There’s a simple solution to get public-private healthcare providers talking
Computer systems are no barrier to public-private healthcare collaboration
Public-Private Collaboration’s on the Cards
Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, is making it clear that government is looking for a resolution to the disparate provision of healthcare services in the country. He’s currently focusing on the costs of private healthcare in the country and he’s pushing to reduce private healthcare costs substantially. Whatever the outcome of the fierce debate the resultant situation is likely to include some measure of cost reduction on private health’s part and a closer cooperation between private and public healthcare provision.
Regardless of the public hearings by the Competition Commission that recently concluded, private and public healthcare service providers seem set for a collaboration of sorts.
Collaboration between hospitals and external physicians and other medical professionals means medical personnel will need to share patient information contained in records. An electronic healthcare records management system provides the perfect basis for efficient, cost-effective, and highly effective collaboration.
Sharing Information a Potential Impediment
The problem will arise when private facilities, many of which already have electronic patient records and business systems, must integrate with government’s system, which is primarily paper at this stage. So government will have to digitise patient records and possibly deploy some form of business system. It will undoubtedly implement a system incompatible with at least some of the systems used in the private sector. How will the different systems communicate? Particularly considering the many role players: hospitals, GPs, pharmaceuticals companies, pharmacies, clinics and more.
A Simple Solution
I worked with a company in Europe, in the pharmaceuticals industry, that had a particular problem digitising documents, feeding them into business systems, then collaborating with suppliers and other downstream partners. The solution we found was a simple yet highly effective one that saved them thousands of monthly work hours.
We interrupted the print streams of the various systems, culled the relevant data, and populated whatever format of forms the receiving system had. Simple but effective because it revolutionised that company’s processes for a great deal of saving and business efficiency.
They were staring either a system forklift or an enormous bespoke development project in the face because they weren’t exposed to the content management and records management field like we are. And we are fortunate not to sell ERP software so my solution could really focus on their business needs, the risk they potentially faced, and still maintain their bottom line.
The customer described us as cement, as we bind other material (systems and processes) together, and I have yet to find a better way to describe it.