Medical frameworks as a catalyst for a digital transformation in a hospital

Can software change the world for the better and reach the needs of the "ordinary" user? Our experience shows that it is possible and has a tangible impact on the health of patients and the work of medical staff.

Table of contents
  • The Brief / Challenges
  • Our Solution
  • Results
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Client
The University Hospital Magdeburg
Team Size
7 people
Project Duration
12 months
Technologies Used
Django, GraphQL, React, Celery
Technologies:
Services provided:

THE BRIEF / CHALLENGES

The Client

The University Hospital Magdeburg has over 4,700 employees working in 21 institutes and 26 clinics, including 1,687 caregivers, 1,095 physicians and scientists, and 1,064 medical and technical staff. It is a total care hospital, which means it is the point of contact for severe clinical images.

With 1098 beds, it is the largest hospital in Magdeburg and North Saxony. As a college and university clinic, it is a training center for over 1,000 future physicians and a medical care center for the residents of Saxony-Anhalt. In 2020, 46,861 people were hospitalized here, and 252,659 people received outpatient treatment. Undoubtedly, the size of the entire clinic requires technical solutions to facilitate efficient management.

What was the need of our Client?

The main issue with such a large clinic was certainly maintaining order and high organization of the hospital. There was a need for a detailed system to organize quite a lot of data and make work easier for doctors and managers. These included patient data management, visit registration, therapy information, hospital bed availability management, etc. There was certainly a need for a dedicated tool for therapy scheduling and communication with patients.

OUR SOLUTION

Our approach for web development

A significant group of 7 team workers within a manager, front/end and back-end developer, user-experience architect, and other specialists made a CRM system with Django and web panel during the Agile process.

The product design process included all phases:

  1. Brief Workshops - discussing strategy, planning budget, defining timeline,
  2. Product Workshops - preparing wireframes, roadmap, discussing key functionalities, UX, UI
  3. Development Workshops - coding and testing the product in Django and GraphXQL
  • front-end,
  • back-end,

In the project, we used the latest technological solutions combined with high-quality services while keeping formalities to a minimum. We created a product MVP for the client with most of the functionality they expected (some features were moved to a later phase after initially verifying the appliance of the system).

Functionalities that we implemented in the system

The calendar module is available for patients and doctors/employees;

It contains a schedule for the Patient created from the form, with a choice of preferred times that they can provide before booking an appointment and dates and plans for Doctors / Employees with a list of available bed slots and doctors able to execute specific treatments on dates matching the therapy plan.

  • Patient Module:

Besides primary contact data, the Patient Account allows you to get extensive knowledge about planned and current therapies, as well as follow-up visits. We have included their functionality, including the possibility of entering external doctor details, their phone numbers, contact persons, or information on past treatment history.

Other functionality in the Patient’s account includes the ability to:

  • fill in and send questionnaires concerning medical history: e.g., allergies, medications, Diseases, etc.
  • upload documents such as scans, photos, DICOM files (up to 500 MB) to the server;
  • fill in customer satisfaction questionnaire - points-based assessment plus a short comment;
  • attach documents that the Patient has forgotten to provide at the clinic;
  • view articles with information on how the patient should prepare for the procedure

  • Physician/Employee Module:

This functionality was more complex, requiring a thorough understanding of the hospital system and the needs of physicians and staff.

It allowed the employees to enter notes concerning a particular therapy and upload documents that a patient forgot to provide earlier.

The doctor’s module also includes the functionality of a ticket system (for handling communication between the doctor and the patient). In the system, the doctor assigns the patient a specific treatment pattern with individual changes to the planned template. The number of days of hospitalization, the day of surgery, attending physicians or information on treatment is given.

How did we address matching the number of beds to the number of patients?

A special module for handling the matching of a patient’s requirements to specific rules applied to beds and rooms has been built. It includes functionality where the staff member could specify additional information about the patients based on the schedule, gender, need for isolation, or other exclusions along with therapy details and the system tries to find the most optimal match to maintain the most efficient use of beds and rooms, of course bearing in mind the exclusions applied on room or bed level.

Other features in the Physician / Staff view include the ability to filter out future patients and patients with missing files/documents and the ability to assign tasks to physicians and other staff members.

Other functionalities we added to web app:

  • Therapies and Treatments module:

This functionality allows the doctor or system manager to add and edit therapies. We created template layouts with treatments and actions that should be executed across specific days. It’s a very comfortable solution for doctors, as they can create default templates for each therapy and then adapt them to the specific case of a patient. In this module, there are also display lists of treatments depending on the assigned category: Current, Scheduled, Pending, Follow-up, and Completed. The therapies module is also available for the patient, where they can view details on their current, past, or planned visits to the hospital

  • Library Module:

Convenient functionality for students as they can learn about treatment regimens, treatments, add clinical questionnaires and informative articles through this module. The articles and information provided here can be used by other doctors and patients for expanding their knowledge on specific therapies and preparations before them.

There’s no success without challenges;)

The challenge in the project was to define the functionality with the customer; we had to discuss all the details thoroughly and help the customer determine as accurately as possible the features that would best help such an outpatient clinic.

We also needed knowledge about DIN ISO certification and cooperation in personal data security.

As far as we think about the bed generator, initially, the system allowed for various exclusions and tried to make the best potential use of the beds available in the hospital. But the challenge was to understand the real-life process and map it to the application logic.

We had to plan bed schedules that functioned in reality, i.e., the so-called 'overlap' availability within one day when a patient on the same day vacated a bed, and another occupied it if it was possible to prepare it by the staff in time.

Watch gallery Medical Frameworks - 2022 51

RESULTS

What was the result of our work?

We are glad that we could meet almost all the customer’s initial requirements. We have created a solution that can serve as a framework for specifying additional, more complex functions, such as:

  • viewing the contents of DICOM medical materials,
  • integration with external medical systems, e.g., for storing/sharing patient information
  • tracking the effectiveness of specific therapy templates (in terms of time or treatments performed)

An international team of experts from Heidelberg (DE) confirmed the high quality of documentation and work processes used in the project. The hospital management also positively received the product in terms of usability, layout, and ease of use for doctors and patients.

Recipients were particularly pleased with the orderly and transparent process from the patient's entry to the clinic until the end of treatment. The entire program is practical for both patients and staff, saving their time and allowing efficient management of therapies, room and bed availability.

The entire project is now in the testing phase and the Customer is looking for the most interesting ways to expand it, based on real-life use cases. We are excited. We are currently looking forward to future cooperation on even more complex projects with the clinic in Magdeburg.

The latest technological solutions combined with high-quality service while minimizing formalities were impressive.
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Joanna Rabczak
Clinical Radiologist, Universitätsmedizin Magdeburg
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