Virtual platform organises MDO in oncology

A virtual platform that automatically assembles and organizes the multidisciplinary consultation (MDO) within oncology. Five hospitals successfully implemented it. And it is bearing fruit, according to José Strijbos, Chief Healthcare Officer at Open Line. According to her, it is time for the next step.

Four years ago, five hospitals in the Central Netherlands region decided to join forces with the goal of providing multidisciplinary and cross-organizational oncology care to patients.

A collaboration was born: Oncology Central Netherlands (Oncomid). Participating hospitals are St. Antonius Hospital, Diakonessenhuis , Meander Medical Center, Rivierenland Hospital, and UMC Utrecht. Hospital Gelderse Vallei, Tergooi and Rivas joined later.

Part of Oncomid is the Data Sharing Midden-Nederland project. This ICT solution supports the participating hospitals with a virtual platform for secure data exchange for Multi Disciplinary Consultation. Health insurers supported this project financially because they saw potential in the scalability of the initiative. The hospitals have been sharing their knowledge, conducting joint scientific research and jointly caring for oncology treatments since 2019.

Equivalency

José Strijbos supports Oncomid from her role as Chief Healthcare Officer at Open Line. This IT company specializes in designing, building and managing complex ICT projects and cloud solutions.

According to her, the equality between hospitals plays a major role in Oncomid's success. "Academic hospitals have been mandated by the Integral Care Agreement to share their knowledge and experience in complex care with the region. But this does not mean that a teaching hospital takes a leading role in a regional collaboration."

"UMC Utrecht positions itself as one of the hospitals within Oncomid. UMC Utrecht can provide some more manpower because of its size. It cannot be that one hospital does it all for the rest. That is not a form of cooperation in the region. Cooperation is about equality and this is bearing fruit."

Outside the hospital door

One of the services that Open Line provides to Oncomid, as mentioned, is a digital solution for the MDO for oncology patients. In addition to Open Line and the health insurers, EPD suppliers and XDS suppliers are affiliated with Data Sharing Midden-Nederland.

For the hospitals, this means fast and secure information exchange within the MDO. And that is much needed, according to Strijbos. "Many EPDs are capable of supporting multidisciplinary consultation, but that is limited to one's own hospital. Patients are still registered and all the information is gathered by hand. On average, this takes just under an hour per patient. Moreover, in 5 percent of patients, essential care data for decision-making is missing during the consultation. This increases the likelihood that a patient's discussion and treatment will have to be rescheduled."

"Our strength is improving processes between healthcare providers in a region, including allowing patient data to flow safely, completely and quickly. Thanks to our e-health platform, medical specialists are able to collaborate well prepared with colleagues working at other healthcare organizations. This has reduced patient rescheduling from an average of 5 percent to 2 to 3 percent."

Virtual environment

Part of the Open Line eHealth Platform is the Vitaly application. Among other things, it is linked to EPDs and storage systems for reports and images. It gives the healthcare professional a digital environment with functionalities in the areas of MDO preparation, workflow support, agenda management, chat, joint consultation in a videoconference, capture, report sharing and compliance management.

Patients are notified from the EHR. Vitaly adds clinical data from the various information systems to the platform in a standardized form. This is then accessible to the team of medical specialists, which is automatically assembled for the MDO.

Strijbos: "After all, specialists from different disciplines are needed for a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. This also applies to syndromes other than Oncology. It's not just doctors working in a hospital, but for example also general practitioners and specialists in elderly care who support vulnerable elderly people. With Vitaly, it becomes easy to streamline information remotely and come to decisions together."

Scaling up

According to Strijbos, they are looking at how digital support for oncology patients can be scaled up to other regions in the Netherlands. "The programme 'MDO-support Netherlands' was recently started from Data Delen Midden-Nederland. With this programme, we want to share as much knowledge as possible to enable a national scale-up."

"Health insurers are willing to provide financial support for further scaling up. Initial interest has been shown. In the end, it is not only about sharing knowledge and experience in manpower, but also about everything that is laid down to get started right away. For example, the design and set-up of our solution, the associated key performance indicators and the necessary governance," Strijbos said.

Besides scaling up to other regions, Open Line will also support other specialisms. Strijbos: "We are already working on that. We have taken the first steps in virtually organising MDOs for cardiology and obstetrics."

Care & ICT                                  

Open Line will be present during Care & ICT. There, Strijbos wants to discuss solutions for regional networks in healthcare. Strijbos: "We do a lot in healthcare and we like to do it collaboratively. From experience, I know that the number of visitors and participants with an IT background is often higher than those with a healthcare background. Nevertheless, I recommend attending the event also as a healthcare professional. We want to show that, as suppliers, we are doing more and more together and that it delivers something for the healthcare sector. My message is, come along and talk about great healthcare solutions. Not only with us, but also with other organisations that will be present

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