When hospitals decide to merge or to establish collaborations, this always has far-reaching implications for the information infrastructure of the hospitals involved. The first step is to merge the patient files. Only after a time will you then consolidate, step-by-step, the information systems themselves. This was also the method chosen for the fusion of the ZOL Genk hospital in Genk with the Maas en Kempen hospital in Maaseik (Belgium). Using the Workflower app “MPI Matchmaker”, this time-consuming process could be automated to a large extent.
“If you want to merge patient files, you cannot leave anything to chance. After all, every mistake is potentially a big problem,” explains Peter Thijs, Director of ICT and Quality at ZOL Genk. “An exercise like this one cannot be carried out at one specific point in time. It is a process that takes time. A number of things can be smoothly automated, but for other processes you must intervene manually.”
MPI Matchmaker: an interactive process
Consider, for example, a patient who is admitted at the hospital in Maaseik. During the registration of the patient, the reception clerk checks his details. This employee will also check whether the patient is already known in the hospital in Genk.
A variety of situations are possible:
- If the patient is known, and already linked, then nothing needs to be done.
- If the patient is known, but not yet linked, and if you can identify him properly by means of his national registry number, then the link can be established.
- If the patient is not yet known, then the file can be created.
But sometimes, these distinctions are not that clear. For example, many Dutch patients come to Belgian hospitals, and they do not have Belgian national registry numbers. For some other patients, their last visit to the hospital was years ago when eIDs were not available yet. Or, a person with the same name and date of birth is known in Genk, but the addresses do not match.
“In cases like these, we work with the MPI Matchmaker. This is an interactive process, which we have moulded into a flow chart and then automated as much as possible,” continues Peter Thijs.
Error-free processing of patient data
In an operation like this, you may absolutely not make any mistakes. If you accidentally merge patients, you may encounter problems with the medical data. The last thing you want, for example, is a patient who is registered in the system with the wrong blood type.
Peter Thijs: “That’s why we tested the system for several months and looked at what could potentially happen in which system. Using a log table, we accurately tracked which action would follow, without actually performing that action. Only when we knew for certain that everything was going well did we put the process into production.”
Interaction with other systems
In fact, these are separate flows that also have an impact on other systems: If patient numbers are merged, then all the systems in the hospital that use the patient number must know that they now have to work with a different number for that patient.
“We can also automate this flow of information using the MPI Matchmaker. The application also allows us to detect errors and correct something manually, if necessary.” Peter Thijs
“And that is why we ended up at Amaron. We were not only looking for workflow support; we were looking for a workflow that could also be embedded in the existing communication flows. We also wanted a supplier who knows how a hospital works and knows the packages. It is the combination of these three things that made us ultimately decide to work with Amaron. In fact, Amaron has been helping us for years now with the interfaces between our systems. They also have a lot of experience with projects like these in other hospitals, so we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
“Using Workflower, we brought not only applications and patient data together, but we also brought together people who had never worked together before. The MPI project has therefore become the symbol, in the field of ICT, of how people at ZOL aim to work together successfully across all campuses,” says Petra Verwimp, Senior IT Specialist at ZOL.
The step to new work processes is a small one
“The big advantage of Workflower is that it can be integrated with the other systems that are already running in the hospital. With Workflower, you can build workflows on top of the interfaces that already exist – with the necessary controls and here and there an intermediate manual step.” Peter Thijs
Today, ZOL Genk has two major processes running alongside the MPI Matchmaker:
- The administrative flow for the onboarding of physicians:
This process allows you to streamline the labour-intensive process required to collect all the necessary data and documentation when a physician, assistant or consultant is hired. You also always know which documents need to be updated.
- Managing the diabetes convention, the “Endocrino” workflow:
With this application, ZOL Genk can monitor all requests and invoices within the diabetes convention, as well as the delivery of materials to the patient.
“When you have the technology in-house, the step required to create new flows becomes small. Once the merger of our hospitals has been completed and our people once again have some breathing room, we will use Workflower to digitize even more work processes. At any rate, there are certainly a lot of questions and ideas within the hospital.” Peter Thijs
Questions about MPI Matchmaker or other Workflower processes?
Please do not hesitate to contact us.