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A combination of industry-specific and technical knowledge ensures smooth implementation of new electronic health records at UZA

Published on Tuesday, July 18th 2023


Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) has successfully implemented new electronic health records (EHR) through a combination of industry-specific and technical expertise. The hospital asked Inetum Belgium to support it through this critical transition.

“Inetum Belgium’s experts provide quality service and have a wealth of knowledge of the healthcare industry. Given our industry’s specific challenges, that expertise is very welcome. Progress is faster, as they are already familiar with our context. We tend to use a lot of abbreviations during conversations, for instance. Furthermore, they can alert us to untapped potential or efficiency opportunities in our work processes. I am delighted that we have discovered such a valuable business partner with industry-specific knowledge.”

Marianne Dubaere, EHR Manager at UZA

Electronic health records as the heart of the hospital

UZA is a university medical center that offers excellent clinical and customer-friendly patient care in over 90 specialties. Since June 2021, UZA has been using new EHR that can be accessed by all relevant healthcare providers as well as the actual patients, anywhere and any time. Patients can consult their own medical records and interact with their UZA care team through the UZA@home patient portal.

Critical transition

UZA began implementing EPD Millennium in 2016, but the project was repeatedly postponed due to its scope and the subsequent COVID period. Their original intention was to take everything live at once, so as to be able to resume normal business as quickly as possible. In the end, from 2019, the hospital engaged Inetum-Realdolmen as a partner to support it through this transition. Our experts provided support relating to project governance, project management and change management. Our business and functional analysts also made good use of their healthcare industry knowledge to address the technical challenges.

“Together, we had the synergies required to allow the project to be completed by the go-live date. Industry knowledge made all the difference. What’s more, there was also a positive snowball effect. We can turn to Inetum Belgium’s experts for support with other IT projects besides our EHR implementation,” says Dubaere.

Don’t lose sight of the people

“I would definitely advise other hospitals to pay sufficient attention to change management. It is crucial for people to become aware of the changes and adapt to more uniform ways of working. People are often not prepared for that, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about the impact on processes several years before your implementation. It is important to adapt those processes before the new package’s actual implementation, or you’ll be wasting a lot of time getting your staff on board,” says Dubaere, continuing:

“The hospital needs to assume its responsibility for such a big change and implementation, and not just approach it as an IT thing. It is an organizational adjustment and should be driven by management. Inetum Belgium’s change managers provided UZA’s portfolio managers with the necessary training to support them through these major changes. They proactively proposed training sessions and our experience of them was very positive. We will be sure to include follow-up sessions for new employees.”

An inspiring future-proof partnership

“A major challenge hospitals are facing today is the shortage of healthcare workers. Digitizing is vital in order to make care more efficient and do more with fewer people. We will be counting on Inetum Belgium’s expertise to help us with our further digitizing efforts at UZA,” says Dubaere.

“Inetum Belgium also actively encourages dialogue, for example by organizing roundtable discussions with our industry’s most important players about the future of care . Internally, too, their teams work to further expand their knowledge and keep it up to date. They organize monthly ‘quick healthy bites’ sessions, during which they discuss healthcare challenges and share interesting ideas and experiences, not only in healthcare, but also regarding other tools and apps that could prove useful. I also appreciate that they are willing to engage in dialogue with the government, to promote standardization across healthcare institutions and aim for basic packages for more efficient budget use. They have made a study of the government’s e-health roadmap and FHIR. In short, they proactively work to adapt as business partners, in response to both government and hospital trends and expectations,” concludes Dubaere.

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