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ICT deployment in hospitals can cut operating costs

Once hospitals exceed a certain tipping point in its IT investments, they see a reduction in operating costs, improved efficiencies, and a slight drop in patient mortality rates, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The study of 2,000 US acute care hospitals found that about 60 percent so far are near or have reached the tipping point, in which investments in IT have begun to pay off. In total, there are about 6,000 acute care hospitals in the US. The tipping point is slightly different for forprofit versus non-profit hospitals. However, to reach the tipping point, a hospital needed to make pretty significant investments in IT, based on the complex scoring system PwC, used to uate the hospitals. The scoring system rated hospitals on their investments, in about 40 different applications.  

Involving patient in healthcare through IT

On 12 March 2007 The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) and Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) have announced a new initiative to improve emergency room service. Through kiosks in the emergency waiting rooms at both hospital campuses, patients will be able to enter information in seven different languages, thereby facilitating more effective triage.

Here it deserves a mention The Scarborough Hospital is Canada's largest urban community hospital, involved in delivering innovative, high quality patient care. It advocates community's health and wellness issues, and is a leader in research, teaching and learning. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, TSH is also a referral centre for vascular surgery, pacemakers and corneal implants. Canada Health Infoway is an independent not-for-profit  rganization
that invests with public sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse compatible health information systems,which support a safer, more efficient healthcare system.

Coming back to this joint initiative, which is Called Enhancing Emergency Services: A Patient- Centred Approach (EES), it aims to better support nurses and physicians with smart tools so that they can work more efficiently and effectively to enhance patient flow and improve patient care.

These patient-centric information systems will assist patients in communicating their status to ER staff and physicians as they wait in emergency waiting rooms. An alert will pop-up on the nurses' screen each time a patient updates information. According to Dr. Hugh Scott, President and CEO, TSH, “Patients now have the option to play even more of an active role in their care process during unavoidable waiting time.” Also, the new e-triage tool will assist staff with the patient reassessment process and reprioritization of care as needed.” The system is designed to enhance various aspects of ER service for patients without increasing staff or enlarging facilities.

The user-friendly kiosks are available in English, but will also feature interfaces in seven different languages including English, French, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Tamil, Punjabi, Farsi, Hindi and Urdu. Patients are asked a number of questions in their native language and can choose answers from a comprehensive list. The system then translates the information into English for use by the care providers.

Infoway is investing $1.5 million dollars in this pilot project, approximately half of the project's total cost. The new technology will capture more detailed data from patients, process that information and provide it to the nurses and physicians. The Centre for Global e-Health Innovation, University of Toronto Healthcare Resource Modelling Laboratory, the Unive

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