Hospital Information Systems

Engaging the regionís growing demand

Middle East Health spoke to Greg White, the vice president and managing director of Cerner Middle East and Africa, about Hospital Information Systems, the demand for them in the region and Cernerís new big HIS contract in Qatar.

Middle East Health: What is driving demand for Hospital Information Systems in the region?

Greg White: The Middle East healthcare industry has shown record growth over the past few years and is expected to continue growing in the future for reasons that include increasing population and rising prevalence of lifestyle diseases. This has led to a boost in the demand for better healthcare services. As a result, an estimated US$10 billion worth of healthcare projects are planned or underway in the GCC [According to a report released by Kuwait Finance House Research Limited about the future status of the health care sector in the GCC]. Additionally, the demand for hospital beds is expected to rise to almost 94,000 in 2015, an increase of more than 8,600 beds from 2010 [According to a report by Alpen Capital about the GCC healthcare Industry] to provide quality care to the regionís growing population.

Cerner sees its role as instrumental in providing HIT (Health Information Technology) systems that deliver operational standards, clinical decision support, operational/financial control and reporting as well as better management of clinical outcomes. This stems from the use of Electronic Medical Record (EMR), research-based/evidence-based standards of care, medical device connectivity and role/venue-based systems to support clinicians in their daily workflow/daily jobs in providing health care.

MEH: What are the main challenges you face as an HIS supplier in the region?

From time to time, business and travel arrangements can be challenging due to the volume of travel our local associates do to provide support for our regional clients. We have seen the regionís demand for EMR and HIT systems increase dramatically over the past 18 months and it is expected to continue increasing over the next three years. Keeping pace with this growth has provided our local and regional offices the ability to expand and grow the breadth and depth of our local staffís expertise.

In order to keep pace with the growing number of health systems in the region currently implementing EMR systems, Cerner has grown our local implementation and consulting staff by more than 100% over the past 18 months. We anticipate this growth trend to continue or even accelerate over the next 24 months. This growth, both organic internal growth, transferring associates from other Cerner offices, or regional new hires has accelerated our infrastructure expansion to support this additional growth. We anticipate this expansion to continue in the UAE, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and possibly in Lebanon and Kuwait. We also continue to see demand growing in Oman, Jordan, and North and Central Africa. Although this growth is very exciting for us, the growth process itself can be time consuming.

MEH: Cerner has recently won a really big contract in Qatar. Can you give us some detail about this project?

In July 2011, Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) and Cerner came together to build one of the most technologically advanced healthcare facilities in the Middle East.

You should be aware that in the Middle East, Cerner offers a wide array of healthcare solutions which improve patient safety and streamline care processes in medical facilities. ĎCerner Millenniumí solutions are currently in use in United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar. These solutions can be implemented across an entire health system to both retrieve and disseminate information, meaning different departments can access and interact with a patientís electronic health record (EHR) while using solutions unique to that department.

Working with Cerner, Sidra will become the first hospital in Qatar, and one of very few in the Middle East, to have a fully integrated clinical information system, based on a foundation of international best practices and regulatory compliance support. The Cerner Millennium platform will enable Sidra to store and communicate patient information among caregivers in all venues, enable clinical decision support, provide the foundation for research initiatives, and engage the patient consumers in their home.

Cernerís electronic health record (EHR) will be the foundation of the health technology implementation. The hospital will integrate 60 Cerner solutions, encompassing clinical, technical, administrative and research functions to support clinicians and hospital staff in providing worldclass patient care and research.

These solutions automate processes in multiple departments, provide instant access to clinical information and integrate workflow with the patientís EHR. The solutions digitize clinical communication, intensive care unit operations, clinician documentation, image management, pharmacy laboratory operations, medication administration processes, clinicallydriven revenue cycle management, clinical research, capacity management, patient flow and surgery operations.

By providing clinicians with access to medical best practices guidelines and ensuring that the right person has access to the right information at the right time, the Cerner system will help Sidra clinicians realise the hospitalís mission of addressing the growing need for more comprehensive patient-focused medical services for women and children in Qatar and throughout the region.

Earlier this year, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Cerner signed a landmark agreement to digitize the entire public health system of Qatar, including all HMC hospitals and Primary Health Care centres (PHCs). Acting as a prime contractor and CIS integrator, Cerner will deliver cutting edge health IT solutions from Cerner and third party suppliers that will bring the HMC Hospital Information Management into the 21st century. This is Cernerís first project in the region to digitize an entire countryís public health system on a single computing platform.

Cerner will also work with HMC to lay the foundation for a national health framework which will allow for a personal health record for every citizen in Qatar. Using the Cerner Millennium architecture, a unified health IT computing platform, HMC will help individuals better connect with their care team and engage in their health. Individuals will be able to schedule appointments, send messages to their doctor and create a personal health record to better manage their health. Moreover, HMC will have the ability to capture and research health data across medical encounters and medical facilities providing vast repositories for ongoing research and disease management for Qatarís Supreme Council of Health.

Cernerís EHR will be the foundation of the health technology implementation. Over a period of five years, HMC hospitals and PHCís will integrate approximately 100 Cerner solutions and 11 third party solutions, encompassing clinical, technical, operations, and administrative areas, to support HMC in achieving clinical and service excellence.

MEH: What makes a good HIS supplier? What should potential clients who want to install an HIS at their facility look out for?

Clients should look for an efficient and sustainable HIS. A sustainable system implies that healthcare providers have a healthcare system that meets all operational goals in terms of high quality care adhering to international standards. In addition to following commonly accepted evidence-based care that is delivered with a proper balance between cost efficiency and quality of care. The cornerstones to efficient healthcare systems include high quality in the delivery of health care, adherence to standards and efficient access to management information from all components of the delivery of health care.

A good HIS supplier would have a strong presence and commitment in the region with permanent staff allowing for successful pre-implementation planning, positive solution deployment and post golive adoption support as well as support for the technical environments necessary to provide EMR systems.


 Date of upload: 20th Jun 2012


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