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Technology to cut waiting time at GP hospitals

The electronic bed management system has officially been implemented at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

The electronic bed management system (eBMS) allows medical staff to seamlessly identify the location of available beds across the cluster, thereby improving patient movement and management. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Health Department has officially implemented the electronic Bed Management System (eBNS) at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, a move which is aimed at reducing waiting times at the hospital and surrounding facilities.

Provincial Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and other officials say they are confident that the system, which has been in use at the hospital since earlier this year, will work.

With hospitals across Gauteng having to manage millions of patients annually, some people are made to wait over 36 hours before being given a bed.

The new system is expected to change this and ensure that patients are helped faster.

This means hospital officials are able to quickly identify the location of available beds across the cluster and improve patient movements and management.

Mahlangu says she is confident the system will be efficient.

"We are confident that we will reduce the waiting time."

The system is displayed on big TV screens around the hospital so that health officials are able to tell how many beds are available in this hospital and other facilities in the district.

Mahlangu says the new eBNS will help officials identify places where new health facilities need to be built.

Gauteng hospitals cater for at least 28 million patients a year, with only 17,000 beds available provincially.

She says identifying places that need new facilities will help lower alleviate pressure.

"For instance, at Winterfield and Mabopane, the work that we have done suggest that we need to do more facilities. We are using additional technology to look at the population density to say this is where we need facilities."