Health care goes high tech in South Africa


21 April 2016

The innovative Electronic Bed Management System (eBMS) had reduced patient waiting times for beds by at least two hours at some hospitals in the Steve Biko Academic Cluster in Pretoria, said the Gauteng department of health at the official launch on 19 April.

During the pilot phase at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital earlier this year, the system proved successful and it was decided to roll out the eBMS throughout the cluster.

On average, 27.7 million patients visit hospitals across South Africa’s Gauteng province annually and there has been a shortage of beds.

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Already, staff members have commended the new system.

“Hospital personnel are using the information gleaned from eBMS to make both long- and short-term decisions that have led to some hospitals seeing a reduction in patient waiting times and better ward and staff utilisation,” the department said.

How it works

eBMS allows hospital staff to view bed availability within their hospital on a large display screen. Because of its cloud-based technology, the information can even be accessed via the internet on computers or mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Better care

Kalafong Hospital clinical manager Dr Khin Htwe said management was using eBMS to make reallocation decisions about ward beds.

“We have split not frequently used wards to move beds to a ward that is always busy,” added Htwe. “Having had the system in place since early January, Kalafong has already seen a two-hour reduction in their casualty waiting times.” It helped to improve patient care because of increased transparency.

Gauteng emergency medical services will also use the system when transporting patients to hospitals, which will lead to better co-ordination of it services.

MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu said the introduction of this system was part of initiatives by the department to improve health care provision through the use of technology.

She anticipated the system would be fully implemented across the province by the end of 2016.

Source: South reporter