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Altron HealthTech, Dischem Oncology collaborate on standardising Electronic Health Record technology

The partnership will focus on reducing the cost of digital health infrastructure while increasing access to approved treatment protocols and clinical workflows alongside interoperability, patient access to health data and payment reforms.

Johannesburg, 28 Feb 2024
Gerard Augustine, Executive Sales, and Business Development, Altron HealthTech.
Gerard Augustine, Executive Sales, and Business Development, Altron HealthTech.

Cancer comes at a global cost of $895 billion a year. According to the Global Oncology Trends 2023 report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, the number of new cancer drugs released at a cost higher than $200 000 accounts for 44% of launches since 2019, and rare disease drugs can come at a cost of more than $20 000 a month. Spending on cancer medications has grown by 4% to $196 billion globally – a cost expected to reach $375 billion by 2027.

Into this expensive landscape steps the other challenges faced by oncologists and organisations within this sector. Digital health innovation remains relatively nascent in cancer care, despite the potential for transformation that lies within patient-facing technologies, safety and patient-clinician interactions. Clinicians and institutions require streamlined operations, service delivery and safety within an infrastructure capable of reducing costs, improving clinical outcomes and transforming clinical workflows and documentation.

Altron HealthTech and Dischem Oncology are collaborating on a solution designed to provide clinicians with access to digital health advances that can transform their infrastructure and reimagine their costs. Understanding that oncologists spend a large percentage of their time in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients while navigating persistent operational challenges, this collaboration aims to provide clinicians with the opportunity to standardise Electronic Health Record (EHR) data. It is a shift in approach that will allow for clinicians to enable interoperability, increase patient access and control of health data, and establish payment reforms to offset the costs of digital health infrastructure. It is also aimed at removing the lack of interoperability within EHR while providing clinicians with tools to help them work more efficiently with structured data.

The goal is to include structured data elements that standardise workflows and approved treatment protocols so clinicians gain access to critical data when required. These data elements are needed to understand the patient journey with greater clarity and the right technology can collate the data held in unstructured documents, such as clinician notes and diagnostic reports. By gathering all this data into a centralised ecosystem, it makes it possible for clinicians to gain access to critical data on demand and at speed. This can facilitate more efficient and safer care while supporting decision-making with relevant data and insights.

Success lies in several factors, the first being to ensure this technology doesn’t add to the already weighty admin burden felt by clinicians. The healthcare sector has a heavy administrative load that technology needs to resolve, not compound. The challenge is to find a way of navigating through the barriers currently inhibiting the broad deployment of digital health tools and smooth over the bumps in the digital road.

To move forward, the goal is to pay attention to solutions that seamlessly integrate or simplify clinician workflows; increase access to approved treatment protocols; simplify and streamline pharmacy dispensing and operations; and reduce the cost of technology infrastructure. This is precisely what the collaboration between Altron HealthTech and Dischem Oncology aims to do – remove the technology implementation cost barrier while allowing access to approved treatment protocols and clinical workflows.

Understanding that cost and accessibility are critical touch-points for patients and clinicians, the solution tracks and manages the cycle of treatments; includes pathology integrations; provides early warnings on expiring treatment plans and authorisation numbers; customises workflows by clinician, nurse, authorisation team and pharmacist; and ensures resilient billing functionality built around the treatment plan to ensure seamless claims processing.

The solution is designed with the needs of the oncology ecosystem in mind. It supports every individual within the chain with the tools they need to improve the quality of care, improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs and improve safety and optimisation. It allows for everyone within the oncology ecosystem to play their role in keeping medical costs under control. By connecting individuals and medical schemes and institutions to the right data, this interconnected technology ecosystem embeds transparency and visibility.

Altron HealthTech, in collaboration with Dischem Oncology, enables clinical workflows and treatment plans that are aligned to the ICON and SAOC protocols and thereby opens the door to potential cost reductions and improved efficiencies. There is so much potential for digital health technologies to improve the quality of healthcare and bring down the cost of cancer care. Looking ahead, it is essential that stakeholders within the sector come together to envision a new future for oncology care and how patients are supported across costs and quality of care. It is also essential that a stable and resilient foundation is given to the clinicians who carry the burden of this care by providing them with digital health solutions that transform their roles and potential. 

By Gerard Augustine, Executive Sales, and Business Development, Altron HealthTech.

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