Cyber security, cloud, specialization and greater medical software functionality
Poland has made great progess in the digitization of healthcare, with e-leaves and e-prescriptions being prime examples. However, there are many areas that still require joint work by legislators, medical institutions and technology partners. Krzysztof Groyecki, Vice President of the Management Board of Asseco Poland, responsible for the area of solutions for the healthcare sector, points out the most important trends and challenges in digitization.
- Accelerating the implementation of EDM - as of January 1 of this year, the financing of services by the National Health Fund (NFZ), in the area of Primary Medical Care (POZ), will depend on the reporting of medical events to the P1 platform and, as a result, the use of Electronic Medical Records (EMD). According to the Health Ministry's announcement, the P1 platform is expected to become the exclusive source of data for billing healthcare services in the coming years. Not all facilities are fully ready for this and need the support of technology partners to help them implement the right tools. On the other hand, as Krzysztof Groyecki, Vice President of the Management Board of Asseco Poland, argues, it is also necessary to expand the EDM project itself. Ultimately, a patient's complete electronic medical record is to be available to all authorized specialists throughout Poland, regardless of where the patient is at any given time. At present, the EDM contains only part of the information and does not include, for example, medical history, as there is no precise definition of what this document covers. It is important to introduce both legislative changes and programs to encourage medical facilities to implement modern technologies.
- Improving the ergonomics of applications for staff – up until now, most applications have been created with the aim of managing medical entities, supporting the internal processes of healthcare providers, as well as reporting and billing benefits. Meanwhile, as Krzysztof Groyecki emphasizes, these solutions should first and foremost be an effective tool in the hands of staff. "We want our applications to reduce the time and improve the quality of patient service. An example of a solution that plays just such a role are medical dashboards for doctors and nurses. Asseco's software includes pathways that allow the user to easily obtain the information necessary at a given stage of treatment."
- Specialization of medical software - employees of different specialties working in particular areas of medical entities have their own specific needs, which are worth taking into account when creating technological solutions. According to Krzysztof Groyecki, functions of IT systems that are relevant to doctors and nurses should be available without the need to search for them among a large number of other software options. "Many of Asseco's solutions for the healthcare sector are tailor-made. We talk to representatives of individual facilities to learn about their needs and what information they would like to process digitally," Krzysztof Groyecki explains.
- Cloud security - healthcare facilities are an extremely tempting target for cyber criminals, so it is extremely important to ensure the security of digital, sensitive medical data. It is difficult for individual hospitals or clinics to take care of the appropriate level of cyber security on their own, due to staff and budget shortages. As Krzysztof Groyecki of Asseco argues, the natural direction is to migrate to the cloud. Then its operator takes care of information security, ongoing monitoring of threats, as well as backup. An example of a solution used in Polish medical facilities is EDM in the cloud. It enables remote and secure access to data, facilitates compliance with regulations imposed on healthcare units, and eliminates the need to expand and maintain one's own infrastructure.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) can help shorten queues to specialists - a sore point in Polish health care is the long waiting time to see a specialist. According to the Watch Health Care Foundation's (WHC) Barometer, in November 2022, it averaged about four months. Artificial intelligence can help solve this problem; while it certainly won't fix staffing shortages, it can support doctors in their daily work. There are many examples of AI use in healthcare, from digital assistants that are able to give prompts based on collected survey information, to systems that support diagnosis based on the recognition of X-ray or MRI images. As the vice president of Asseco points out, the development of telemedicine will depend on the profitability of such solutions. "If it is higher than that of stationary services, and in addition, telemedicine procedures will increasingly become part of products billed by the National Health Fund (NFZ), one can hope that this will contribute to reducing the negative effects of staff shortages," Krzysztof Groyecki concludes.