Targeted data exchange prevents patient dropout and creates clarity in the treatment approach
Make data from oncology patients available at the touch of a button and thus link the necessary medical specialists together at lightning speed. Thanks to Open Line's virtual platform, this is already happening in six hospitals. And scaling up to the whole of the Netherlands can be done quickly, says Chief Healthcare Officer José Strijbos.
Healthcare is a very important industry for Open Line, says Strijbos. "We are originally a managed cloud services company, which has now been around for twenty years.
That is still the core of what we can and do very well. Of our customers, 40 percent are now from or related to healthcare."
According to Strijbos, Open Line constantly feels a responsibility to deliver, because so much is collaborated with healthcare parties. "If you work in this, it is very important that you understand exactly how important it is that the service has to be right and the underlying ICT infrastructure is working properly. When something goes wrong in that infrastructure and, for example, a patient is just lying on the treatment table, we have ten minutes to get everything 'up and running' again. If we get a call from a radiotherapy client that a scanner is broken, we don't think it's about some printer, we immediately feel the urgency and know what the impact is. That creates a constant sense of responsibility.
"Open Line looks after all or part of the ICT infrastructure, security, networking, workplace management, office application landscape and cloud services for its healthcare clients. The 'digital' side of ICT is thus managed by Open Line, while the customers remain functionally responsible for managing applications and users. Incidentally, Open Line is increasingly the point of contact for end users as well.
Four years ago, services began to expand and the Open Line eHealth Platform was added to the portfolio. One important application that falls within that and thus Open Line can now offer its customers is Vitaly, which is delivered as-a-service. This application is used in the oncology region Oncomid and, among other things, it supports multidisciplinary consultations.
A multidisciplinary consultation (MDO), is a consultation of experts from different professional groups, from different hospitals or a combination of them. For example, it is oncologists, radiologists and enpathologists who consult together about a patient. "More often than we realize, it is necessary to bring multiple specialists together to arrive at a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan," says Strijbos. "Patients are discussed individually in an MDO by a team of experts, which means that medical specialists from all over the world can be brought together to decide on the treatment path for difficult clinical cases."
With Vitaly at the core of the solution, this MDO is automatically composed and organized. This saves a lot of time and money, because the logistics and planning of a multidisciplinary team can take a lot of time if it remains purely "human work. It also allows the same quality of healthcare to be provided regardless of location and adds value to existing medical information. Open Line started at oncology Oncomid, but is also working on cardiology and obstetrics.
"We are originally a managed cloud services company, which has now been around for 20 years. That is still the core of what we can and do very well."
Data Sharing Midden-Nederland
Six hospitals in the Central Netherlands that are part of Oncomid have set to work on this and together developed a regional ICT infrastructure: Data Sharing Central Netherlands. This allows these hospitals to quickly and securely exchange patient data for the MDO. Strijbos: "The strength of Vitaly is the integration of the required information from patients. Doctors sign up a patient from the electronic patient file they work with daily, data is retrieved from this, photos and reports are retrieved from national networks and prepared for the MDO."
"It will be a huge improvement for patients if this system is used in more places," says Strijbos. "Five percent of patients who are registered for an MDO still drop out now, for example because there is missing information or a doctor is absent. Just imagine being that oncology patient who gets a phone call like that. What we are already seeing is that we have been able to reduce this to two percent. We also see that more patients can be discussed in an MDO.
Not only patients can benefit, a system like the one in use at Oncomid can also be a solution for healthcare workers. In the integral care agreement, increasing job satisfaction in healthcare is a spearhead and the time spent by healthcare workers on administration is often mentioned as an obstacle. By automating the organization of MDOs, about twenty minutes of time per patient can be saved, which would otherwise be spent on administrative tasks, among other things. Twenty minutes sounds modest, but it adds up to thousands of hours per year.
Scale up quickly
In Strijbos' view, scaling up Oncomid is therefore badly needed and doable in the short term. The health insurers are already behind upscaling, but in addition, healthcare regions need to be well organised to get this done, she says. "That is essential to get this right. We as Open Line can help with this very well, because of all the experience we have already gained with this."
Strijbos is ambitious and optimistic about the possibilities of rapidly rolling out Oncomid in the rest of the Netherlands. From Data Delen Midden Nederland, the MDO support Netherlands programme was started to share knowledge for national upscaling. A lot of work is already being done on this at Open Line as well: "We are currently writing transition guidelines, detailing what all needs to be done to successfully implement everything. I think we should be able to get the upscaling done for the Netherlands in two to three years."
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