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Better care

Jared Heng | July 10, 2008
A flexible new ERP system has given non-profit Singapore healthcare organisations better access to patient information, plus many more benefits, all due to collaboration and teamwork, reports Jared Heng.<br>

Since Singapore's Lien Foundation announced the US$2.5million 'IngoT' initiative for 11 local non-profit healthcare organisations in November 2007, it says there have been noteworthy improvements to healthcare services and corporate governance.

Lien is a non-profit organisation that seeks to address crucial community needs like eldercare and enhanced educational opportunities for less privileged individuals. As Lien's consultant for IngoT, PulseSync provides technologies and custom application development for healthcare providers. Microsoft provides the technology behind IngoT. IngoT is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system scheduled for deployment and customisation in all 11 organisations by the end of this year. The acronym 'NGO' is embedded between 'I' and 'T' in the name IngoT.

So far, only the Home Nursing Foundation (HNF) has completed deployment, while the rest are at different stages of setting up the system, says Ken Tan, PulseSync's managing director. "To ensure IngoT would fully serve the consortium's needs, employees, volunteers and professionals from the 11 organisations have collaborated to examine medical informatics and best practices, as well as financial and corporate governance standards," Tan says.

On-premise or hosted

According to Lien, IngoT will be deployed on-premise in organisations with larger operations, and as a hosted solution in those operating on a smaller scale. "While specific modules deployed at each non-governmental organisation (NGO) may vary according to the organisation's needs, all 11 NGOs will at least have a clinical module," says Lee Poh Wah, Lien's programme director.

"The clinical module facilitates portability of patients' medical records," Lee says. "For example, the NGO transferring patients to another NGO will be able to provide smooth continuity of care, aided by relevant documents and data that can be easily retrieved by the receiving organisation.

"While organisations may be non-profit, it does not mean they're non-professional," he says. "IngoT seeks to extend the capabilities of the 11 NGOs as they face greater demands on service delivery."

Lee notes that IngoT has changed the way NGOs perceive and leverage IT. "IngoT has proven that IT does not mean 'expensive' because this ERP solution has been implemented at a fraction of current commercial rates."

In fact, IngoT is "expansive" by increasing the possibilities and frontiers of IT deployments among the NGOs, he adds.

Broad benefits

Several NGOs, namely Home Nursing Foundation (HNF), HCA Hospice Care (HCA), National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and Tsao Foundation (Tsao) have realised benefits from deploying some modules.

All four NGOs report improved communication among doctors and nurses in sharing case notes and patients' medical histories and data. "The regularly updated information means that doctors and nurses need not ask patients repeated questions about their conditions or medication," Lee says.


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