-fence resources and negotiate with general management to obtain suitable conditions for sustaining transformation over the long-term. Returns on investment are gained on the practitioners’ side and materialise in the short, medium and long-terms by putting in place a learning organisation which has the agility to provide efficient processes and adapt more quickly to new care requirements and new ways of processing patients.
I also think it is essential to share the strategic vision and give it meaning. If the practitioners aren’t on board to convey the message that digitisation can save lives and reduce errors in diagnoses and unsuitable treatments, that pencil and paper place patients in danger and extend the care pathway, then the IT manager will be isolated and unable to sustain the effort required to ensure the success of clinical transformation.
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