The HIMSS Digital Maturity Series seeks to understand if healthcare organisations are aware of their capacity and capabilities to effectively tap into the power of digital health. During this session which took place in early April, healthcare experts from Taiwan shared their digital transformation stories and thoughts on how to advance towards a digital health ecosystem.
Establishing a strong foundation in digital health
Expenditure on healthcare has experienced a huge surge over the years in order to cater to burgeoning demand. This, in part, can also be attributed to the need to invest in new technologies to increase the quality of care delivered to patients.
“The shift towards digital – many global health systems have almost shifted overnight to virtual visits which now opens up a very interesting opportunity for helping people stay healthy and well,” shared Anne Snowdon, Chief Scientific Research Officer at HIMSS. A robust digital health ecosystem is required to support and augment this huge surge in demand for online medical care and services, she continued.
The building block of a digital healthcare ecosystem as outlined by Snowdon, starts with a strong governance and workforce; followed by interoperability of data and analytics combined with the strong ability to track outcomes; and lastly, the digital capacity to engage with patients meaningfully. Through the Digital Health Indicator (DHI), healthcare organisations can keep track of how digitally enabled they are. The DHI measures progress towards a digital health ecosystem based on four building blocks. This ecosystem connects clinicians and provider teams with people, allowing them to manage their health and wellness using digital tools in a secure and private environment whenever and wherever care is needed.
Roadmap for a successful digital transformation in Taiwan
Taiwan achieved close to 90% adoption of its Electronic Medical Records System in its medical facilities and managed to transition from Stage 6 to Stage 7 as a nation in 2019 under the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM). Several key digital enhancements were made in hospitals around the nation order to attain such results.
“We prepared an e-Hospital, integrating the various facets within the hospital such as imaging equipment, instrument automation and hospital management,” said Dr Pai Pei-ying, Director, Committee of Medical Records Management, China Medical University Hospital.
In addition to the creation of an e-hospital, the country also took steps to create a smart hospital in order to better cater to patient needs. Several medical processes such as a smart schedule, smart wards and halls as well as digital health content were integrated to help improve healthcare quality for patients.
“We built a platform for team care. All medical staff look to the platform for information on a patient,” added Pai. This platform provides clinicians with a comprehensive overview of a patient’s medical information and notes from different teams.
Two digital health solutions were key in enabling the shift from EMRAM Stage 6 to Stage 7, with the first being the Clinical Decision Support System, a pharmaceutical system which allows for the adjustment of the dose and frequency of medication based on the bodyweight or renal function of the patient. Secondly, the business intelligence dashboard allowed medical professionals to monitor distribution of warded fever patients at a single glance. “We can quickly find the cause of infection and reduce the costs of patients staying in the ICU or wards,” Pai elaborated. This analysis can be done in real time and clinicians can swiftly determine the cause of fever for the patient, allowing for early intervention.