How information saved my life
I’m not a Dimension Data employee. In fact, I’m not even a real person. I represent all of the people who have gone through similar, frightening experiences to what I’m about to describe, yet whose lives were saved through the on-time delivery of critical data. I consider myself a healthy, fit guy. Every morning, I run five kilometres along the beach front and promenade in Durban, South Africa. One morning it all changed very suddenly. I was still running comfortably the one moment, when it suddenly hit me in the stomach: abdominal pain so severe that I collapsed on the sand. I couldn’t get up again. Luckily I had my cell phone with me and could reach emergency services. That’s when I started blacking out.
I didn’t know where I was. I remember only flashes: sirens in the background, beeping noises close by, people taking my blood pressure, an oxygen mask going over my face. I was lucky that emergency care was there for me and that they could rush me to hospital straightaway.
Counting in my favour was the fact that Nkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital was a paperless and filmless hospital. That means that there’s no paper-based medical records in the environment. Everything a clinician does is recorded through a digital system, from the moment they wheeled me through the emergency entrance, right through all of the scans, tests, and procedures they performed. All results were recorded immediately and electronically, and that data was accessible to everyone treating me.
In my case, it was an aortic aneurism – a life-threatening condition. The results of my scans were immediately sent to a specialist off-site, who received the images on his tablet and could immediately confirm the seriousness of the situation. The specialist instructed the doctor to prepare me for surgery straightaway, while he rushed to the hospital. I don’t remember much during or after that point, but I do know that the doctors knew what they were doing thanks to the information they had. They diagnosed the problem correctly and they were reacting very quickly.
I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for the quick thinking and acting of everyone who treated me. In a hospital where all information is electronic, real-time takes on a whole new meaning altogether. In fact, in an emergency like mine, it’s the difference between life and death.
I’m no ICT expert. I don’t know exactly how Dimension Data, working with AME and the Albert Luthuli Hospital, helped to give the clinicians the systems they needed. I only know that my story could’ve ended very differently if my information wasn’t available as quickly and accurately as it was.
Read this case study, or watch this video, if you want to know more.