Digital strategies have transformed patient care in St. James’s Hospital

Lorcan Birthistle
Lorcan Birthistle

New digital strategies and the recent ‘go live’ of the Electronic Patient Record for inpatient care, was transforming the way patients were admitted, treated and discharged in St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Mr. Lorcan Birthistle, HMI Vice President and Chief Executive of St. James’s said when he welcomed those attending a HMI Dublin Mid Leinster Regional Meeting in the hospital. Maureen Browne reports.

The meeting, titled, “Building the foundations for a Digital Strategy,” highlighted a number of these digital initiatives.

Mr. Birthistle said St. James’s Hospital had a proven record in the implementation of national programmes that used track and trace technology to support patient safety in areas such as haemophilia treatment and in sterilisation services for surgical instruments and endoscopes. These solutions had proven that the use of global GS1 standards significantly enhanced patient safety, traceability and certainty of product identification for effective and efficient product recall across the healthcare supply chain.

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More recently, St. James’s had used modern barcode technology to automate the procurement of medical supplies, tracking of ‘precious samples’ from theatre to laboratory using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and tracking of products used in theatre to achieve detailed patient level costing.

Mr. Birthistle said these programmes were feeding into the overall digital strategy for St James’s Hospital. In order to achieve this strategy, the foundations needed to be laid to enable the electronic capture of data at the point of care using unique identification and barcoding standards (GS1).

He urged those present who were not members to join the HMI. “We are all working here to improve outcomes for our patients and membership of the HMI is a way to help us achieve this.”