Three Stories That Show That Healthcare Is Already Smart

Technology is rapidly changing the way the world operates. Industries across the globe have been accepting technological advancements with open arms. The implication of technology has changed the way things worked. Every industry today is largely dependent upon the technological advancements for its operation. Artificial Intelligence and data computing have made things, which once seemed unachievable, simpler, and faster.

Healthcare is one industry which has benefitted by technological advancements in a great way. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that the medical and healthcare industry is the one that paved the way for technological innovations and advancement. From X-Ray machines to online access to medical services, the healthcare industry has come a long way in reaping the fruits of technological advancements.

Today’s era is driven by ‘smart’ working and by smart we mean technologically smart ways of working. Every industry today has adopted smart ways of operating – from collecting and maintaining data to providing online solutions, you name it and you have it.

Is Healthcare Already Smart?

Medical and healthcare industry has been the fastest growing industry to adopt technological changes. Here are three stories that reflect how the healthcare industry has changed over the years:

Getting blood tests done is as easy as ordering a pizza these days

“Getting a blood test had never been this simple. Earlier I had to keep aside an entire day for my mother’s blood tests. Collecting the report required another half day’s time to queue up at the centre. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Now I book an appointment online and the representative from the lab comes to our home and collects the sample. Reports are now sent directly to the email address. It has become as easy as getting a pizza delivered to your house!’ – Harman Singh, 45 years, MNC employee.

Harman’s mother, aged 68, has been diabetic ever since his birth and getting blood sugar tested has been an arduous task for them. Not only it required a lot of time, but the travelling had also started to add to his aging mother’s health woes. Getting the blood sample collected from the comfort of one’s home and having the test reports delivered via email, has been a blessing for patients like Harman’s mother.

No more waiting at the doctor’s clinic for getting reports checked

Waiting at the doctor’s for a diagnosis isn’t as painful as waiting to get your reports checked.

“I had once waited for two and half hours to get my son’s reports checked while he was home alone with a high fever. Thanks to doctors who are available via emails and WhatsApp, you don’t need to wait up for this anymore.” – Sunita Joshi, 28 years, homemaker.

Sunita is not the only one who has been in such a tricky situation. More often than not, a patient is not in a condition to visit the doctor multiple times and the care-taker ends up doing so at the cost of leaving the patient unattended for hours.

The doctor’s availability on online mediums like emails and WhatsApp has not only helped people like Sunita but has also helped in shortening the queue at the doctor’s clinic.

No more shuffling between doctors with a load of files

Gone are the days when the patient would require visiting different doctors with numerous files encasing their medical history. The online patient record system has been a boon both for doctors as well as patients. It not only lets the doctor refer to the patient’s medical history at just a click of a button but also helps in accurate diagnosis and treatment.

“My brother met with an accident ten years ago and ever since he has undergone multiple surgeries and many treatments. Visiting a new doctor would be a task for us. Carrying so many reports and remembering every small little detail was challenging. Forgetting even the most minute information could prove to be fatal to his health. With the new online patient data system, it has become so much easier. I don’t get anxiety attacks before visiting a doctor anymore.”– Archana Suri, 35 years, Government employee.

It is essential to remember and recall a patient’s medical history when visiting a doctor. Missing out on anything can become a hurdle in proper diagnosis thereby affecting the treatment of the patient. It is difficult to remember every detail about patients with long medical history. The introduction of online patient record system has made it hassle-free for the doctors as well as patients.

These are just some of the stories that reflect that the healthcare system has become smarter in its operation. Owing to these changes, the diagnosis and treatments have become far more accurate. Technology is helping in eliminating judgement of error in several ways.

 

5 Technologies Patients Expect their Doctors to Use

In today’s tech-savvy world where everything is available at a click, it has become imperative to adopt the technological changes and operate with the technological advancements irrespective of what domain you are serving in. Every sector has gone through drastic technological changes in the last decade or so. Technology has occupied a permanent place in people’s lives. With the increasing dependency on technology, businesses, small as well as large, cannot delay embracing these changes. Easy accessibility to the Internet via smartphones has evolved the way people consume information, network with families and friends, stay updated about the latest news, and also entertain themselves. It’s just a matter of few clicks, and everything that one needs to know is rightly available.

