Risk and unexpected costs: neither of them is acceptable -we interviewed Zoltán Jutasi, CEO of NAVIGATOR.
Introducing a worldwide known and used professional software always requires some explanation here, in Hungary.
Do you see it possible to reach the European standards at the Hungarian National Blood Transfusion Service (OVSZ) thanks to the management of the institution?
Yes, definitely. The long-time inspected and envied system in Western Europe, eProgresa is being introduced now. I would answer the first half of your question with this: in case of eProgresa the professional opinion was clear: it is the best and most advanced solution used by the big blood transfusion institutions and hospitals, including several member states of the EU.
However, quality has its price that needs to be paid. But the other side can be also true: the cheaper product might end up consuming more money, and the issue of financing can be a decision-making factor. Is it worth it?
If we look at the numbers we can state that yes, it is worth it. A professional software is like a pair of high-quality shoes: we know that it would be the better choice, but in many cases we go for the cheaper ones that gets worn out more quickly and then we can buy a new pair. Thus, within a certain time period we pay twice for solving the issue, and we end up spending as much money as the price of the better shoes, with the difference of having to wear a not too comfortable, low-quality pair of shoes, for which repair costs may also occur. According to our philosophy healthcare and blood transfusion is not an area in which there is place for errors and bad quality, even for a short transitional period. A bad solution can bring extra costs and risks that might cause deaths that are not acceptable for the institution. The eProgresa system saves the money and risk of repairing a potentially badly-working system, and it also results in increased efficiency and cost reductions, which will eventually bring back its initial cost. After doing the calculations and consultations it became clear that with proper planning the gradual financing of the system is a viable solution.
What does that mean?
The implementation and maintenance costs of the system – that are borne by the institution – are spread over time. An IT system implementation of this volume requires a professional management. We provide time and cost limitations for the project right from the beginning, and in this way no unexpected costs and unpleasant surprises occur for the buyer. We distribute the introduction of the system into major phases, and the end of all phase is an important milestone. In this way the client can always see how the implementation process is going, and pays after every successful milestone. This is important because the institution can plan its expenditures, knows exactly how the projected cost structure looks like, and at the same time it can inspect the quality of the work we have done.
For this, professionals are needed who work precisely and reliably. General Director Dr. Eszter Miskovits mentioned in an interview that they receive this kind of professionalism from you. How the phases look like?
In the first step the development of the processes and algorithms takes place, this way we can map the problem of our client. Setting the parameters in the test environment is followed by this, when we customize the system to the client’s needs. The next step is the acquisition of the servers and the implementation and installation of the system. After the customized system has been installed, the training of employees takes place and the transfer of data from the old systems to the new one. Before launching the system, a careful validation process is undertaken, and then everything will be ready for actively using the system, in a modern environment, with trained users. At the Hungarian National Blood Transfusion Services, we are already in the phase of data transfer and employee trainings.
What makes the new system better? What is the value added that makes this solution worth its price?
I would answer this question with two terms: risk and cost reduction. I would like to make clear what is the difference with a “before-after” anecdote. Before the implementation of the new system there were more independent systems working parallel to each other that couldn’t be professionally linked. The lack of information, the slow operation and low level of functions resulted in duplications, and thus high costs and risks. We know that these solutions came into life because of necessity, and they were good for handling the crisis situation at that moment, but their operation have become unbearable. Change was inevitable. This was the point when the Hungarian National Blood Transfusion Services opted for a long-term solution, which is not wasted money and is in harmony with the EU’s applicable directive.
So an integrated system will be implemented?
Yes. With the implementation of the system a new IT system will work throughout the whole country, which will be able to support the blood transfusion system in an integrated manner. The up-to-date, Java-based technology integrates the already existing professional systems, and a unified, centralized patient and donor database will help in planning processes effectively and cost efficiently. As a result, the mapping of the supply and the demand will be available more precisely and quickly, the up-to-date database will help to optimize the flow of information and blood supply. This latter one doesn’t need more explanation, as in healthcare the importance of doing a perfect, quick and cost-efficient work is obvious. The integrated system will provide a quick network, which is inevitable in urgent situations, and the smaller health care institutions will also have the opportunity to join.
So every institution taking part in the blood transfusion processes can join to the system?
One of the biggest advantage of the system is that it is being used all over the world, and it connects the blood transfusion units into a network, making permanent information flow possible, while at the same time filtering out mistakes and risks. The modular structure of the software allows the institutions to join the system with customized applications.
We already heard from the general director that with the integrated system major risk factors – that were present in the old system – are wiped out. For me it means a more secure and up-to-date operation of the institutions. But what about those who don’t join?
As I have already mentioned, every institution will have to opportunity to join by applying the proper modules fitting for their size and tasks. This is an existing application expressly designed for hospitals, thus this solution is a customized and viable option for them from both cost and functional perspectives. The sooner we start consulting with them, the sooner they can switch to the system that is in compliance with the EU directive.
What requirements these institutions have to fulfil according to the EU directive?
The 2002/98/EC Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council formulates standards regarding the quality and safety for the collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human blood components. An appropriate system needs to be set up for ensuring the tracking of blood and blood components. The tracking of them should be ensured via different donor, recipient, and laboratory proceedings, and with proper filing, identification, and labelling. The goal is to make a system which allows for a unique and unmistakable identification of blood and blood components within the European Union.