National Heart Institute

Established in September 1992, IJN is the premier heart referral centre. It is well recognized as a pioneer of numerous organtransplants and implantations which were the first of its kind in Asia and Australasia.

Problems Faced and Requirements

  1. Missing Business Intelligence (BI)
    Without the tools to analyze information and produce timely reports based on the information, the wealth of collected data had limited value. In particular, calculations for extremely complex KPIs (Key Performance Indicator), presentation of such information for top management was a hassle had much for improvement in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.
  2. Insufficient Integration
    To provide care for patients on a timely basis, hospital staff require quick and easy access to patient information, and any delay may be life threatening. With this in mind, IJN intended to create information connectivity and easy exchange between three systems, which are the HIS (Hospital Information System), LIS (Laboratory Information System), the CCIS (Critical Care Information System) and the PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System). Ubiquitous access and sharing of information between the different systems would ensure that data redundancy would not occur. Speedy access to information from different workstations also contributes to efficient provision of healthcare services to patients. Furthermore, automated report generation as well as alerts and notification would also reduce the drain on human resources.

    The National Heart Institute wanted to consolidate and integrate all their information systems, namely the Philips CCIS, Fujifilm Synapse PACS, TrackCare HIS, Prosolv Cardiology PACS, and Epiphany ECG (electrocardiogram) Management System into one connected environment that enabled continuous communication and consistency of medical data. Such data efficiency without replication of data is rare in manual systems.

     

    As the HIS is the central repository of all medical records access, the integration engine plays a pivotal role in streamlining all the information flows between different departments. The different systems present data and information in slightly differing ways, hence the importance of proper routing, transformation and cleansing of the information to enable interoperability of the information between the systems.

  3. Appointment Reminders
    Previously, staff at IJN had to manually print out a list of daily appointments, with a phone call made to each patient as a gentle reminder of the upcoming appointment. With an average of 400 appointments daily, this proved to be unjustifiably taxing on the human resources. IJN sought to have a more cost effective solution, namely an automated SMS (Short Messaging Service) reminder system.

The Speedminer Solution

  1. Business Intelligence
    Speedminer represents a complete BI system that functions to provide information access from data as well as give users tools to analyze and interact with the data to produce reports and visual presentations of data that would be able to produce insight from information.Given the extremely fast-paced hospital environment top management are unable to afford the time and energy of sifting through large volumes of data to measure performance. Speed Scorecard directly answered this call by offering scorecards, speedometer displays and other key performance indicators (KPI) to better gauge operational effectiveness in terms of individual physicians and monetary spending allocations.The front line desk operators of IJN always require comprehensive information. Users could now leverage upon the Speed Listing module to drill down information from the broadest scope and overview down to the most specific information regarding a particular patient, including appointments the patient has, allocated medication, and even the rate of hospital visits and discharges. Such flexibility and responsiveness in extracting and viewing information has definitely contributed to improved patient care.Focus:

          • Integration between HIS, LIS, CCIS and PACS based on the Ensemble platform.
          • Powerful and Detailed analysis of data with drill down capabilities.
          • Automatic SMS notifications which directly translated into more patients arriving for appointments on time.

    Specifically there have been great strides in increasing co-ordination and operational effectiveness as different information such as the resource schedule daily workload and daily number of appointments can be easily cross checked and confirmed according to doctors and departments.

    Through Speed Visualizer, planning and strategizing based on real data has been made so much simpler as data can be made more meaningful by transforming numbers and figures into graphical presentations consisting of charts and graphs for trend analysis and pattern recognition. When information regarding the bed occupancy rate, number of patient admissions and average length of stay is presented in graph or chart format, identifying and planning for increased patients can be done according to seasonal changes. This new ability was previously beyond the users’ range of ability.

    Even monitoring various departmental operations is no longer an inconceivable task with the Speedminer alert and notifications system that automatically sends out messages regarding points of interest or urgent matters regarding underperforming levels of operation. For instance the stock levels of certain medicines in the pharmacy department which are below the set threshold would be automatically brought to the attention of relevant personnel without any delay.

    Speedminer serves to source data from disparate database sources and store them in a consolidated environment for data synchronization and maintenance of data consistency and integrity. Easy access and storage of information gives users information on a timely basis and this is a priceless asset as each second is considered valuable in the medical industry.

  2. Speed Integration Module/ Platform
    The integration system based on Ensemble ensured that information could be communicated between the different departments in a timely manner. This required a consolidation of the data environment through efficient routing, transformation and cleansing of data to properly streamline all the data based on universal accessibility from any workstation in the hospital.Creating an integrated environment for numerous departments is commonly perceived to be a time-consuming task in terms of implementation and deployment. But this was not the case with Speedminer, which leveraged upon the Ensemble platform that provided seamless connectivity across formats which resulted in shorter implementation periods and unrivalled productivity.
  3. Speed SMS
    Superior Customer Service through Specialized SMS
    With an average of 400 appointments daily, it is extremely difficult for reminders to be sent out for each individual appointment, let alone track the appointment attendance. The typical way of doing things was to print out a list of upcoming appointments every morning and phone each patient. This was a severely time-consuming task, with substantial manpower required for such a process.

Innovation based on Integration

In November 2006, a new directive was initiated whereby an automated SMS appointment reminder system was to be implemented which would send reminders to patients 3 days before their appointment date.

Extending customer service through telecommunications

Users are given the chance to customize and deploy an automated SMS appointment reminder system and there is an added advantage of integrating patient data on a real time basis as the Speedminer system has already been implemented as the data warehouse of the Hospital Information System. This means that information regarding patients is automatically obtained from the patient registration system without the need for manual information search. Any patients with upcoming appointments are automatically sent SMS reminders based on information from the patient registration system. This process is intelligent enough to be conducted with minimal human intervention.

Flexibility and Ease of Deployment

Speed SMS is able to make use of common SMS technology platforms such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) XML (Extensible Markup Language) Web Services API (Application Programming Interface) or SMPP (Short Message Peer-to-Peer Protocol), common API provided by Telecommunication service providers, or through hardware interfacing such as GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) modem, if high volume of SMS is not required. Configuration and deployment is done through web-based interface settings, allowing ease of maintenance for the IT staffs of a large enterprise environment.

 

Speed SMS at IJN has been able to connect to the service provider using the SOAP Web Service API, and through a secured encrypted communication channel which prevents messages transmitted by the system from being intercepted by malicious users.

 

As a safeguard against downtime, the Speed SMS module can be configured to send alerts through alternative communications mediums such as E-Mail to the administrators. This greatly assists in troubleshooting and early system error detection, especially when system uptime is a critical requirement for successful implementation of the automated SMS system. Once an SMS appointment has been sent out, a report will be automatically sent to the administrators as a notification regarding successful completion of the task.

Conclusion

Thanks to Speedminer, the users at IJN are empowered to make good use of their voluminous databases, and in effect, have progressed greatly in their mission of providing quality healthcare to their patients.