Technology has made life easier than what it used to be 20 years ago. Remember the times when you worked on a school project sitting in a library for hours gathering information from various books? All that can be done from the comfort of your home today.

In such a scenario, today’s patients expect their doctors also to adopt and embrace technology to make the interactions easier. Nothing pleases an ailing person more than reaching out to a doctor conveniently. The healthcare sector isn’t lagging behind when it comes to accepting technological changes. In fact, the healthcare sector has benefitted the most from technology. Diagnosis and treatments have become better with the use of technology over the years.

5 Technologies that Doctors Need to Adopt

As technology evolves, expectations rise. Or, the technological inventions are a result of the expectations and ideas of making life easier for humans. Medical and healthcare services are not devoid of these expectations. Rather, patients expect more from their doctors in today’s time.

Here are the 5 things that patients expect their doctors to use:

  1. Online Appointments

The most tedious task while visiting a doctor is to fix an appointment. Despite numerous phone calls to the hospital or doctor’s clinic, patients end up waiting for hours to see the doctor. Online appointments can help in solving this major issue in the healthcare sector. With appointments being booked online in advance, doctors can reduce the patient wait time considerably, leading to higher patient satisfaction.

  1. Online Record of Patient’s Medical History

Every time a patient visits a doctor, he/ she needs to carry all the files containing the previous medical history. Maintaining and managing these records is a cumbersome task. Having an online system where this data can be stored and accessed anytime through mobile phone is a boon not only for patients but also for the doctors. It can help in better diagnosis and treatment and reduce the chances of medical errors.

  1. Medical Advice

Today, the Internet is filled with health-related articles. But the problem is that patients don’t know which information they find on “Dr. Google” can be trusted and which cannot be. What if the hospital or doctor’s clinic offers an online portal with only valid and verified information? It could include tips to take care of health, pre-surgery preparations, post-surgery precautions, etc. These will help in patients in staying healthy as well as reduce the burden on doctors as patients will be able to serve themselves and get their queries resolved through such information.

  1. Mobility

All the major businesses are making themselves available to their clients at the go either through their own personalized mobile app or via third-party apps like WhatsApp etc. Patients don’t want to queue outside the doctor’s clinic for getting the medical test reports checked or switching/altering the current medication or getting a small doubt clarified. They need a simple option to communicate with their doctor on an ongoing basis. This can also help the doctors in not only offering ongoing medical advice to their patients but also in keeping them engaged.

  1. Online Billing and Payment

Digital payment transactions have made life easier. Today, people are used to using various digital payment options such as cards, NEFT, and mobile wallets. They expect their doctors to facilitate payments through such online modes. Online billing and payment system can also help in keeping a track of all the medical service related payments, generate receipts for patients, and provide them easy access to all the information for easy insurance claims. For doctors, it means easy compliance, ease of billing, and up-to-date financial records.

Technology has dramatically transformed people’s lifestyle – Be it shopping or medical health. In this era of lightening fast communication, the patients expect the doctors and hospitals to be efficient with their reach. Adopting these technologies can change the way the medical fraternity operates thereby saving not only time but also making the medical services cost effective for every patient.

 

 

 

 

 

How Technology Can Transform Doctor-Patient Relationship

The doctor-patient relationship is on the cusp of disruption. The increased availability of information, technology adoption, the rise of smartphones, better carrier networks, and increased internet usage are all contributing to the rise of the ‘involved patient’. Susannah Fox entrepreneur in residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says, “Consumers only used to get a filtered drip of information. What the Internet did was pull open that funnel and give people more access — not complete access — to health information.

No longer are patients passive consumers of healthcare. Today, they want to manage their own health journeys, make their own health choices, keep track of their wellbeing and access clinical support that they feel is right for them. Almost 90% of the millennial generation look for medical information on social networks before they make their healthcare decisions – it is a testament to the fact that the locus of control is moving from the hands of the physician alone and into the hands of the individuals seeking care. With the help of technology, healthcare providers too, are looking at improving patient engagement along with increasing efficiencies and improving operational costs.

