Steward Health Care Malta invests in a new digital solution for increased patient-centric care at the Orthotics and Prosthetics Unit
15 February 2022 - Steward Health Care Malta (SHCM) has introduced a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system at the highly-specialised Orthotics and Prosthetics Unit (OPU) at St. Luke’s Hospital. The new digital solution provides patient-centric relationship management, which covers the whole patient journey, through a complete view of the patient’s real-time data.
More than 15,000 patients in Malta and Gozo benefit from the services offered by the OPU every year. The OPU provides national health services to patients needing prostheses, such as artificial limbs, or orthoses like external devices like splints, braces or footwear.
The increasing volume of patients seen every year has prompted SHCM to look into continuously improving the patient and staff experience. With this in mind, and following the successful restructuring of the OPU and its processes, SHCM has embarked on a digital transformation journey for the OPU through a collaboration with Salesforce, the global leader in CRM. Prior to this investment, patient management was tackled through an old legacy system involving manual and paper procedures, with inherent inefficiencies and limited reporting capabilities.
“Given that the OPU is a service offered on a national basis to all of the Maltese healthcare providers, including Mater Dei Hospital, we believe that this new advanced digital solution will allow the clinical and administrative teams at OPU to be more efficient in managing the patient’s journey from referral to appointment setting, care coordination and ongoing engagement with the patient, while also providing medical staff with a modern and responsive system,” said SHCM President Dr Nadine Delicata. The system also provides full visibility of the patients’ progress to key stakeholders such as referring clinicians at Mater Dei, with Dr. Delicata stating that this collaboration augurs well to ensure patients have a seamless care pathway across entities.
Steward Malta’s main goal during the first phase of the digitalization of the OPU was to have a flexible data structure that offers a 360-degree view of all the unit’s patients. Thanks to the new system, a clinician can understand which patient they would be seeing and his or her history, the orthosis or prosthesis assigned to the patient, as well as the healthcare entity that referred the patient and the purpose of the appointment - all this at the click of a button.
The new system also caters for automation and patient communication is triggered from within the CRM via e-mail and/or SMS. This includes communication on the details of the next appointment, or if an appointment has been cancelled or rescheduled. In the coming weeks, SHCM plans to integrate with SHCM’s financial and procurement systems to ensure timely ordering and delivery of supplies/devices.
The new digital system also guarantees patient security, as it ensures that all personally identifiable information is encrypted and audited. The system can only be accessed with a single sign-in, and then a multi-factor authentication mechanism. Key stakeholders within SHCM can also keep track of daily operations thanks to the system’s automated reports and dashboard capabilities.
SHCM took over the management of the OPU in the first quarter of 2018. In the early period, a comprehensive needs analysis of what was required took place, with priority being given to the infrastructural upgrade of the facility itself. This was followed by a focus on capacity building, including training and new equipment requirements. Local and foreign professionals, experts and prosthetics providers MCOPi have all been instrumental in raising the level and quality of services offered by the OPU.
In 2021, a new piece of casting machinery, known as the SIT Casting Stand and IPSO Cast Transtibial System, was introduced at the OPU. The casting stand, provided by German firm Ottobock, decreases the processing time for a diagnostic socket fitting and allows for the cast to be taken while the patient is weight-bearing in the cast. The new stand benefits both above the knee and below the knee amputees, as well as most lower-limb amputees treated at the OPU.
Investments like the new CRM solution, equipment and know-how are part of Steward Malta’s programme of upgrading of its facilities, equipment and healthcare systems for the benefit of the communities that it serves.