Nowadays, large hospitals in Thailand have started investing a hefty sum of money in internal information management system to increase their healthcare service efficiency. However, the majority of hospitals in Thailand, especially those in remote communities, still lack Information Technology (IT) fund for such software development.
In Thailand, rural hospitals not only provide healthcare services, but also function as the center of community development hospitals means higher healthcare service effciency and better quality of life for the people.
Hence, "Hospital OS," Thailand's first open-source hospital information management system software, is born to strengthen local community development and knowledge sharing at the grass-rooted level.
Hospital OS is available at no cost for all hospitals, especially those in rural areas without or limited IT budget and resources including technology, knowledge, know-how and IT professionals. Being open source software, Hospital OS has no patent or branding. Users have freedom to run and improve the software to suit their needs as well as to copy and share the software to other neighboring hospitals. Continuous local knowledge sharing and cooperative efforts will lead to community development, which will eventually reflect on the national scale. To encourage such knowledge sharing, we, as Hospital OS's IT system consultant, work closely on a voluntary basis with community hospitals in software implementation, user training, and on-site system customization to serve particular hospital needs.
Making the Difference that Works
Hospital OS is truly the brainchild of Thai professionals for Thai people. It is developed by the team of programmers, software engineers, healthcare professionals, and hospital experts. Developing Hospital OS requires supports and inputs from many government units and community hospitals. Actual end-users gathered and brainstormed through a specially-designed web board and on-site by the system consultant. The web board is also the main channel for nationwide users to ask questions, report bugs to software developer, and most importantly, sharing experience and best practices among themselves.
The software is user-friendly as it is developed with JAVA programming language, which can easily work with other applications such as Windows, Linux, and PostgreSQL. With Hospital OS, hospital data reporting, filing, and processing system is streamlined. Hospital OS will reduce red tapes, save time and cost in healthcare management from the local community up to the national level. Everyone, namely doctors, nurses, healthcare staffs, and patients, will be benefited from using this software.
Feedback from Users
Community hospitals using Hospital OS liked the software's ease of use and adaptability. Many users appreciated system consultants' devotion and their hard volunteering work. Consultants spent days and nights, sometimes up to a week, working on site and adapting software to fit user's needs. They ensured that software run smoothly and local hospital staffs understand how to use the system. Such strong intention, seen through their selfless service, to improve the healthcare service efficiency in remote community is what won the hearts of local hospital staffs. Therefore, word-of-mouth about the technical support has become the other strength of Hospital OS, in addition to the benefits of this open source software.
Software users also expressed high satisfaction due to more efficient internal hospital administration that Hospital OS provided. Some users compared Hospital OS to a 24-hour healthcare information library, which is always there for them.
Engaging Everyone in the New Age of Learning Hospital
Conventionally, Thai doctors do not involve much with information management but will leave the task for clerical staff. However, having many steps in data reporting, processing, and extracting makes the service slow, costly, and sometimes causes serious medical errors. The old paper-and-pencil prescribing method is prone to misinterpretation by hospital staffs and sometimes causes redundancy in filing. Computerized healthcare information management system makes doctors' work easier and more efficient. Access to patient's records is faster and more accurate as doctors and nurses can input new data into computer directly. The data will be integrated automatically into patient's record database, ready to be used by other nurses and hospital staffs. Internal data processing time is saved, and thus patients are served faster and better.
We hope that more and more hospitals in Thailand will turn to this open source Hospital OS to improve their information management. Working together, neighboring community hospitals can increase the whole area healthcare quality as well as learning and sharing industry knowledge like the World's leading organizations.
Path to Sustainable Development
While there are overwhelming positive feedbacks, many local community hospitals are still skeptical about Hospital OS and computerized information management system. To increase the confidence in Hospital OS software, our team will continue to work with pioneering hospitals in integrating Hospital OS with their daily operations and let the software performance speaks for itself.
Moreover, we have helped promoting the "Hospital OS Network," in which hospitals currently using the software will provide advice and share experience regarding the software application to their neighboring hospitals beginning to use Hospital OS. This network will promote cooperative knowledge sharing among local community hospitals, thus reinforces sustainable learning community in the long run.
Finally, we will carry on our mission to implement Hospital OS in community hospitals. For it is a key contributor to strong, cooperative learning communities that will form the profound base for Thailand sustainable grass-rooted development.