Digital maturity takes centre stage in Spain

Posted on: 01.03.2016 Tags:

CIO Summit


Ever wondered what’s inside a renowned digitally advanced hospital? The Mediterranean region of Valencia is home to two of Spain’s pioneering hospitals in terms of IT implementation: and they are only an hour away from each other. This gave the HIMSS Europe CIO Summit conference attendees the opportunity to participate in guided tours in both hospitals: La Fe, a HIMSS EMRAM Stage 6 hospital in the city centre of Valencia and Marina Salud, a HIMSS Stage 7 hospital just south, in the province of Alicante.

La Fe Hospital Tour

I joined the La Fe Hospital Tour on the first day, after a morning of education sessions and networking on the exhibition floor. What struck me during the initial presentation of the hospital was its size: the hospital has 1,000 beds and is Spain’s largest. The scale of what had been achieved was instantly more impressive and I found myself having the hospital size in the back of my mind throughout the tour, amazed at how everything is digitally implemented and connected.

We started off on the logistics and pharmaceutical floor, where robots are used to transport and dispense medication and equipment. We went up to the hospitalisation ward, where the staff explained how they identify each patient via RFID, which they then use to document the EMR data collected, introduce care plans and perform drug administration, hence completing the closed loop medication cycle. The cycle has proven to have reduced medical errors and improved patient care and safety in the hospital.

Marina Salud Hospital Tour

Marina Salud hospital also lived up to expectations, but in a very different way. In Dénia, I joined the Clinical Itinerary (the Technical tour was the other option), which started off in the Emergency Department, through the Surgical Area and ended on the hospitalisation ward where we went through their clinical and nursing processes. Hospital de Dénia Marina Salud was different because everything is much more compact and literally all aspects of the hospital are connected. With only 200 beds, you could immediately tell that internal data sharing is much more effective when everything is done through one system, in this case Cerner Millennium.

Doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and administration are all connected through the same tool. So, as the Head of Surgery explained, all staff who are assigned to a surgery not only have access to the patient’s full Electronic Medical Record but, once the surgery is over, nurses are able to document how much material has been used (anything from surgical gloves, to surgical equipment and medication), which the pharmacy and logistics department are then able to take into account during their planning process.

Both hospitals admitted that they still have significant improvements to make, especially as the systems are constantly developing and they have to keep up with innovation. On the Marina Salud tour, one of the participants pointed out a printer which he spotted in the corner. The doctor grinned and said that although they never use paper with patients, they do sometimes like to print the odd piece of paper, like the Hospital Tour itinerary they had printed for us!

Inés Burton García

Manager, Marketing & Communications

HIMSS Europe