Systems Analysis at National Guard Health Affairs - King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh
Health Informaticians are facing a tough challenge these days to deliver innovative solutions to improve the way healthcare is delivered, especially in light of ever-increasing demands for health care services amidst stagnant or shrinking budgets. King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh is one of the largest health care providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has been recognized for its world-class facilities, staff and services as well as its low mortality and morbidity rates among its patients. To maintain and increase KAMC’s high level of patient care quality, National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA) is seeking leading-edge technology-based services that can be delivered in the most cost-effective manner. Having expert Systems Analysts on staff is essential to delivering technology-based solutions within an organization. As well as facilitating ease of operations, Systems Analysts are the link between health care providers and Information Technology (IT). They provide clinical departments with ideas and IT solutions to automate and improve existing practices, and collaborate and assist departments in making and incorporating IT and related changes to improve the delivery of patient care. The author was trained as a Systems Analyst during her internship at the Clinical Information Management Systems (CIMS) Department, which is responsible for the development and support of the EHR and QuadraMed's Computerized-Patient Record (QCPR) system to all National Guard Health Affairs departments and divisions. In 2004, National Guard Health Affairs automated and standardized all medical records documentation through a virtual knowledge system that is delivered by the QuadraMed corporation (formerly known as Misys). Two projects were planned for the internship. The first project involved automating the adult electrolytes replacement protocol for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This project aimed not only to automate workflow but also to improve the workflow of electrolytes replacement order and solve existing conflicts among physicians, nurses and pharmacists. In order to accomplish this project, two important modifications in QuadraMed's Computerized-Patient Record system were required.After successfully implementing the modifications, the project was completed, with positive comments coming from ICU physicians, nurses and pharmacists. The second project was the automatic recognition of sepsis in the Emergency Department. The aim of this project was to develop an automatic tool that would screen patients for severe sepsis and alert the nurse when there was a suspected case. Plans are currently underway to further extend this solution throughout the rest of the hospital. We hope that, by implementing this solution, sepsis recognition times will decrease and patient safety levels increase. The author used the knowledge and experience she obtained from Dalhousie’s Health Informatics program in the Systems Analyst role as well as in the work she completed during her internship. Overall, it was a great learning and work experience for the author.