New electronic health record system gives concrete benefits for the regions
Three out of five Danish regions now handle their patient data in the same electronic health record system which they helped to develop themselves. This offers both financial and practical benefits for healthcare professionals, patients and the regions.
When the last hospitals in the Region of Southern Denmark implemented the new electronic health record (EHR) system on 29 May 2022, Systematic’s solution – Columna CIS – became the most widespread EHR system in Denmark. At the hospitals in Central Denmark Region, North Denmark Region and the Region of Southern Denmark, Columna CIS is now the main IT tool for approx. 60,000 doctors, nurses and secretaries. The staff use the system to handle patient data, health records, drugs, test results and notes etc. for more than half of the Danish population.
The regions might call the EHR system by different names, but behind designations such as ‘EPJ SYD’, ‘MidtEPJ’ and ‘NordEPJ’ is one and the same electronic health record system – Systematic’s Columna CIS. The solution was originally developed through a collaboration between health professionals from Central Denmark Region and Systematic. The acting head of Corporate Management at Central Denmark Region, Jørgen Schøler Kristensen, was involved from the outset when the system was first being developed in 1999. He sees a number of obvious benefits in the fact that three Danish regions are using the same solution to handle patient data.
“For example, when it comes to developing new functionality in the system, we are now three regions who can share the development work and funding. This means that we get more IT for our money. At the same time, it’s a big advantage that staff who switch jobs between the regions are already familiar with the system and are therefore soon up and running in their new role,” he explains.
Lars Hagerup, CIO at Odense University Hospital, agrees: “It’s an advantage that the solutions look more uniform, and that the three regions can share resources together in requirements specifications, design, training etc. Ultimately, it’s a big plus if we can use our resources more efficiently and join forces when developing solutions,” he says.
A coherent health service
The use of Columna CIS by the Danish regions also opens the door to increased cooperation with the municipalities. Today, 34 Danish municipalities use Systematic’s electronic care record system Columna Cura in the care and social sector.
It makes it easy to access and exchange data between hospitals and the municipalities’ care and rehabilitation services, because the two systems have a common basic structure. This is an important step on the way to a more coherent health service where patients are in focus – from when they are admitted to and discharged from hospital, followed by referral to care and rehabilitation in their own home or in a municipal institution. At the same time, all the preventive measures can be adapted to the individual citizen. This is in line with the new proposition from the Danish Medical Association – ‘Digitalisation – use doctors more efficiently’, which recommends more smart digital solutions that can free up time and increase flexibility in the healthcare sector.
By sharing information easily across sectors, healthcare professionals have a stronger basis for making better and faster decisions, says Senior Vice President at Systematic, Henrik Jespersen.
“Denmark – and especially the Danish health service – has made great strides with digitalisation. However, Danish patients continue to find that they have to provide the same data several times during their treatment, for example when the treatment is transferred from the hospital to the municipality. By gathering the data flows, we can give staff an overview more quickly and a better starting point for having a dialogue with the patient. Rapid insight into the patient’s diagnosis and medical history helps to ensure, among other things, higher quality and flexibility throughout their treatment,” he explains.
Increased mobility and treatment in own home
Klaus Larsen, CIO at North Denmark Region, emphasises that the new system will benefit citizens to a considerable extent. He is looking forward to the regions in Jutland having better possibilities for offering citizens treatment in their own homes:
“With an EHR system that meets today’s requirements for a modern health IT platform, we can create more digital health services in the form of mobile and telemedical solutions which can be adapted to the individual needs of our citizens. Several Danish regions are already targeting their efforts to offer different types of in-home treatment that disrupt the daily lives of citizens to the least possible extent,” he says.
Mobility has already been increased so that healthcare professionals can access information with their mobile devices and revise data in real time. “For example, using their portable devices, doctors can prescribe drugs or get the latest updates on test results at the click of a button. This frees up time which they would otherwise have spent sitting in an office and accessing the data there,” explains Henrik Jespersen.
Danish solutions for the world market
When Jørgen Schøler Kristensen looks at things from an international perspective, he expects a digital transformation to take place within the EU which places greater demands on electronic health systems, so that all EU citizens have easier access to their own data. He sees lots of opportunities in this development. Parts of Systematic’s Columna CIS are already running in half a dozen other countries, and Henrik Jespersen confirms that there is a growing level of interest in the solution:
“We’re seeing considerable international interest in the joint EHJ solution, as well as in some of the individual modules which make up Columna. We’ve sold Columna solutions to Scandinavia, Scotland and Australia, and most recently the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority has bought Systematic’s IoT platform for its 20 hospitals. At the same time, several hospitals in both Denmark and abroad want to participate and contribute to our innovation activities,” he says.
Innovation and collaboration are at the heart of the regions’ new patient record system. This is the fruit of the long and solid collaboration which has taken place between Systematic and health professionals from the Danish regions, and Henrik Jespersen is delighted at how the regions and their citizens are enjoying the financial and practical benefits offered by the joint IT system.