The hierarchical health care system depends on profound mutual collaboration between general, specialised and local hospitals. Additionally, it has to offer an ever growing range of services without any supplementary budget being provided. Group Riche, a non-profit making organisation, has acknowledged this need since 1989 by promoting an open approach to Information Technology in order to transform the Hospital Information System (HIS) into a smooth running organisational tool.
RICHE is an Esprit embedded project covering the business field. Its participants focus on the patient care process and the people involved in medical procedures such as nurses, doctors, laboratory technicians, administrators and so on. First of all, they have analysed and modelled the different stages of the patient's hospital stay as well as the administrative tasks. As a result, the RICH architecture has been built upon open systems principles using recognised standards.
This approach allows a permanent data follow-up starting from the general practitioner throughout the hospital and back to the aftercare at home. The generated data are only input once and become accessible through specific applications for clinical, administrative or management use. Since the RICHE solutions possess a modular structure, it is possible to extend the HIS according to the hospital's operational needs and financial resources.
Two British medical facilities already benefit from the RICHE IT systems, namely the West Middlesex University Hospital (WMUH) NHS Trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT). Both of them are experiencing the self-financing aspect of the RICHE integration with investment costs being recovered through efficiency savings over a very short timeframe. Reason enough for the group to spread its wings over Europe where tailor made IT applications have been installed in French, Irish and Italian hospitals. Please, consult the RICHE site to learn how the story goes on.