10 December 2017

Development of CUHK Medical Centre into Hong Kong’s First Digital Smart Hospital

The CUHK Medical Centre (CUHKMC) is expected to commence services in 2020 and will be developed into the city’s first fully digitalised smart hospital. Making use of advanced information and communications technology (ICT), CUHKMC aims to improve patient outcomes, maintain a high level of overall operational efficiency, and provide quality healthcare services to the patients.

Dr. FUNG Hong, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of CUHKMC, said, “We are striving to develop CUHKMC into a fully digitalised smart hospital, which encompasses 3 main elements and purposes (refer to Appendix 1). First, with a fully electronic and paperless medical record system, we hope to offer seamless healthcare services, with continuity, to our patients. It will enable us to coordinate our team of healthcare professionals to provide integrative services and promote the effectiveness of treatment. Second, mobile ICT and real-time data will support and facilitate a smooth patient treatment process, and at the same time allow closer communication between patients and our doctors and nurses. Third, with the application of the Internet of Things (IoT), a management system can be established to integrate information from different systems and devices, thereby enhancing the efficiency of hospital operations and services.”

Electronic medical record integrates caring processes

In the course of designing the electronic medical record system, CUHKMC makes reference to the experiences of the Hospital Authority (HA). The fully electronic and paperless medical record system will cover all care and treatment processes, including nursing records, treatment workflows and clinical decision support. Dr. Fung anticipates that by the time the hospital begins operating in 2020, CUHKMC will have achieved the Stage 6 standard of the Healthcare Information Management System Society (HIMSS) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM). Following that, the hospital aims to attain Stage 7 accreditation within the first 2-3 years of operations, ultimately fulfilling the aim of becoming fully paperless in patient care (refer to Appendix 2). CUHKMC will also concomitantly integrate with the Government’s Electronic Health Record Sharing System (eHRSS). Currently, only 5% of hospitals in the United States and seven hospitals in mainland China have achieved the HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7 accreditation.

As part of the development of a fully electronic medical record system, CUHKMC will establish Closed-loop Systems for the high-risk or critical medical procedures, such as drug management, blood transfusion and pathology investigation (refer to Appendix 3). These systems will provide real-time information to healthcare professionals, and monitor each key step in the treatment processes to ensure full compliance with safety standards, minimise unnecessary steps and improve treatment outcomes.

Implement medical record sharing at a one-stop service platform

In conjunction with the application of mobile ICT, CUHKMC plans to set up an integrated mobile system which enables patients to make appointments, register, handle payments, check personal medical records, communicate with healthcare professionals and search for hospital directions at a one-stop service platform. Dr. Fung said, “People often perceive the hospital environment as a maze. We hope that, in future, CUHKMC patients will no longer need multiple referrals and enquiries to reach their doctors and contact the nurses who take care of them. They will be able to manage their own health through access to their own medical records, at ease.” (refer to Appendix 4

Utilise the Internet of Things to enhance efficiency

CUHKMC will use the Internet of Things to improve efficiency. Through deploying wi-fi network, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and bluetooth technologies into different areas, such as vital signs monitoring, drug management, material supplies, dispatch of uniforms, patient transfers, equipment management, patient location tracking and staff identification, the hospital operation workflows can be automated to reduce errors and to assist in communication between healthcare professionals and patients. From this, the physical and mental needs of patients will be more effectively and comprehensively attended to. (refer to Appendix 5)

Following an open tender process, CUHKMC has appointed Ewell Hong Kong Limited to implement the hospital information system and software applications required in the progress to building a fully digitalised smart hospital. Ewell Technology Co. Ltd, the parent company of Ewell Hong Kong Limited, is based in Hangzhou and is a leading company in the smart healthcare industry in mainland China. Ewell Technology Co. Ltd has assisted seven hospitals in mainland China in obtaining HIMSS EMRAM Stage 6 & 7 accreditation and two private hospitals in Hong Kong in establishing their clinical information systems.