An Interview: Hannes Reichl, Managing Director Hospital Information Systems
CompuGroup Medical (CGM) was reorganizing its Hospital Information Systems (HIS). Realignment across the group creates the basis for the concerted implementation of a worldwide product strategy. Mag. Hannes Reichl, CompuGroup Medical's Managing Director Hospital Information Systems, explains the background.
Mr. Reichl, CompuGroup Medical is primarily known as a market-leading provider of information systems in doctors' and dental practices. Apparently there is now about to be a great deal of movement with regard to hospital information systems?
Reichl: CGM's vision is, "We help to heal". This can not only be achieved by solutions in one health service sector. After establishing CGM's success in the doctors' information systems sector we also have developed further in other segments such as pharmacists' information systems in recent years. This also particularly applies to solutions for acute and rehabilitation centers and also welfare facilities. Here, we at CGM HIS, currently with 800 employees, are supporting 1,500 hospitals and social customers across Europe.
This means that today we are already one of the largest European HIS providers. Building on this, we are now pushing our growth strategy in this area.
What caused CGM to build another new clinic information system when your company already has several existing ones?
Reichl: First of all, I would like to say that we are not aspiring to co-existence. The new HIS solution is intended to intelligently extend and further develop our existing successful programs. We are therefore pursuing a clear corporate strategy from our current product world into a completely new technology generation.
Does this then require a novel approach?
Reichl: Classical HIS solutions typically fail at the complex integration of different planning systems and also at missing service orientation. That was the impulse for us to bring a completely novel clinical information system to the market.
This new software generation is consistently oriented towards the processes of acute care and rehabilitation centers and is completely service-oriented. A clear plus factor compared with the mainly module-based or monolithic systems to be found today and thus it represents a genuine alternative for efficiency-oriented companies.
As a first step, we support the fields of medication management, fever curve and care and operation management with our new HIS suite. Support in these areas delivers impressive added value for our customers.
What benefits does this have for doctors, care staff and management in hospitals?
Reichl: The decisive benefit of our new workflow system is its continuous resource control and optimization, taking the treatment processes as a starting point. This ensures better cost control. Doctors and care staff receive more direct time for treating their patients. In addition, well-founded decisions can be taken due to an improved database and the treatment quality can thus be increased.
Can you illuminate this point in more detail? What happens here in the workflow approach?
Reichl: Up to now, resource planning and control and also simple appointment planning were done in separate planning tools which were not linked in any way, combined with a staff-intensive, mainly phone-based coordination procedure in order to clarify the availability of specialists, material, rooms or other infrastructure. In addition to a lot of planning effort, this mostly leads to inadequate resource utilization and correspondingly long waiting times for patients, whereas our new solution unites and automates all planning circles, above all for the short-, medium- and long-term optimization of available resources. The medical outcome is significantly increased – whilst capacities remain constant.
What does this strategy mean for the hospital clients who have bought your current information systems?
Reichl: Investment protection and a clear vision of the future. We proceed in an evolutionary manner; in other words, we supplement the options for process support piece by piece wherever our proven systems are already in use. In this way, we produce verifiable additional value on stable basic systems.
Now the clinic – regardless of whether it is an acute care or rehabilitation center – is not left alone with care provision. Networking is increasing significantly in many places. What strategy are you pursuing in this respect?
Reichl: The networking of all actors in the healthcare sector is a strategic central point of CGM. For inpatient facilities, digital networking plays a major role. Especially when it is a matter of optimizing all internal processes, as smooth an interaction as possible with internal logistics and also with external bodies such as funding bodies or laboratory partners is essential – ultimately, the hospital's entire value creation chain must be designed efficiently in order to be able to achieve sustained cost-effectiveness. Networking solutions by CGM offer a unique portfolio for this in the European e-health market.
How can that work in practice and do you already have experience of this?
Reichl: With our international reach in the field of doctors' and pharmacists' systems we can significantly improve processes for all participants including patients. Our commitment does not stop at the hospital entrance.
We differ in this point from our competitors who mostly have neither access to nor expertise in the primary healthcare system. Above all in Scandinavian countries we are today already operating cross-sector IT systems for entire regions, some with more than 40,000 users. This experience has flowed into our new software generation.