Interview La Razón | 31.10.2021
“There is a long way to go to make healthcare digitalization a reality”
MYSPHERA emerges from the need for healthcare managers to measure their hospitals’ processes truthfully and reliably in order to improve them and thus achieve maximum efficiency with the resources they have available. For this reason, they have put all their experience, knowledge, and technology at the service of healthcare professionals to automate, simplify and streamline the most complex processes of a healthcare organization. All of this is based on their real-time patient location system for hospitals.
Its aim is to free healthcare professionals, through its solutions, from the tasks that prevent them from fully focusing on customer care. They do this by generating tasks automatically in real-time, measuring processes to free up administrative tasks, and providing the necessary data for decision-making.
▸Since the pandemic, the healthcare sector has been forced to use digital solutions. With the ‘return to normality’, do you think this trend will continue?
The process, although it has accelerated and seems irreversible, is going much slower than necessary and, moreover, it is not homogeneous. There are regions that are betting much more heavily than others. Some administrations are finding it costly to promote and, furthermore, the dynamics of decision-making have not changed substantially. The digitization and strengthening of healthcare should be the first priority of any administration, and we only have to look at the percentage of European NextGen recovery funds that are expected to be allocated to improving healthcare in Spain to see that there is still a long way to go to make healthcare digitization a reality.
▸Now that the pandemic is over, what are the gaps in the healthcare system that can be improved through digitization?
To give a clear example, one of the main problems in our healthcare system is the increase in waiting lists, both for surgery and diagnostic tests. And, moreover, one feeds the other, since a delay in diagnostics acts as a bottleneck in the surgical waiting list, which will continue to increase, even when hospitals return to their normal pre-pandemic activity. This affects not only the health of patients but also health professionals.
Now, as the pandemic takes a pause, it is time for the industry to come up with solutions that can support them and relieve them of non-value tasks. And for healthcare authorities to focus on improving efficiency in key areas such as the operating theatre and the emergency department.
“Thanks to MYSPHERA’s technology, the number of interventions increases by 15% and the operating room occupancy time improves by 12%”.
▸And how does MYSPHERA manage to reduce waiting lists?
We start by automatically measuring patient flow. Thanks to our Bluetooth-based wristbands, we are able to locate them at all times and know their status within the clinical process. Just by obtaining this real data automatically, it helps to analyze the points of improvement within the flow and make better decisions in real-time.
Our next step was to impact the clinical process by generating automatic tasks to improve the coordination of the different work teams. The best way to explain this is with an example: when a patient enters the preparation room, their location is updated in real-time and the system notifies the nursing team that they need to be prepared for the operating theatre. In turn, when this happens, if the OR is ready to receive the patient, a transfer task is generated for the orderlies. When the patient enters the operating theatre, the time at which this occurs and the duration of the operation is accurately measured. Once the surgery is over, and the patient leaves the operating theatre, another task is generated for the cleaning team to prepare the operating theatre again for the next patient.
▸In terms of the impact on waiting lists, what results have you achieved with this solution?
After one year of use, the number of operations has increased by around 15% and the operating room occupancy time has improved by 12%. According to our customers, this is the equivalent of “a 13-month improvement over previous periods”. We already have numerous success stories to prove it.
▸What is needed for solutions like yours to be developed and implemented in more hospitals across the country?
We can’t complain too much, because right now we are being implemented in a large number of hospitals, both in Spain and in other European countries. But a massive or corporate adoption is necessary.
The first thing that is needed is a clear commitment to this digitization model by the different administrations and the allocation of the necessary budget.
This is possible right now thanks to European funds, but for me, it is equally, if not more crucial, in the medium term to evolve to value-based procurement models. The model of technology procurement by public authorities needs to be reformed to keep pace with technological evolution and move towards a value- and impact-based model. Often, contractors look for or evaluate pure technology, as if it will in itself generate impact. And technology can be used well, used badly, or simply not used at all. We must evolve towards fairer contracts, both for the administration and for innovative companies, which avoid intrusiveness in the face of public contracts for solutions that are much less oriented towards end-user value and which, in the end, are very damaging to the prestige of the sector. It is necessary to avoid giving scope to solutions that come from other sectors in search of contract money, but which are hardly capable of providing real solutions to the healthcare system because they were not designed for that purpose. What is needed is to prioritize the value actually provided, and to invest in solutions that bring real improvement and impact, and not simply a technology per se. Digitizing healthcare means improving it thanks to the support of technology, not acquiring technology that ends up as a useless investment.