Waiting times for patients in Irish hospitals have continued to grow, putting ever increasing pressure on the health service.
The most recent figures released show that 567,000 people are currently waiting to see a specialist for an outpatient appointment. To alleviate this issue, the Government is looking to technology to help the Irish healthcare system more efficiently reduce waiting times for patients.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is the Government body tasked with reducing waiting lists and ensuring patients are provided with timely access to treatment in Ireland.
To ensure more patients receive the treatment they need more quickly, the NTPF recently appointed Spanish Point Technologies – Microsoft Ireland Partner of the Year 2019 – to develop a solution that would make the management of patient treatment information across public and private hospitals in Ireland more efficient.
The result of this project was the creation of the Patient Access Management System (PAMS), a cloud-based IT system that uses Microsoft Dynamics 365 to identify, track, and manage patient treatment information.
Several months after launch, PAMS has contributed to the NTPF making significant reductions to patient waiting times. As of October 2019, just five months after its launch, over 30,000 ‘Offers of Treatment’ have been issued to 41 public hospitals in Ireland via PAMS, 45% of which, have since been accepted.
In order to be able to provide timely access to appropriate treatment there’s a vast amount of waiting list data that must be constantly organised and updated to ensure that the right patient is assigned to the right hospital and receives the right specialist treatment.
The back-end process of recording each patient’s individual status is equally important too, and prior to this new solution being implemented, information management and reporting was extremely time-consuming.
In January 2018, the NTPF held an Innovation Event to discuss ways technology could be used to optimise the organisation’s day-to-day activities – and to ultimately ensure that patients who had spent a long time on waiting lists could be seen as quickly as possible.
The resounding conclusion from the event was that a new IT system was needed to streamline data for it’s wide network of users – allowing them to access real-time patient information from both private and public hospitals, as well as giving them the ability to create custom reports.
The system also had to be watertight from a security perspective, to ensure that every piece of personal data stored was protected in line with GDPR legislation.
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After a competitive procurement process, the NTPF appointed Spanish Point Technologies as its official IT partner. In its submission Spanish Point recommended developing PAMS – the Patient Access Management System – as a complete data access and management solution, one that offered all of the required scalability, security, efficiency and functionality that NTPF needed.
Spanish Point started developing this new system in February 2019, using components such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Dynamics Portals, and Native Dynamics Reporting to configure a sophisticated yet user-friendly solution – all hosted in the Microsoft Cloud.
The new system went live in May 2019 and by June, 40 public and 18 private hospitals participating in NTPF treatment initiatives were actively using the system, which has had a positive impact on patient treatment, data security, and improved efficiencies for users.
Since implementation, the feedback has been positive. Talking about the new system, Alison Green, Director Process Innovation, NTPF, said:
“We are really impressed with how quickly PAMS went from design and brainstorming to ‘go live’. The feedback from users both within the NTPF and in the external hospitals has been extremely positive. Patient information can be accessed more quickly and efficiently, the status of patients on their journey to treatment is visible at each stage, and PAMS reports are being used to drive improved performance.”Alison Green, Director Process Innovation, NTPF
On November 20th 2019, NTPF received the award for the PAMS system as ‘Best Use of Information Technology’ at the Irish Healthcare Awards
Spanish Point Technologies is delighted to be NTPF’s IT Partner and we are over the moon for the award they received
The Patient Access Management System, will continue to deliver value for patients and users at public and private hospitals in Ireland.