Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa measuring the quality of care

11 October 2013 | Graeme Wilkinson | Opinion

The Hospice Data Management System (HDMS) of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) was initiated by and developed with funding from First National Bank (FNB). The seed was sown at the HPCA Annual Conference in August 2006 by the then FNB fund manager at Tshikululu Social Investments, who thought it would be a good idea to develop an information management system that could report on the care provided by all hospices, particularly the 20 hospices funded by FNB at the time.

Staff at the Leratong Hospice

In 2007 HPCA received its first grant from FNB for the development of the HDMS. Following a comprehensive scoping exercise, Airborne Consulting was appointed to develop the HDMS in close collaboration with 10 pilot hospices. The HDMS was officially launched at the HPCA Annual Conference in August 2009.

Today the HDMS is used by 107 hospices throughout the country and has had a significant impact on these hospices, as indicated by the quotations below:

  • The HDMS has had an enormous impact on our Hospice! The HDMS enables us to monitor the work of staff and volunteers, identify their training needs and consequently improved our quality of care. It enables us to identify errors and take corrective actions before problems arise. The information we now give to funders is of a high quality and demonstrates the intensity of care our patients receive. From a strategic point of view, we are able to make better operational decisions (Lesley van Zyl, manager, Highway Hospice, Durban)
  • Reporting of patient numbers and access to information has made our lives just that much easier. We are able to supply accurate data to donors and fundraisers for reports and proposals. The information that is obtainable through the HDMS has assisted us in identifying and rectifying problems in our patient care services. Staff accepted the HDMS with such enthusiasm and we are now able to give them feedback on their activities. The HDMS is a very user-friendly system (Wendy Uys, manager, Sungardens Hospice, Pretoria)

Although the HDMS was initially developed as a hospice data management system, it is currently being piloted for use by other NGOs as a care and support data management system. Subject to the success of this pilot, it is HPCA’s intention to “position” the HDMS as a system to be used by all NGOs providing care and support and reporting to the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Social Development (DoSD).

Further development initiatives also include the development of a mobile data capturing system. The current paper-based system is very human resource-intensive and vulnerable to human error. A mobile data capturing system will enable caregivers to capture data onto a mobile device and transmit the data to the central database.

What started off as a reporting mechanism for FNB-funded hospices, has developed into a substantive patient/household data management system which could become the reporting mechanism for DoH- and DoSD-funded NGOs throughout the country.

  • Tomorrow, 12 October, is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day