The North Estonia Medical Centre (NEMC) is Estonia’s premier hospital, providing services in almost all medical specialities. It employs more than 3,600 workers and divides its operations between seven clinics. Its continuous drive for efficiency and more patient-friendly health care has brought about a need for world-class hospital information systems that only a custom health-care software can offer.
In close cooperation with its partners, NEMC aims to custom-develop a full hospital information system. Thus, all its separate information systems are being developed based on service-oriented design principles to form an all-embracing hospital information system.
Many of the systems incorporate a self-service function – either for employees or patients. An example of employee self-service in NEMC created by Helmes is the Radiology Information System (RIS). An example of patient self-service is the online portal Digiregistratuur (Hospital Online Appointment Scheduling System), which allows them to register for doctor’s appointments.
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Radiology makes intensive use of very expensive medical equipment. Thus, it is crucial to optimise the use of this equipment through strict planning. Sound organisation of work enables more examinations to be performed with the same number of employees and appliances. The Radiology Information System was needed to optimise the work of the department by providing a sound resource-planning solution.
The Radiology Information System manages radiology workflow, starting from placing orders for examination to submitting responses to the Digital Image Repository. Throughout the workflow, different roles use different parts of the system. Thus, the user interface adapts to the role, rights, and individual preferences of the user.
Like any other self-service environment, user interfaces are designed to consider their users. The Radiology Information System is simple and comprehensive in meeting the needs of less advanced computer users. Most operations are displayed step-by-step, and choices are narrowed down based on roles. Smart graphics speed up searches for suitable scheduling times.
The system is interfaced with many different information systems and registries, such as the hospital information system and the Digital Image Repository. Orders can also be placed from outside of the hospital. In this custom health-care software solution, the hospital information system is highly adjustable by settings, while the management of settings is restricted to physicians and radiologists.
Business benefits of Radiology Information System
Online appointment scheduling software for hospitals is not only a service for patient convenience – it also helps save hospital time by assisting personnel in managing bookings. The appointment scheduling system also ensures that the time booked is the most convenient one for the patient. This minimises the number of missed appointments and helps raise the productivity of the hospital.
Both hospital information systems must have a self-service interface in addition to the complex business logic working in the background.
The developed system identifies people using ID cards. It is a simple and comprehensive user interface, designed so that people with various backgrounds can search through schedules of available doctor appointment times and register for suitable doctor’s appointments.
Patients can also view their registration information and delete appointments they will not be able to attend.
The role of end users in the design of NEMC solutions has always been important (in this case radiologists, radiology nurses, reception, and other relevant employees). To provide maximum communication with users, the service designer, Helmes, worked on NEMC premises. Many excellent ideas come in the form of feedback from users when the system is live. The challenges are to provide maximum flexibility while maintaining a mission-critical system.
However, flexibility is one of the key reasons that NEMC has given in choosing custom health-care software development and Helmes. Another reason implied by the manager of NEMC’s IT department is the knowledge NEMC has invested in Helmes. An understanding of hospital business processes is crucial to building custom health-care software and hospital information systems – a self-service solution for employees and patients in this case.