The Communications and Information Technologies that have been adopted by Health Units SA offer a great potential in supporting individuals, the management of their health and the chronic conditions of their health, by promoting healthy lifestyles particularly for the elderly population.
To achieve that, business models that use technologies in these areas will need to be developed and tested. Value for money of any proposed investment will be gained through extensive field and pilot testing. However, the use of these technologies is usually hindered by ethical issues surrounding personal data. A major pan-European effort is needed in order to manage these side effects within a legislative framework that deals with both technical and ethical dimensions of the next generation of Internet users.
The purpose of the work carried out related to IT infrastructure and systems is to identify, prepare, control and exploit e-health services (e-health). In the health sector, 80% of planned electronic services have been assigned for training, education and patient social interactions, while only a few (20%) involved in prevention and health management. Of these, only the latter, relating to short discharge and home nursing are related directly to the main activities of the company.
This approach is not entirely new; most EU countries have taken several initiatives to generate best practices in supporting people with long-term problems and helping them to live independently. The initiatives that the Nordic countries and the United Kingdom have taken are really notable. Specifically, there are many projects that establish patient strategic requirements, evaluation studies in pilot stages, business models, etc., which converge in the following conclusions:
- The choice of suitable people that will be involved in the implementation of any project
- The commitment of the management agencies involved in the project
- The ease of use and reliability of the system and the availability of service.
It is important to understand that all of the above conclusions have the same weight, and ignoring even one of them could prevent the success of the project.
From the company’s point of view, the main aim of the proposed services is to secure timely interactions between patients and health professionals aiming at improving the management of patient situation mainly through fewer hospital visits.
The Olympic Village Polyclinic has adopted the digital model of hospital operation (paperless / filmless hospital) and it is the first time that it has been applied to a Primary Care setting. An integrated Information System with a standard Primary Care Electronic Patient Record aimed at keeping the medical and administrative patient data operates within the Olympic Village Polyclinic service units. The integrated information system of the Polyclinic Olympic Village consists of the following distinct sub-systems:
- Hospital Information System (HIS)
- Laboratory Information System (LIS)
- Radiology Information System (RIS)
- Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Management Information System (MIS)
The six harmonised sub-systems mentioned above make the Olympic Village Polyclinic the ultimate Primary Care organisation that operates in a digital environment. The Olympic Village Polyclinic organises, manages and stores medical and administrative data, with all the necessary safety standards, following protection of personal data procedures.
In this way, the Olympic Village Polyclinic uses electronic health (e-Health) services for the prevention and management of patients with short-term or chronic illnesses aiming at improving the quality of their health. The above is achieved through continuous interaction between patients and health professionals by using the information system and the Electronic Patient Record as well as through the continuing internal research and development of the existing information system. In particular, the continuous updating of the Electronic Patient Record allows immediate access to patient previous data, the statistical study of the data and the issuing of patients medical history without any delay. In parallel, the existence of a network allows the use of the computerised system in other units of the company, as well as the two-way interaction between patients and company’s healthcare facilities highlighting as the most important the patient ability to book an appointment online, the provision of Web-Holter services and the provision of on-line information regarding various medical subjects