In 2006 the new Hospital of Torrevieja, a hospital in a tourist town in the providence of Alicante, opened with a clear vision: Become a leading institution using the newest technologies and optimizing its resources to be the most efficient hospital in the region.
Unlike other public hospitals in the region, this new
hospital is managed privately, but it is integrated in the Valencian public health service system, providing free healthcare for the Torrevieja residents and any EU national. Being privately managed, a system becoming more common among hospitals in Spain, makes investment in technology a key factor for profitability. Since the hospital does not receive public funding in form of subsidies, charging the regional government only for every patient attended, the
Hospital of Torrevieja needs to be extremely efficient and productive.
One of the first decisions was to move to a one
hundred percent paperless environment. This was achieved by focusing on hosting all hospital functions under “Florence,”
the integrated management system designed by the Hospital’s IT department in collaboration with Microsoft, HP, Kodak, and Dräguer. The system optimizes storage by using encrypted cloud services to store non-personal identifiable information, including lab tests, medical imaging, and administration data. The system complies with the highest level of privacy protection suggested by the Spanish Health Authority and the European Commission.
The hospital also focused much of its energy on a mobile strategy. The hospital uses text messages to confirm and update doctors' appointments for patients, even providing timely information if their appointment is delayed for any reason. Patients can send a text message (SMS) to check wait times, and Florence automatically calculates the time, matches the cellphone number from its database, and answers the text message. This makes the entire process run more smoothly, and the average wait time is 50 percent lower than the national average for public hospitals.
The hospital has also started to deliver critical test results
to doctors via mobile device. The system can also determine if the test results differ significantly from standard values and alert the physician immediately. Doctors and nurses can check the results on their mobile devices with their credentials, and the system logs off automatically after 10 minutes. Healthcare professionals can work on patient records, order additional tests, and amend data using tablets and smartphones. No information is saved on portable devices, which keeps the data secure and private.
Using online access to the test result’s database helps doctors to get them quicker, and that keeps the average hospital stay to one of the lowest in the country, about 4.3 days, compared to 6 days in most other hospitals in Spain.
Florence can be also accessed by patients, relatives, and
hospital staff by a series of touchscreen terminals in several areas of the hospital. Families, provided with a special access code, can check their loved one's health status. This code only works within the hospital to avoid any data breach. This enables doctors to spend more time attending patients and less delivering non-critical updates to families.
As you can see, improving the process has increased customer service and patient outcomes. But it also saves money.
The savings of going paperless and using mobile and cloud technology
are impressive. The Hospital spends only an average of €571 ($720) per patient per year, compared to the €900 ($1200) spent on average by most public hospitals. The Torrevieja Hospital can manage with €327 less per patient-year because of the low wait times, shorter hospital stays, and more effective decision making.
The Hospital of Torrevieja has received several national and
international awards for its innovation, quality of service, patient satisfaction, and efficiency. Now it is helping other similar institutions to install similar systems. Are you ready to adopt the technology to see similar savings? Comment below.