Health system digitalization to advance efficiency, safety

Health Ministry director-general announces the changes at a meeting of hospital and health fund directors; regulations will be formalized at the end of 2013.

man in hospital bed with nurse 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
man in hospital bed with nurse 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Time will be saved, red tape will be cut and the quality of care will be improved by the end of 2015, when the requirement of getting a paid referral letter (Tofes 14) from one’s health fund, hospital discharge and doctors’ instructions will be completely digitized.
Health Ministry director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu announced the changes at a meeting on Tuesday of hospital and health fund directors at the National Institute for Health Services and Health Policy Research in Tel Hashomer.
Regulations will be formalized at the end of 2013, followed two years later by implementation in all medical institutions.
People who are ill or otherwise need healthcare will not have to run from one office of medical secretaries at their health fund to another to transfer referrals in person.
They need only set an appointment that is convenient for them. Computerized instructions and reports received by nurses from doctors will reduce medical errors by making them easier to read and better for implementation.
The computerized systems will sound a buzzer or other warning system to prevent patients from getting the wrong medications, the wrong doses and conflicts with allergies and other sensitivities to prescribed drugs. The electronic medical file will contain all diagnoses, drug prescriptions and relevant medical information.
In addition, the ministry will for the first time create national catalogues for medications and medical diagnosis to make interaction more uniform among professionals.
Gamzu said he regarded the changes as a major step toward efficiency and an improved healthcare system.
As the first step, a steering committee of professionals representing hospitals and health funds will be established.
A list of clinical standards will be set to ensure quality. Details that identify non-Israeli residents or visits will be typed in, edited and stored for use when needed; this is in addition to the many uses by Israeli residents.
Allergies to drugs and safe medications will be stored without needing regular input by patients. All this will done with privacy to protect patients. Drug dosages will be suited to patients according to their age, condition and liver and kidney conditions.
Patients will be asked to give their permission to transfer clinical data between organizations such as hospitals, health funds and outpatient clinics, with the resident getting all necessary details he wants.
As Israel already has many computerized medical records in the system compared to many US and European systems, the new arrangements will further advance the level of healthcare compared to those in other countries.