The National Treatment Purchase Fund works to provide timely access to care for patients on waiting lists in Ireland.
As part of innovation-driven efforts to optimise efficiencies and ensure more patients receive the care they need faster, the government healthcare-run body appointed Dublin-based Spanish Point Technologies to develop a bespoke technology-based solution.
The result was the Patient Access Management System (PAMS) a cloud-based IT system built using Microsoft technologies to identify, track, and manage patient care information across public and private hospitals in Ireland. Several months after launch, PAMS is already delivering beyond expectations.
Public healthcare is widely available in the Republic of Ireland. And thanks to the NTPF – whose mission it is to provide timely access to appropriate care – many patients can receive care in a public or private hospital in Ireland.
However, there’s a vast amount of waiting list data which must be constantly organised and updated to ensure that the right patient is assigned to the right hospital and receives the right specialist care. The back end process of recording each patient’s individual status is equally important too, and prior to the new solution being implemented, information management and reporting was extremely time consuming.
“Spanish Point is a great company to partner with. Their use of Agile project management ensured that the project moved very quickly, from development to ‘go live’. We are looking forward to continuing to work with them.”Alison Green
Director process innovation, NTPF
The NTPF is always looking to improve the way patient data sets are handled. That’s why in January 2018 the organisation, held an Innovation Event to discuss ways technology could be used to optimise the organisation’s day-to-day activities – and to ultimately ensure that patients who had spent a long time on waiting lists could be seen as quickly as possible.
The resounding conclusion from the event was that a new IT system was needed to streamline data for the wide network of users – allowing them to access realtime patient information from both private and public hospitals; as well as giving them the ability to create custom reports. The system also had to be watertight from a security perspective, to ensure that every piece of personal data stored was protected in line with GDPR legislation.
Deciding to put out its IT contract to tender, the NTPF team conducted a thorough overview of the current situation, in order to identify the key requirements for the new system and to gauge the exact state of readiness.
They conducted onsite ‘Gemba’ walks (walking the workplace floor to better understand problems and identify where improvements could be made) in both public and private hospitals and held face-toface meetings and information sessions with various stakeholders – such as the Department of Health, HSE, and Hospital Groups.
After a competitive procurement process, the NTPF appointed Dublin-based Spanish Point Technologies as its official IT partner, who after conducting its own discovery phase, put forward PAMS – the Patient Access Management System – as a complete data access and management solution; one that offered all of the required scalability, security, and efficiency functionality the NTPF needed.
“We are really impressed with how quickly PAMS went from design and brainstorming to ‘go live’. The feedback from users both within the NTPF and in the external hospitals has been extremely positive. Patient information can be accessed more quickly and efficiently, the status of patients on their journey to care is visible at each stage, and PAMS reports are being used to drive improved performance.”Alison Green
Director process innovation, NTPF
PAMS went live on in May 2019. Due to the intuitive nature of PAMS users did not require training. However system support and user guides were made available to assist those using the system. By June, 40 public and 18 private hospitals participating in NTPF care initiatives were actively using the system.
The system continues to have a positive impact on patient care, data security, and improved efficiencies for users. To date, it has captured and provided significant patient-level information about those accessing care.
In addition, the NTPF has been able to make massive reductions in waiting times. As of October 2019, just 5 months after its launch, over 30,000 ‘Offers of Care’ had been issued to 41 public hospitals in Ireland via PAMS, 45% of which, have since been accepted.