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by Dr. Ali Al Sanousi
Published on January 25, 2017

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in Doha, Qatar, have been working with Cerner to create a one-of-a-kind implementation and country-wide electronic health record (EHR).

Dr. Ali Al Sanousi, Executive Chief Medical Information Officer at HMC, and Alexandra Tarazi, Executive Director of Health Information Systems at PHCC share their thoughts on the benefits the new system is offering to the clinicians’ day to day job and elevating the patient’s experience.

Over the last four years we have deployed a full suite of clinical, administrative and financial solutions across eight different hospitals, 23 health centers and a variety of clinics and other venues of care. The two health systems together serve more than 90 percent of the country’s population of 2.3 million people.

The people of Qatar are fortunate to have this type of system. Having a longitudinal, nationwide implementation will definitely foster healthcare and improve outcomes, patient care, academic training and medical research.

Reducing sepsis mortality

Our EHR, known by users as the Clinical Information System (CIS), has already proven to be instrumental in improving patient safety. Embedded in CIS is the Cerner St John Sepsis Agent, which constantly monitors inpatients for deteriorating vital signs, organ dysfunction and potential sepsis. The algorithm alerts clinicians when a patient’s vital signs suggest the onset of sepsis, which enables the care team to intervene earlier.

At Al Khor Hospital, nearly 40 percent of the patients with an alert for SIRS were progressing to a more serious sepsis alert. Within 11 months of implementing the algorithm, that percentage dropped to 17 percent. By alerting clinicians early of patients at risk of sepsis, the algorithm has helped save approximately 64 lives.

Improving efficiency and eliminating errors

In addition to improving patient safety, our CIS has also increased clinical efficiency by integrating more than 2,500 lab and bedside medical devices and making all the necessary information available in one place.

In addition to improving clinician workflow, the CIS also benefits patients by preventing medication errors. Together, we have more than 10,000 nurses who use barcode scanners that feed right into the CIS. This helps nurses administer the right medication to the right patient at the right time.

After the introduction of barcode scanners, it is now very easy for nurses not to make a mistake with the medication administration. Nurses can verify with themselves and with the system that the medication they are administering to the patient is correct.

A leader in the region and the world

HMC and PHCC are considered two of the leading health systems in the Middle East, and with the CIS in place, they have received international recognition. In March 2016, HMC became the first health system in the world to have all of its hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) under the Academic Medical Centre program. The functionalities built into the CIS enable clinicians to maintain the highest standards of quality.

In addition, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics has recently announced that HMC’s Heart Hospital and the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, have achieved the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM) Stage 6 distinction, an international benchmark for the use of advanced IT to improve patient care. This is the first HIMSS Analytics Stage 6 achievement in Qatar – an achievement we are truly proud of.

Successful implementations

To ensure a successful deployments with dozens of facilities and thousands of clinicians, PHCC designed its own strategic process. One week before each implementation the informatics team would conduct a dress rehearsal to simulate the patient’s journey through 12 different scenarios.

Training clinicians working through each scenario with a patient actor allowed end users to familiarize themselves with the system while the informatics team identified any errors with infrastructure, equipment and software.

In the first implementation, we recorded almost 300 lessons learned. By the end, we reduced the lessons learned to one digit, and this is due to communicating the lessons learned with every health center that was scheduled to go live.

With the entire system live, HMC and PHCC clinicians look forward to transforming health care for the entire population of Qatar.

Implementing an advanced electronic medical record like Cerner is the starting point for innovation. Together, we can improve the applications and reach our goal of having the patient in the center of care and make the patient’s experience better.

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