Delivering Patient Benefits at UL Hospitals Group
Client:UL Hospitals Group
- Replace, consolidate and integrate legacy patient administration systems across six hospitals
- Implement a new system that streamlines health records and provides a single patient ID
- Enable shared information — such as waiting lists and lab results — across hospitals
- Deploy DXC’s i.PM patient management solution
- Build a robust architecture to support the system and the clinicians who use it
- Conduct a massive migration and consolidation of data involving more than 300,000 patients
- Streamlined system that provides a single, consistent patient record across all hospitals in the group
- Single identifier that greatly improves visibility of patient history at point of care
- Shared information across hospitals and improved reporting capabilities
The UL Hospitals Group recently faced the daunting task of combining patient administration systems from six different hospitals into a new, unified system. Using DXC Technology’s software and services, the organization successfully implemented a streamlined solution that provides easier access to health records and a single identity number for each patient across all sites.
Meeting the digital challenge
The UL Hospitals Group serves more than 600,000 citizens in midwest Ireland. Prior to the implementation, each of the six hospitals in the group had its own patient administration system, some dating back more than 25 years. Individual patients had multiple ID numbers, depending on where they received care.
Inspired by the digital healthcare initiatives of the nation’s Department of Health, UL Hospitals Group wanted to do a technology upgrade that would provide patients with more efficient services and allow the organization to deliver better data to the national reporting system.
DXC was closely involved in the planning, development and implementation of the integrated Patient Administration and Management System (iPMS). iPMS is now the main information system supporting day-to-day hospital operations. It is used to record all activity, such as admissions, referrals, waiting lists and discharges. iPMS is also fully integrated with other third-party systems that cover tasks such as radiology and lab work.
“We have now one ‘virtual hospital’,” says Brian McKeon, director of informatics at UL Hospitals Group. “All of the other hospitals can see episodes of care, and now have centralized waiting lists for our hospitals group.”
In addition, McKeon says, “It gives us endless possibilities and has actually energized a lot of our workforce and our clinicians to think about new ways of doing things and delivering better patient care.”
A heavy lift in a short timeframe
The consolidation project had a rigorous timeline of 18 months, which averaged to just three months per hospital.
McKeon says DXC played an “instrumental” role in migrating and integrating patient data, a mammoth task that involved manually checking and matching the records of more than 300,000 patients. In all, some 30 million health records were transferred from the disparate legacy systems to the streamlined iPMS.
Background work included conducting a detailed analysis of the existing data structures and preparing a migration strategy. New hardware was procured, processes developed and systems configured to handle new business requirements, including 700 new reports. Training was also key to the transition, with more than 14,000 training instances taking place.
“Go-live” activities were particularly daunting. “It was a hair-raising experience,” McKeon recalls. “To take 26 years of domain knowledge from six different sites and collapse them down into a single uniform system was a big challenge.”
Starting with a “big bang” at University Hospital Limerick, the team migrated each hospital one by one. This involved the extensive backloading of data and execution of manual processes. After a successful migration at Limerick, the team had a blueprint for subsequent migrations.
“It was a well-oiled machine by the time we finished,” McKeon says.
Benefits of integration
The system runs on DXC’s proven patient management solution, i.PM. The solution enables organizations to manage patient, clinical, business and functional processes, making it easier to access patient information at the point of care.
The biggest upgrade is that patients now have an individual ID number that spans the healthcare ecosystem. Providers can better track patient activity in various facilities, and iPMS provides more timely and accurate information to support patient management.
For example, doctors now have real-time access to waiting lists, categorized by specialty. Clinicians now know, for example, what ward a patient is in, which is beneficial to something as critical as tracing infection, or as simple as helping a hospital visitor find friends or family.
For patients, the new system means faster access to care, as well as improved safety through reduced risk of medication duplication and errors. The solution also provides more accurate patient billing and improves on the ability to generate required weekly clinical reports.
And, as McKeon points out, “It gives us a solid base to add other clinical systems.”
One of the key reasons the project was delivered on time was the consolidation of the management structure and a tightened group governance system, something that continues to benefit the organization.
“We now manage the hospitals within the group centrally, and it has been such a benefit to make decisions. I don’t think we could have rolled it out as quickly as we did if we had to negotiate at every single hospital as we went,” McKeon says.