South Karelia Social and Healthcare District (Eksote), established in 2010, provides health services, family, and social welfare services. Eksote comprises the healthcare and social care services of nine municipalities in the region of South Karelia with a district population of about 132,000. Eksote aims to ensure equal access to social and health care services for all citizens, across municipal boundaries, with better co-operation between different social and healthcare organizations.
The relatively new organization tackled one of the challenges it had faced: data visibility across the different organizational units and services. Although combining the services helped with data transparency, this visibility was really just limited to central patient records. When a patient enters the Eksote healthcare system they typically encounter a number of different people before a diagnosis is reached and an effective care plan is put in place.
Toni Suihko, CIO for Eksote, explains: “One of our goals is to discharge patients from hospital as soon as possible and provide care in the comfort of their own home or in a health center. With a joined-up care approach we can achieve this. There are so many logistics issues concerning patients, we felt that if we could automate some of our key processes, this would help provide transparency across the whole organization and support team collaboration.”
An acute issue was the amount of time it was taking to discharge patients from hospital, creating a bottleneck in the system. As luck would have it, Chainalytics visited Eksote and told the team about Micro Focus Solutions Business Manager (SBM). This allows organizations to rapidly create process-based applications. SBM appealed to Suihko as it fit the agile development model they used: “We looked at other process-driven platforms, but found them expensive and geared towards taking a ‘big project’ approach. We much prefer to work flexibly and start different process projects in an agile development structure. SBM fit that vision very well.”
Chainalytics specializes in logistics and supply chain management, and worked with Eksote to quickly develop a pilot which could address the hospital discharge problem. Within four weeks the pilot application was up and running and when Eksote realized the potential, it was fully live within two months. Jukka Corpela, Business Manager with Chainalytics explains: “Many hospital patients move to health centers for further treatment or rehabilitation. We developed a process to connect the patients in the discharge queue directly with health centers. Transparent for all involved, we managed to clear the backlog really quickly. It opened our eyes to the potential we had with SBM.”
To assess patients’ needs, a number of different Eksote services and units are typically involved; especially for the elderly or those with mental health issues. For a child diagnosed with ADHD for instance, a doctor, nurse, school nurse, school teachers, parents, and of course the patient themselves, all need to have visibility into the treatment plan. This was all managed manually in the past and it was difficult to connect everyone. Using SBM, an automated step-by-step process has been introduced to ensure optimum care. The process is integrated into an electronic medical record system for ease of use.
The development process has been designed with the end user in mind, according to Suihko: “All process stakeholders are invited to provide input directly to the Chainalytics developers in a hands-on session where the process is sketched out and developers can show how automation can help. Rather than IT-focused, this session is all about the process. Issues are ironed out on the fly and existing processes are optimized. The resulting SBM process-driven application is designed entirely to the specification of the people actually using it in the field.”
Eksote’s 3,500 users of the SBM-developed processes experience the benefits daily. Suihko: “Streamlining processes through SBM helps us support elderly people in their own homes for longer, and ensures full collaboration between all services involved in a patients’ care.”
Corpela adds: “The agile development works particularly well with SBM. Eksote has been a real pioneer in this area of joined-up healthcare and we are delighted that more organizations are adopting this as a best-practice example. Through sharing our knowledge we are now covering the care for all elderly people in Finland.”
Suihko concludes: “SBM and Chainalytics helped us solve some very real problems. We are pleased with the results and are still only at the beginning of our journey with SBM.”
Streamlining processes through SBM helps us support elderly people in their own homes for longer, and ensures full collaboration between all services involved in a patients’ care.
The agile development works particularly well with SBM. Eksote has been a real pioneer in this area of joined-up healthcare and we are delighted that more organizations are adopting this as a best-practice example.