Is your hospital information system a “6”? Learn more from Pr KOLH + HIMSS Liege (28-29/3/17)

February 9, 2017
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HIMSS is of course known for its annual American health IT conference and HIMSS17 will be taking place in Orlando from February 19-23. But CHU de LiègeHIMSS has been active in Europe as well since 2007.  HIMSS Liège is one month after HIMSS17, on March 28 and 29 in Belgium. It’s “the” Health IT event of the Benelux and northern France regions. With sessions in English, French, and Dutch, as well as a guided tour of the University Hospital of Liege, this event will bring together key European health stakeholders. HIMSS Liège is organised in partnership with HIMSS Europe, the University Hospital of Liège and the University of Liège.

I was delighted to interview Professor Philippe Kolh of the University Hospital of Liege, who is a HIMSS expert and international board member. Professor KOLH brings a rare multi-disciplinary perspective to eHealth. To cite just a few of his professional activities at the University Hospital of Liege, Professor Kolh is a cardiovascular surgeon, a professor of physiology and biochemistry, a researcher, a CIO, and head of the Medico-Economic Department.

DS: Professor Kolh, you are, like our readers, a very busy person; yet, you have been very devoted to and involved in setting up the HIMSS Liège Congress. What is the interest and attraction of this event?

PK:  Thanks for the question. I recommend that all stakeholders that are interested in Health IT participate for two reasons. The first is that the theme is CCMM or the « Continuity of Care Maturity Model ». This model puts the patient in the center and supports the development of telemedicine and the reduction of hospitalisations. Thanks to the interconnectivity of information systems, all information that concerns the patient, whether from our hospital or other sources, will be included in the electronic medical record. The patient can add her own data, if she wishes. And the second reason to attend is the visit of our University Hospital at the end of the afternoon on March 28. This visit will enable everyone to contrast and compare Liege with other hospitals.

DS: Yes, the University Hospital of Liège just reached Level 6 of the EMRAM scale. Can you explain what this is, because this scale is less known in Europe?

PK: With pleasure. The University Hospital of Liege was recognised in November 2016, as a Level 6 hospital by EMRAM which stands for Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model. EMRAM is an international evaluation method that was created by HIMSS. HIMSS does more than events, as you know, with a branch devoted to these analytics. While many people may only know of the HIMSS congress, EMRAM is very important. I know of no other system besides EMRAM that enables hospitals to compare their progress in IT.

The scale goes to 7, but no hospital has reached that “paperless” level so far. We are only two establishments in Belgium to have reached Level 6, Liège and the University Hospital of Brussels. Our goal in Liège is to reach Level 7 by 2018.

EMRAM measures the quality of information systems and their electronic medical record. The clinician gains access to decision support systems. And prescription quality is improved. Prescription alerts are generated by drug interactions or an incompatibility between the drug and the patient, such as kidney function, pregnancy, and the prescriber has the option of finding an alternative.

In addition, if there is an electronic medical record for the patient, the nurse can do a cross-matching, meaning that the barcode on the patient’s bracelet and on the medicine to be taken, must be identical. This ensures the “five Rights”: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right time, the right method of administration.

DS: What is coming next in Health IT or eHealth? It looks like progress is accelerating but there is still so much to do at the hospital level, before Artificial Intelligence, for example, can be integrated. What’s your opinion?

PK: I’ve been following HIMSS in Europe since it started in 2007, and I see that so much has been accomplished, indeed. Even if only 50 hospitals have reached Level 6 in Europe so far, we now know that information systems are indispensable.  And before we can personalise treatment via genomic analysis, we must at least be able to manage electronic prescriptions and electronic medical records.

We can’t move from paper to artificial intelligence and genomics in one step!