Mere digitisation of records won’t cut it for a smart hospital

A hallmark of a modern-day smart hospital is its ability to harness data to improve outcomes and processes. Achieving this capability by digitising records – while an imperative step to digital maturity – is not enough. 

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taoyuan City, Taiwan has made strides in transitioning to digital medical records. 

“While this was a significant step toward embracing technology, it quickly became apparent that the mere digitisation of records was not sufficient to meet the needs of a smart hospital,” says Dr Kun-ju Lin, professor at the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Deputy Chief Information Security Officer of CGMH.

With volumes of data in hand, the hospital had to deal with the inconsistency of data across and within departments and errors in data interpretation, which was preventing the seamless exchange of information among healthcare providers.

Dr Lin, who is also the vice chairman of CGMH’s Smart Medical Committee, was part of the team that sought to resolve this issue. They developed a unified web-based portal for structured medical record entry, leveraging natural language processing AI. This standardised the data entry process and ensured that essential information is captured consistently and in an organised manner. 

“Our transformation is a long story, and I was lucky to be one of the project managers for this difficult task. The decision to implement structured documentation was borne out of the need to modernise our healthcare practices and harness the full potential of digital technologies,” Dr Lin shared. 

Through structuring medical records, CGMH established a cohesive and reliable data foundation that enabled its smart utilisation of data. This includes using data to automate routine processes, establish quality control measures, make informed decisions, and conduct advanced research data collection. Structured data also allowed the hospital to further deploy AI for real-time data analysis, personalised treatment plans, and early detection of potential health risks. 

Additionally, structured data has significantly contributed to its research endeavours, allowing the hospital to conduct large-scale studies for neurodegenerative problems, assess cane treatment effectiveness, identify patterns, and uncover insights that drive medical advancements and improved patient outcomes.

“By adopting structured documentation, CGMH has transformed into a data-driven smart hospital, where information is harnessed efficiently to enhance patient care, streamline operations, and drive innovative research. This approach is continuously evolving, and we are committed to staying at the forefront of healthcare innovation by leveraging structured data for even more groundbreaking initiatives in the future,” added Dr Lin. 

CGMH recently emerged as the second-highest-ranking organisation in the 2022 HIMSS Digital Health Indicator global ranking, scoring 349/400. 

Having reached an advanced stage of digital maturity, the hospital is also transforming from a diagnosis centre into a “theranostic centre” that integrates diagnosis and therapy in a single platform. Its integration of digital technologies has led to improved accuracy, efficiency, and safety in nuclear medicine.

CGMH is stopping at nothing to transform digitally. It is currently focusing on AI and big data analytics to overcome the shortage of skilled healthcare workers while enhancing clinical decision-making and acquiring predictive capabilities. It is also heavily investing in telemedicine and patient engagement technologies.

Following its DHI assessment, CGMH is now working to improve its overall infrastructure and be assessed under the HIMSS Infrastructure Adoption Model. It is also due for revalidation for the HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model Stage 7 sometime this year.

For Dr Lin, digital technology can ultimately enable universal access to affordable healthcare: “I believe that every individual should have equitable access to medical care, regardless of their socio-economic status or geographic location. By addressing this challenge, we can work towards building a healthier and more inclusive society, where everyone can live a healthier and happier life.”

Dr Lin will be speaking during the CIO workshop at the HIMSS23 APAC Conference, happening in Jakarta, Indonesia from 18-21 September. Learn more about the event here.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.