On 29 January 2021, ChipSoft's electronic health record (EHR) HiX went live in Ziekenhuis Geel, a hospital in the city of Geel, Belgium. The implementation was challenging, as it was carried out in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. With a limited team of IT experts, the hospital managed to successfully complete the implementation project. IT manager Karl Hanegreefs explains why the integrated EHR is such an improvement, not only for the IT department, but also for the care professionals.

Positive impact of a single integrated EHR

'We're 100% sure that the EHR will be a big improvement. The integration of all departments is the most important advantage of this implementation. Previously, some of our departments used different, separate solutions. A single integrated EHR allows the entire hospital staff to see the same patient data, which facilitates direct communication between physicians, nurses, and secretaries.

Physicians no longer need to pick up the phone whenever they have a question, because now they have a patient record that is always up to date for every patient, so they know what to do right away. Before, care professionals sometimes had to open three or four different applications to get a complete overview of the necessary information. Now, they can directly do so with just a few clicks. This translates into more efficiency and better care for patients.

From in-house software to ChipSoft's pre-configured content

We used to have separate modules, made here in the hospital and tailored to the needs of whoever worked with it. This gave us the freedom to adapt the functionality to the preferences of the end users in question: the pain clinic, the emergency department, nurses… The implementation of pre-configured content forced everybody to make compromises. In some places, we had to make changes to our working methods and in other places, ChipSoft had to accommodate to our wishes. We managed to find proper compromises and solutions for all issues.

The training courses for end users helped them to better understand the software and increased user involvement throughout the hospital. End users who initially had some doubts about the pre-configured content now also see the benefits. And once they saw for themselves that they can still easily adjust the EHR to their own preferences and working processes, they were quickly convinced to start working with it.

Involving the entire organisation in application management

The pre-configured content lowers the burden of management for us, because ChipSoft takes care of configuring the application. We've also started to organise application management in the hospital itself differently. Two managers are responsible for software support, the rest of the IT staff share responsibility for various other tasks, like installing software, server maintenance, and interfacing.

We have HiX key users in the organisation who have thoroughly studied the software and are highly skilled. They are responsible for the configuration of certain functionalities, which means they make the appointment templates, for example. It's a relief that the management is no longer the responsibility of only the IT department, but that this responsibility is shared with nurses, dieticians, administrative staff, you name it. This not only eases the burden of application management on the IT staff, but also increases involvement throughout the organisation.

This implementation has been an interesting learning experience for all of us: challenges make life interesting. Given the circumstances, we can be very proud of ourselves for achieving this result. And new challenges are already on the horizon. In a few months, we will launch the Care Portal, which will ease communication and allow us to involve external care workers and patients in treatments.'