Patient care within the public healthcare sector received a boost this week with the announcement that local health tech company Healthcent will be offering a free to use package to its practitioners.
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic; Groote Schuur and Red Cross Children’s Hospital are first to sign on to Signapps Serve.
Signapps Serve, the mobile care coordination platform, facilitates communication between the various medical providers enabling them to share vital patient data for better decision making. The platform places the patient front and centre of the care process. Medical files and updates can be recorded and shared confidentially, enabling appropriate responses by providers.
“Despite the fact that Signapps offers good value, cost and access to finance is an issue for most public sector facilities. We wanted more patients in South Africa to benefit from the improved care our platform facilitates,” says Andrew Davies, CEO of Signapps.
The paediatric burns unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital was the first hospital to trial a BETA release of Signapps Serve in 2019 followed by the neuro psych unit at Groote Schuur. Since the official launch of the free package last week Red Cross Children’s Hospital‘s general surgery and transplants units have also signed on and a number of other hospitals have expressed keen interest.
“The overwhelming response to the launch of this package from the public sector has meant we are having to prioritise implementations,” Davies adds.
Commenting on the impact Signapps Serve has had on patient care within the Chris Hani Baragwanath’s paediatric burns unit Dr Ronell Parkhurst says: Over 600 children under the age of 10 with severe burn injuries are admitted to the unit annually.
With limited resources and a huge burden of disease, efficient communication between all the members of the team is essential. As a result of the improved communications, Signapps provides us, mortality rates have decreased and outcomes have improved, which has meant less pain and suffering for our vulnerable little patients.”
“Using Signapps Serve we are starting to capture structured data using digital forms, which has the potential to play a crucial role in understanding how to treat our patients more effectively,” Parkhurst adds.
Lack of digital infrasctructure
The lack of digital infrastructure in the public sector particularly in public hospitals means practitioners are keen to adopt any technology that can save them time, and drive better patient management and care.
“Poor communication in healthcare is a massive problem both locally and globally. International studies show that 70% of all preventable mishaps occur as a result of miscommunication or no communication, at a cost estimated to run into hundreds of billions of dollars,” Davies says.
Typically, patient care within both the private and public sectors tends to be siloed, and managed by a hierarchy of practitioners of different experience levels. In the public sector, senior members of the care team tend to be located off site.
Signapps allows these team members to manage and provide their input remotely from a mobile device without having to be physically present.
Professor John Joska, head of Groote Schuur’s neuro psych unit says: “As a team communication and patient-centred collaboration tool, Signapps ensures that all team members receive patient updates in real-time. It allows us to clarify roles and responsibilities on a day-to-day basis and capture critical data. In our system this is key to efficient patient care, and ultimately throughput in a high-pressure environment. All of this happens on your mobile device.”
Medico legal claim cover
Another major advantage of Signapps Serve is that it will go a long way in addressing public sector weaknesses in patient record keeping.
Currently, the absence of, or difficulty in obtaining, critical patient records timeously, renders state health departments defenceless against the swelling tide of medico legal claims. A 2018 study estimated these to amount to over R69bn in just six of the country’s nine provinces.
“The financial risks these pose to provincial departments of health are huge. Were these claims to be paid out, the ability of these departments to continue to serve their communities would be brought into question,” Davies says.
Signapps Serve facilitates the storage of all patient records in the cloud, which can be retrieved in the case of a malpractice suit.
While Signapps Serve limits the number of active patients whose care can be coordinated at any one time to 20, as well as the number of form templates available to capture data about patients, Davies believes the offering is more than adequate to meet the needs of most government hospital departments.
“Should they have a requirement to process more patients or capture more data, the option would be made available to them to upgrade to one of our enterprise packages,” Davies says.
Signapps is currently used by over 40 hospitals (public and private) and hospital groups, practices, associations and funders of care throughout South Africa. The platform is compliant with POPI, National Health and HPCSA regulations. and is designed to overcome the many communication challenges involved in coordinating patient care.
Issued by Pleiades Media