Our healthcare system must continue to progress and fund innovation and research,” said the French Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Women’s Rights, Marisol Touraine, at the opening of the Sante Autonomie health expo, which took place on 19, 21 & 22 May in Paris. The purpose of the event was to bring healthcare professionals together to discuss various health issues. Among the key exhibition areas was Health-ITExpo, a dedicated space which looked at the transformation of digital uses. Digital hospitals, big data, data security: the digital revolution is underway and offers healthcare establishments opportunities to optimise management and improve the patient experience. Here are some of the highlights of the expo.
DATA: CENTRAL TO THE DIGITAL transition OF HOSPITALS
Hospitals generate huge amounts of data: not just health data but financial and administrative. The first major challenge for their IT teams involves finding a homogenous format for this data so it can be exploited. To that end, more and more hospitals are using machine learning and business intelligence to optimise costs and become more competitive, by structuring and organising data and implementing monitoring indicators to help them make the best strategic and organisational decisions.
One such hospital is Saint-Joseph’s in Paris: since implementing a data analytics tool, it has managed to reduce waiting times in its accident & emergency ward and optimise bed occupation rates. Christine Berthelier, the hospital’s Financial Controller, explains:
“A hospital can only partly predictable. It’s very difficult to predict the number of patients, activity, the different illnesses. That’s why we need indicators to help us make the right decisions, in terms of everything from managing the hospital to optimising the patient experience. The ultimate aim is always to improve the service we deliver.”
Saint-Joseph’s has rolled out a Microsoft solution, but there are of course other solutions on the market: in Lyon, for example, PSIH designs and develops data analytics software for the healthcare sector. A number of hospitals have rolled out its BI Query, its ad hoc query tool designed to help improve governance using easy-to-use dashboards.
PSIH’s BI Query
But business intelligence can go much further: this is the era of the “watsonisation of health”, after IBM’s artificial intelligence programme. A number of cognitive computing projects have been rolled out at Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok and the Mayo Clinic in the US where Watson enables patients to be matched quickly and accurately with appropriate clinical trials. In an interview with DSIH magazine, Pascal Sempé, Director of Business Development for IBM France, talked about the potential significance of such tools in the decision-making process:
“The advent of Watson will very likely change the traditional role of experts. In any event, doctors will be able to access far more information. Watson will increase their analytics capabilities and help them better harness the potential of data.”
FIGHTING CYBER RISKS
Data inevitably raises the issue of data protection. According to the MIT Technology Review, data security for hospitals will be a major issue in 2015. With cyber-attacks on the rise, hospital staff need to be aware of the potential risks.
“Cyber-attacks, the IT scourge of the 21st century,” with Anne Dorange and Serge Priso from Econocom Group
There are different types of cyber-attack: data theft, phishing, backdoor, brute-force attack, spyware, privileged account abuse – all of which have serious consequences for a healthcare organisation’s IT system.
In an interview in Technologies & Innovations hospitalières, Cédric Cartau,Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Nantes university hospital, the key issue to cyber-security is ensuring data integrity in a protected IT system. In a hospital, erroneous information can have potentially fatal consequences, such as administering the wrong dose of medication to a patient or a system outage that could compromise patient safety.
“IT security currently accounts for about 7% of a hospital’s IT budget. This can of course vary considerably depending on the age and maturity of the IT system, but also in terms of the decision-makers’ level of awareness of the issue.”
Serious games: A FUN APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE
On a lighter note, the Health-ITExpo also featured some video game workshops. For the past few years, serious games have been increasingly used in the healthcare sector. We attended the CCCP workshop and saw their presentation of their new game, Le Secret de l’Amarante.
This interactive comic strip aimed at patients and their families is designed to prevent Hospital-acquired infection (HAI). The game features Zoé, a little girl visiting her grandfather in hospital. Assisted by an assistant nurse called Alice, Zoé and the player learn some tips on how to limit the risk of infection. The game has been rolled out at Lille university hospital, which installed state-of-the-art multimedia bedside terminals a few years ago.
Also at the expo, start-up Dowino presented GlucoZor, a game devised for DinnoSantéand AJD, which specialise in helping diabetes patients. The game involves looking after a baby dinosaur with diabetes by feeding and entertaining him and monitoring his glycaemia levels. The app is designed to inform children with diabetes and help them take charge of their condition. The free app is available from Google Play and has already proving popular.
#Digitalforallnow in hospitals? It’s already happening: hospitals have officially made the digital transition. With the unprecedented boom in digital technologies, healthcare organisations can develop high-performance IT systems and offer patients an optimal hospital experience in which they are better cared for, better informed – and even entertained!