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Digital transformation in healthcare

by Proximus teamProximus15/06/2018

Digital transformation in healthcare
Digital transformation in the healthcare sector is an integral part of a global strategy focused on the patient. The challenge is to make the technology available to both medical practitioners and patients, thus improving the whole experience.

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Digital transformation for medicine in real time according to four experts

François Burhin, CEO at EpiCURA

For François Burhin, digital transformation involves managing change. From practitioners to patients, and right down to the less visible parts of the organisation, the hospital structure must be agile, yet also know how to manage this transformation without forgetting external partners. In his opinion, the future lies in full mobility serving players wherever they are in the sector, and particularly EpiCURA, who has chosen a multi-site model.   

Bruno Liénard, CIO at EpiCURA

Bruno Liénard recalls the (channelled) trend in the hospital network. Digitisation is the way to ensure a continuous service, focused on the patient as the common denominator. Being directly concerned with the IT element of the transformation, Bruno Liénard emphasizes the necessity of oversizing the storage capacity sufficiently, in order to retain flexibility to cope with the increase of data volume in the future.

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The future is about full mobility – both intramuros and extramuros - serving mobile players in the healthcare sector.

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François Burhin, CEO at EpiCURA

Frederic De Wallens, Account Executive, Proximus

Proximus has made a real contribution to technology in the digital  transformation of the healthcare sector. This point is emphasized by Frederic De Wallens, who has faith in an ecosystem that facilitates and standardises data transfer (medical or non-medical) thanks to both automation and mobile data, which is growing tremendously. There is only one objective at the top of his list: efficiency and the quality of communication.

Dave O’Shaughnessy, Healthcare Practice Leader, Avaya

As an expert in the field of Enterprise Communication Solutions, Dave O’Shaughnessy reinforces the importance of the human aspect, which must be allowed to evolve along with accessible technology. In the future, the hospital where consultations are carried out will only be a small part of the patient’s entire care journey. Technology must provide communication in real time and across the board with medical staff, wherever they may be. The solution is therefore the consolidation of multiple communication channels in a single integrated platform.

Whether we refer to E-health, digital health or connected health the key objective remains clear: to improve, accelerate and increase communication and the sharing of medical data. Example of innovation at EpiCURA.

What does E-healthcare mean to you?

Frederic De Wallens : “The concept is very broad. However, in the specific solution selected by EpiCURA, it is the move to a method of software as a service and the use of the Proximus public network that are so innovative. It’s the first time in fact! The doors are now open to develop business applications, which will literally take EpiCURA to the forefront in the field of E-healthcare. An approach that allows patients to be involved in tracing their own health. Meanwhile, for care workers it must rid them of tasks that are inappropriate to their main purpose, allowing them to devote their time to patients and continue medical practices. It is a matter of tackling the emergence of economic issues related to the treatment of illness. By accelerating the development of E-health.”

Bruno Liénard : “E-healthcare is a very specific part of our activity. To give an example, we already use the IoT in the case of oxygen therapy or peritoneal dialysis. The monitoring can therefore be analysed remotely and the data transmitted to the doctor in real time.”

The increasing amount of data must surely be a major challenge when it comes to storage?

Bruno : “These days we not only produce much more data, we also keep hold of it. Fortunately the new legislation in this area has encouraged us to create processes to limit the volumes of data. Currently the largest data generator at EpiCURA remains the medical imaging unit, whose results are becoming more and more refined, which in turn requires more storage capacity. At present this represents 400 TB of data. Our systems are scaled to be able to stock up to 5 years of medical imaging. In the future, we will be required to oversize our installations in order to retain flexibility. The solution lies in the hybrid storage system, shared between the Cloud and the site.”

François Burhin: “One thing is certain, this growth will continue. Our strategy also involves connecting our buildings with fibre optics. Even our smallest sites are connected. I cannot imagine our digital transformation in any other way.”

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EpiCURA is the first hospital network to use the public network to succeed in its mobility challenge.

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Frederic De Wallens, Account Executive, Proximus

And the same question for data protection and confidentiality?

Bruno : “We naturally did not wait for the GDPR to think about protecting our data. Or rather our patients’ data, because that’s what it is after all. What could be more sensitive than the data contained in a medical file? When it comes to data protection, our sector, and EpiCURA in particular, is already much more advanced than most companies and other industries. Medical files are designed to guarantee traceability without compromising access and information. By definition, we are properly armed for everything that affects our critical data. Moreover, we are working with the hospital federations in order to pool the GDPR process.”

To what extent can the digitisation of the patient’s journey be compared to your previous experience?

François : “The starting point in conceiving the patient’s experience is to personalise his or her journey. From arranging the meeting to the medical file, information must be passed on in an integral manner and not get lost. Digitisation therefore allows us to rid ourselves of obsolete data and to guarantee that the journey is updated in real time. Don’t get me wrong, for us digitisation goes hand in hand with a human-scale structure. That’s a must in our strategy.”

EpiCURA is a hospital network in the district of Mons-Borinage and Ath. Spread across 3 hospital sites and 7 satellite sites, the organisation has a total of 806 beds, 2,750 staff and 450 medical practitioners.

Case study

When it comes to digital transformation, the hospital network EpiCURA definitely stands out. Transformation is a long-term project, but the foundations are essential for a multi-site organisation that aims to become entirely mobile. Focus in this unique project in terms of unified communication.

Simplicity on a daily basis

Before replacing the traditional telephone exchange with the ‘Unified Communications’ solution from Proximus & Avaya, staff at EpiCURA had two or even three telephones. The call centre had a drop-out rate of over 40%, and the mobility across the different sites remained an enormous challenge. Now, all those involved in the hospital network can collaborate with others, regardless of their location, the time or their chosen devices. A common platform and agility without compromise.

A call centre as the nerve centre

These days the new integral solution in place at EpiCURA is responsible for taking calls within 20 seconds, for providing a message service tailored to each department and for personally tracking its patients. Around 250,000 calls are handled every quarter. Convenience is optimised for both patients and call centre staff.

A unique patient experience

One of the challenges faced by EpiCURA in its digital transformation is to preserve its proximity to the patient. This involves ensuring that information is passed on from the moment the first meeting is arranged all the way through to remote medical care. With no more obsolete information and with real time updates 2,500 EpiCURA employees are now able to approach the patient personally, thanks to their 360° view of the file.

Change management and business application

The integration of new technology requires some good change management. EpiCURA made use of a communication campaign targeting patients and an initiative that was very innovative in the hospital sector: ‘ambassadors of the new telephone technology’. This team of internal experts helped facilitate the change process by offering tailored support to all players concerned.

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Our digital transformation is an investment rather than a cost.

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François Burhin, CEO at EpiCURA

Bring down the ivory towers and unify communication

The digitisation of healthcare can be approached from the angle of the patient or the doctor. But what do people at Avaya, specialists in unified communication, think about this trend and the situation at EpiCURA in particular? “You could summarise the digital transformation of the sector as the transition from an enormous pile of paperwork and disseminated information to the efficient digitisation of patients’ personal files. Also not forgetting the complete traceability of sensitive information. We have finally arrived in an age of proactivity and tailored processes,” explains Dave O’Shaughnessy, expert at Avaya.

Avaya is the global leader in supply of Unified Communications and Contact Centre solutions, software, and services.

Wherever the digital revolution takes us, we aim to remain the leading, reliable ICT partner for businesses. With solutions that help them work smarter and live better, future-ready, future-proof.

Discover all the digital possibilities within the healthcare sector and download the white paper on www.proximus.be/health.

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