It is well documented that waiting times for patients in Irish hospitals have continued to grow putting ever–increasing pressure on our national health service.
The most recent figures released show that 567,000 people are currently waiting to see a specialist for an outpatient appointment. To alleviate this issue, the Government is looking to technology to help the Irish healthcare system more efficiently reduce waiting times for patients.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is the Government body tasked with reducing waiting lists and ensuring patients are provided with timely access to treatment in Ireland.
To ensure more patients receive the treatment they need more quickly, the NTPF recently appointed Spanish Point Technologies – Microsoft Ireland Partner of the Year 2019 – to develop a solution that would make the management of patient treatment information across public and private hospitals in Ireland more efficient.
The result of this project was the creation in May 2019 of the Patient Access Management System (PAMS), a cloud-based IT system that uses Microsoft Dynamics 365 to identify, track, and manage patient treatment information.
Several months after launch, PAMS has contributed to the NTPF making significant reductions to patient waiting times. Just five months after its launch, over 30,000 ‘Offers of Treatment’ have been issued to 41 public hospitals in Ireland via PAMS, 45% of which, have since been accepted.
In order to be able to provide timely access to appropriate treatment there is a vast amount of waiting list data that must be constantly organised and updated to ensure that the right patient is assigned to the right hospital and receives the right specialist treatment.
The back-end process of recording each patient’s individual status is equally important too, and prior to this new solution being implemented, information management and reporting was extremely time-consuming.
A new IT system was needed to streamline this data for a wide network of users – allowing them to access real-time patient information from both private and public hospitals, as well as giving them the ability to create custom reports.
The system also had to be watertight from a security perspective, to ensure that every piece of personal data stored was protected in line with GDPR legislation.
Spanish Point developed the new Patient Management Access System using components such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Dynamics Portals, and Native Dynamics Reporting to configure a sophisticated yet user-friendly solution – all hosted in the Microsoft Cloud.
The NTPF now has a complete data access and management solution that offers the scalability, security, efficiency and functionality they need to help reduce waiting times for patients.
Since implementation, the feedback has been positive, with participating hospitals from across the country saying that it has had a positive impact on patient treatment, data security, and has resulted in improved efficiencies for users.
Speaking about the project, Alison Green, Director Process Innovation, NTPF, said: “We are really impressed with how quickly PAMS went from design and brainstorming to ‘go live’. The feedback from users both within the NTPF and in the external hospitals has been extremely positive. Patient information can be accessed more quickly and efficiently, the status of patients on their journey to treatment is visible at each stage, and PAMS reports are being used to drive improved performance.”
Dynamics Business Group Lead