​Healthcare facilities never rush into the purchase of a new EMR. Basalt and Rijndam Rehabilitation Centres needed new IT support and went through an extensive selection process to reach a decision. They opted for file management in HiX for optimal healthcare support with an integrated information system. They are basing this as far as possible on the assumption of uniform recordkeeping and work processes. Marieke Paping (rehabilitation specialist and CMIO at Rijndam Rehabilitation) and Marco Schults (rehabilitation specialist and CMIO at Basalt) discuss why HiX was chosen and what they expect of the EMR that they will be using later this year.

What kind of care do Rijndam Rehabilitation and Basalt provide?

Marieke Paping: Rijndam Rehabilitation offers medical specialist rehabilitation care at nineteen locations in the region of Rijnmond, Drechtsteden and Gorinchem. We provide this care for both child and adult rehabilitation for a wide range of diagnoses. Focal points are non-congenital brain injury, spinal cord injury and child rehabilitation.

Marco Schults: As the largest rehabilitation centre in the Netherlands, Basalt provides specialist medical rehabilitation in the South Holland region for both adults and children. This involves inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for a wide range of neurological disorders, such as brain injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

What is your role in this as Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO)?

Marco Schults: I think through the information processing issues at a strategic level. I offer advice in this area to the Board of Directors and the Basalt medical staff.

Marieke Paping: My role was created in 2017/2018. At that point, I noticed we were not making the most of the advancing digitisation in healthcare. I became CMIO in 2018, with the primary goal of making the benefits of digitisation available to Rijndam for the patient file as well as in other areas. Just like Marco, I think through issues at a strategic level and consult with medical staff and management.

Why were Basalt and Rijndam looking for a new EMR?

Marco Schults: The first reason is a practical one: soon our current EMR will no longer be supported. This is the case for both Basalt and Rijndam Rehabilitation. Another factor is that the current EMR is very limited in terms of functionality. This is why we wanted a new EMR that meets the current requirements of the healthcare sector.

Marieke Paping: In this quest for digital progress, we have sought out alternatives along with a number of other institutions within rehabilitation care.

Why did you ultimately choose HiX?

Marieke Paping: This was preceded by a careful and extensive selection procedure in which we compared different EMRs. Important points for us were the user-friendliness of HiX and the fact that a number of our practitioners had already become familiar with HiX in the hospitals. We also know there is a professional user group working on innovations within the EMR. In addition, the hospitals in the Rijnmond region all work with HiX. This means that future exchange of data with those hospitals will be easier. Of course we also considered ease of use, functionality, the scope of the system and the costs.

Marco Schults: The scheduling options were also an important factor. The scheduling process within rehabilitative medicine requires more from a system than scheduling in a hospital. For us, another appealing aspect of HiX is that we have an EMR in the form of a cloud solution.

Why is this cloud solution important for you?

Marco Schults: This cloud solution is particularly important to our ICT department. A cloud solution is vastly easier in terms of maintenance and management than a 'normal' solution that runs on the servers of the healthcare facility itself.

Marieke Paping: We had previously stated in our strategic information plan that we would like to outsource management and storage. As a small institution, we lack the ability to be up-to-date in this area. We would like to be relieved of these concerns, and that's what this cloud solution offers.

What positive results do you expect from HiX in the workplace? 

Marco Schults: I expect that we will spend much less time reporting and will be able to exchange data more easily with our own colleagues and other healthcare facilities. I also expect that our patients will be able to view their own data more easily. 

Marieke Paping: Yes, I'm also counting on our practitioners to be faster with administration, partly because they can use quick texts, templates and the intelligence that is built into the file. The time this saves us can be spent on patients in other ways. We hope to make more and more file information accessible and transparent for the patient. Another excellent feature, of course, is that everything is part of one integrated system, including the invoicing and scheduling system.

How important is this scheduling system within the EMR?

Marieke Paping: Scheduling is crucial in rehabilitative care. Rehabilitation differs from hospital care in this respect, as Marco has already indicated. In particular, you want all patient treatments, from multiple disciplines, to be offered in an integrated manner. This means you need a scheduling module that allows for the correct treatments, with the correct intervals, to be linked together in the correct order. We hope to work with ChipSoft to set this up so that HiX can help us find the right solutions at all times.

Choosing one integrated EPR for multiple locations also means you are moving towards more uniformity in work processes. How do you feel about that?

Marco Schults: Uniformity is not an end in itself; it's a means to improve the quality of care. Standardising processes makes it much easier to exchange data, which optimises the quality of care. If you standardise processes it's also much easier to have staff working at different locations. This means you are not as restricted in the deployment of staff across locations.

We will undoubtedly have to get used to the concept of "standard content", because a common idea is that customisation offers many advantages over standard content, but I think that with standard content we can get much more out of the EMR. This demands a lot from our staff, but in the end it yields numerous benefits for us and for the patients.

Marieke Paping: Rijndam has grown enormously over the years, with various departments. We're now noticing that in some departments, different treatment plans are offered for the same diagnosis. We can use this period to create consistency. This will certainly also make it easier to take over each other's work and allow staff to switch desks. All in all, I am really looking forward to the arrival of HiX.