Life Healthcare adopts tech to improve critical services

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Andrew Davies, CEO of Signapps.
Andrew Davies, CEO of Signapps.

Private hospital operator Life Healthcare Group has turned to technology to help improve critical hospital services in its facilities.

The hospital group has adopted locally-developed care coordination and messaging platform, Signapps, across 12 of its hospitals around the country, to facilitate the many interventions involved in the care of a range of environments, including stroke management, mental health and palliative care.

Established in 2016, Signapps is a local health tech company that specialises in the development of mobile messenger and Web applications to provide secure, compliant and user-friendly channels for medical professionals to collaborate and share confidential patient data.

The application is used by more than 30 customers, comprising hospital practices, associations and funders of care, includingCharlotte Maxeke, Edendale,Baragwanath and Groote Schuur hospitals, which use it for the management of orthopaedics, wound care, burns and oncology, among others.

Under Life Healthcare Group, the healthcare institutions include Fourways, Rosepark, Bedford Gardens, Brenthurst and Westville hospitals.

In light of stroke week (28 October to 3 November), the hospital group says it made Signapps a key component of its broader Stroke Restore project, which sees the technology addressing a number of objectives in helping stroke patients.

These include maximising the number of patients completing the stroke care pathway, designed to improve coordination of logistics and management between the care team in the acute phase of the patient’s care.

“Simple and timely interventions, particularly in the early stages of a stroke, have a dramatic impact on the patient’s speed of recovery and rehabilitation,” says Dr Karisha Quarrie, regional clinical manager and project lead of Life Healthcare’s Stroke Restore programme.

“Signapps is expected to play a pivotal role in our efforts to improve communication between caregivers, allocation of resources, sharing of data, and the timely administration of therapeutic interventions to our stroke patients.”

According to a report by Orbis Research, the smart hospital market will grow from $7.46 billion in 2017 to $62.28 billion by 2023, pushed by governments’ initiatives for the implementation of IT solutions in healthcare and an increase in the number of skilled IT experts across the globe.

The Philips Future Health Index 2019 report reveals that while SA has a keen appetite for digital healthcare technology and remote access to digital health records, only 40% of healthcare professionals are utilising digital health records, potentially in part because of challenges around infrastructure and the cost of investing in this type of infrastructure.

In 2016, private hospital network Netcare implemented technology to mitigate infection risks across a multi-hospital system in 47 of its facilities.

 “A study by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations identified that communication is by far the single biggest cause of delay in treatment in acute environments,” says Andrew Davies, CEO of Signapps.

“We are delighted to be working with Life Healthcare, as part of their broader stroke project to adopt a patient-centric approach to stroke management from the acute through to the rehabilitation phase.”

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