March 22, 2018, 2:30 am
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AHMC delivers better healthcare through digital innovation

HEALTH care in the Philippines is going through important changes – some good and some bad. Life expectancy is up, but it failed to meet targets on maternal and child health under the Millennium Development Goals. Infectious diseases like cholera and dengue are re-emerging due to overflowing urban populations and climate change, and HIV/AIDS are reaching epidemic levels in Cebu, Davao and Manila.

This is exacerbated by the fact that access to quality healthcare has long been a problem in the Philippines. The quality of healthcare is wildly inconsistent from hospital to hospital, and between urban and rural areas. Meanwhile, out-of-pocket spending on healthcare as of 2014 was at 81.7 percent per the World Health Organization, far above the 45.5 percent global average.

Given these challenges, Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) has tapped medical or health informatics as a critical part of the solution. This offers unprecedented means of collecting, packaging and analyzing clinical data to improve the quality of healthcare.

Committed to data-driven health care, AHMC has gone beyond simply going digital to leveraging advanced analytics that promise better outcomes for its patients at a lower total cost of care.

 “We look at digital and IT as a means of providing value healthcare. Integrating these technologies with modern medicine allows us to treat patients better and more quickly, as we deal with changing risk factors and new infectious diseases,”said Dr. Juan Antonio Javellana, director of Medical Informatics at AHMC.

AHMC began its shift to data-driven healthcare by digitizing its medical record system. Then, to be able to provide the best care to patients,it needed an accurate picture of what diseases were being treated each day and the state of patients when they left the hospital.

 “Our first order of business was to get information to decision makers in the hospital in more or less realtime. We needed to show hospital leadership what our daily operations looked like with the help of dashboards and advanced metrics. We also needed to be able to do some analytics on our historical information so we could plan accordingly moving forward,”Javellana said.

For AHMC’s management to offer the best care, the Power BI-based system continuously tracked key data such as how many people were received in the outpatient department, which services had more utilization, what kinds of patients are being treated in the in-patient wards, and what were the diagnoses.

 “Our hospital information system is code-based, following standards set by the International Classification of Diseases. When a patient comes in, a code is given to them that’s then entered into the system. This allows us to see, for instance, how many pneumonia patients we have, what kind of surgical procedures are being done, which ancillary services are being used most, and the top diagnoses for in-patients. And we can see this day-to-day, month-on-month, year-on-year,” Javellana said.

Having an updated view of the hospital’s case mix, patient demographics and clinical unit utilization allows AHMC to better plan resources committed to the hospital floors to serve the specific needs of patients and make day-to-day operations more efficient.

On the financial aspect, AHMC is able to know who the payers are and which health policies are being implemented, along with tracking year-on-year growth and other financial information that enables it to plan spending for further improvements, including data storage, infrastructure, improved facilities and manpower.

Altogether, this new system allows AHMC to deliver on its promise of value health care – treating patients as effectively and as quickly as possible, resulting in lower overall cost for payers. 

Having digitized all its lab information, AHMC is now working on its pharmacy module with the aim to provide clinical decision support, such as alerting doctors about patient allergies to certain medications or instances where too many interactions between medications take place.

Another key project is AHMC’s Patient Flow System, which allows doctors to track how long it takes a patient to go from one treatment area to another. By understanding patient journeys from ER physician to diagnostics and then to exit, AHMC has achieved an average of only three hours in the ER, better than most international standards.

Javellana said the hospital will soon deploy the same system onto the floor so managers can see how patients go from one area of the hospital to another, ultimately letting doctors treat them faster and better.
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