Physicians today are looking at mobile phones to boost patient engagement and optimally utilize their time in between commutes. A report from Research2Guidance shows that almost 80% of physicians now use a smartphone or medical app. Since an increasing number of mobile apps are now being developed keeping the regulatory and compliance requirements in mind, the healthcare community comprising of doctors, private practices and hospitals are now finding it easier to use mobile devices across the healthcare spectrum. James Avallone, Director of Physician Research at Manhattan Research aptly states, “As we move to an outcomes-based model of healthcare provision…, remote monitoring and telehealth are going to drive an extension of the point of care. We’re seeing physician attitudes really align with policy.”  In this blog, we take a look at how technology is helping doctors and patients foster a better working relationship.

Health Information Management

Given that most patients have online access, they can leverage technology to access their health records. Technologies such as cloud give both the physician and the patient access to health records such as scans, X-Rays, pathological reports, patient history etc. anytime and anywhere. This ensures that neither the patient nor the doctor wastes any time looking for and filtering the right healthcare information when they need it. With health information management systems, doctors can get a comprehensive view of a patient’s health history and are aware of any problems or issues that the patient might have forgotten to mention during a consultation. Such technologies make sure that the consultation time is used productively which make doctor-patient interactions smoother and more effective.

Improved Communication

Technology is also helping doctors and patients improve interactions with each other. With more access to their health-related information, patients feel more in control of their care as they are able to understand their conditions better.

  • Post consultation updates that can be automated and sent via SMS’s ensure that patients have access to all vital pieces of information that are essential for managing their health.
  • Improved doctor-patient interactions not only impacts the patient’s experience with the doctor but also make sure that they follow their practitioner’s directives better.
  • Access to health data also gives patients the chance to ask relevant and more focused questions to their doctors and helps them gain an understanding of what their health data is saying from the physician.
  • With technology, patients can now discuss their medications, side effects, alternative medicine, lifestyle changes etc. with their doctors more accurately.

The role of the doctor thus has evolved from being an authoritarian care provider to one who is more of a mentor and an advisor. The doctors too are able to facilitate these interactions easily as getting access to current and updated patient data and records are at their fingertips owing to smartphones.

Pre and Post-Operative Care

Technology goes a long way in advancing patient outcomes by improving pre and post-operative care and improves the surgical pathways.

  • Doctors can use technology to help the patient understand risks and benefits of a particular surgery before an operation with the help of evidence-based suggestions.
  • With the help of direct messages, doctors can intimate the patient on the necessary precautions and measures they need to take before a surgery.
  • Health information exchanges can become more streamlined when clinical data in the form of medical records and investigation results can be efficiently shared with the right stakeholders before surgical intervention making the pre-operative process smoother for both the patient and the doctors.
  • Doctors can also use technology to deliver tailored post-operative care plans which include expected length of stay, post-operative care, self-managed symptoms, and side effects etc.
  • They can complete symptom assessments electronically that can help in effective discharge planning and send electronic alerts to their patients regarding medicines and consultation reminders once they are discharged from the hospital to make health management easier and effective.

Chronic Disease Management

Technology goes a long way in chronic disease management. Mobile health applications help people with chronic diseases become more accountable towards their health. Interoperable applications enable doctors to gather healthcare data to track their patient’s behaviours and send out timely reminders to help them manage their conditions better and decrease hospital readmissions. With such technology, medical staff can send out educational interventions by providing objective data and helps the patients manage their condition better.  Almost 93% of doctors believe that mHealth applications can improve a patient’s health and 40% of doctors believe that mHealth technologies can reduce the number of visits to a physician.

Risk Management

Mobile health applications also give physicians access to health-related data which helps them identify potential candidates who are ‘at risk’ of a particular disease. For example, accessing health data to identify patients who have been susceptible to the flu at a certain time of the year can help the doctor take a more preventive approach towards healthcare. The same data can be put to use to even identify patients who are at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary diseases etc.  and preventive steps can be taken to reduce risk and promote better health.

Clearly, technology has been a big influencer in the changing doctor-patient dynamics. However, while leveraging healthcare technologies, it is essential that the application fosters interoperability between the patient and the doctor, is easy to use and is secure. Technology is allowing both patients and practitioners more control over health by offering reliable data, access to clinical support, and high information levels. This is helping patients get closer to medical science and health management than ever before by increasing transparency and participation and is helping doctors improve the quality of their patient interactions, reduce wait times and better patient outcomes.