One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare institutions today is making patients' information readily available without compromising their privacy.
Portugal's São João University Hospital Center is trying to do just that. Its patients' clinical records date back to 1959, amounting to a pile of documents (15,000 metres) almost twice as high as Mount Everest.
The Clinical Records Repository project
Officials at São João University Hospital Center were acutely aware that clinical records in different formats and not always available in real-time made it harder to diagnose diseases and treat patients accordingly. The Clinical Records Repository project enabled healthcare professionals to access their patients' clinical history in a digital format.
The project was implemented by the São João University Hospital Center, in partnership with the Portuguese Directorate-General of Books, Archives and Libraries (DGLAB), which was a co-promoter of the project. The aim was to identify and adopt best practices regarding digitization and digital preservation of clinical records, creating a blueprint that other healthcare institutions could follow.
The Clinical Records Repository was powered by RODA, an open-source technology developed by KEEP SOLUTIONS that implements the principles and specifications promoted by the European Commission’s eArchiving Building Block.
The São João University Hospital Center and KEEP SOLUTIONS worked together to develop a solution that met the needs of the projects. All the implementation work benefited from the different stakeholders' expertise, particularly the DGLAB, the co-promoter of the project, and INESC TEC (Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science), one of the project's consultants.
The support provided by the eArchiving Building Block
RODA is a digital repository developed by KEEP SOLUTIONS in cooperation with DGLAB, capable of incorporating, preserving, and providing access to all kinds of digital material produced by large public and private organizations. Its feature list covers all the functional units of the OAIS (Open Archival Information System) reference model, allowing the incorporated information to remain authentic and accessible over time. This solution implements the specifications and requirements defined by the eArchiving Building Block, an essential tool for the adoption and promotion of good digital preservation practices in Europe.
What is the eArchiving Building Block
eArchiving provides core specifications, software, training, and knowledge to help public and private organisations preserve and reuse information over the long term. Following international standards and specifications for digital packaging information enables organisations to transmit documents and data across borders for short-, medium- and long-term storage (and subsequent access and reuse), regardless of the platform they use. Having a standard set of open specifications for packaging and archiving digital information promotes transparency and confidence among all participants in the information lifecycle. With eArchiving, digital archival systems can implement reusable modular components compliant with various national legal backgrounds.
The project's impact on the daily activities of São João University Hospital Center
The most obvious benefit of the project is that clinicians are now able to access patient information 24/7. With the new system, it is now possible for several doctors to access the same patient file simultaneously, which would be infeasible with a paper document. Once a patient's clinical record produced on paper is available on the repository, it does not need to be physically recorded, filed, or requested again. This positively impacts the care clinicians are able to provide their patients, on the functioning of the hospital’s archival service and other administrative services. It is also important to note the project's impact on staff morale. It brought a change in how the hospital operates, which involved training and capacity building of human resources.
The processing and filing of documents was conducted according to international standards and good practices. The preparation, digitalization, and quality control of clinical records were meticulously carried out to insure the outcome would not be compromised.
How can CEF help you?
At the Connecting Europe Facility, we give you access to free tools, support, and funding to build your digital services. Below, some of the other Building Blocks you might be interested in.
Supports EU-wide cross-border public services using blockchain technology
Facilitates the preservation, migration, reuse, and trust of your information
Exchanges data and documents securely and reliably.
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