JiveX in the Haagland Medical Center (HMC)

  • Robin Hoogduin - Alphatron

In general, our Netherlands neighbors are a step ahead of us in the matters of digitalization and standardization of health IT. But naturally even here the hospitals are faced with great challenges when it comes to intelligent consolidation of medical data, reduction of the workload of specialists and enhancement of the quality of care.

In the Haagland Medical Center in The Hague, HMC for short, these challenges became particularly acute with the merger of three hospitals, culminating in the present HMC. This happened a good six years ago, and in the meantime it has been possible to consolidate data, to harmonize processes and to organize workflows more efficiently on the whole. How did this happen? This was discussed by employees of the Netherlands partner company of VISUS, i.e. Alphatron, with Robin Hoogduin, Chief Information Officer of the HMC.

How was the IT-related initial situation when you began your job a good six years ago as CIO for the newly founded HMC?

There was a considerable need to catch up in the area of digitalization, which had resulted from an investment backup in all three hospitals that were being merged at that time. And the operative consolidation did not make the situation better, because now information, data and IT infrastructures from three hospitals had to be consolidated. This was also a financial challenge. The first thing we did was to concentrate on harmonizing the operative business. Only then were we able to focus on the strategic alignment of the IT and to implement it. An important building block in this respect was the introduction of a uniform, central image archive. Before we were able to invite bids for this, however, we first had to convince General Management to provide the financial resources.

How did you manage that?

We demonstrated quite clearly the opportunities and the risks associated with the existence or non-existence of a central image archive. You have to realize: At that time the medical image data of the patients within the HMC were stored in more than 100 local devices. Quite considerable risks were associated with this, such as the question of where data were located and which, the uncertainty of the medical personnel as to whether all available information was actually being used for the therapy decision and also the concern of making a medical decision not based on the most up-to-date image data. In short: The likelihood of medical errors was high and the quality of care suffered. A further important point was compliance with data protection requirements within the entire organization. We needed intelligent reporting concepts in order to ensure that only authorized persons could have access to the sensitive health data.
Against this background, even Executive Management clearly understood that we needed central data retention. Ultimately, central data retention also saves time and creates personnel resources for other more important tasks in care.

To what extent are resources being saved and quality increased by central data retention?

Let's take a look at Oncology, for example. Here is where different disciplines, sometimes from different institutions, work together and bundle their know-how. For this purpose it is of decisive importance that all actors – from the radiologist through the surgeon to the radiation therapist  – have access to identically reliable image data. A further point is maintenance of a high level of care in the coming years. We know that the demand for nursing services will grow due to the demographic change. At the same time, we see ourselves confronted with a shortage of specialists. We must also find ways to organize the processes so reliably and efficiently by means of IT that fewer personnel are able to provide more services with equal quality. After all, we cannot afford to search for data, call up various software systems or call somewhere to ask for images. We will use this time to treat people.

You ultimately opted for JiveX Healthcare Content Management (HCM) as the central image archive. What parameters did you list in the bid invitation, what convinced you of JiveX?

We had an extensive requirements catalog. One very important requirement was connection of the central archive to the electronic patient records. In the shortlist we ultimately had five bidders, who constructed test installations. On that basis we tested the functionalities and evaluated them on a scale. Naturally we included the users in this process. And although the price played a central role and the bid of Alphatron for JiveX was not the most favorable, we opted for that solution. The reason was the enormously good resonance and acceptance of the users, who were able to work best with JiveX – and that's ultimately what happened in practice. From the IT viewpoint, the high interoperability was decisive. When we want to make further progress with digitalization, we need systems that are able to communicate with one another. For this we need standards, and that's what JiveX is based on.

How has the project progressed?

Such a large project is still a challenge for everyone involved. We are encountering obstructions that we did not foresee. In the case of JiveX, it also played a role that the software will be developed in Germany and for requirements in the German health system. We also had to make some adaptations, in order to be able to adhere to the requirements of the Netherlands hospital landscape. This has not been a problem, however, because the cooperation between Alphatron and VISUS functions very well. All in all, we have been fully satisfied.

Many thanks for the interview.

Download the user report as PDF here