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.

 

What Should Doctors and Clinics Look for When Making Technology Choices?

The obvious advantages of technology adoption have made it an integral part of the fabric of businesses today. There is hardly any business that is untouched by technology and in order to stay ahead of the curve, all businesses today are making sure that their information systems evolve and grow at the same pace as the technological advancements.

The healthcare industry, too, has extensively adopted technology to streamline processes, increase efficiencies and productivity, and improve patient care and healthcare outcomes. By 2022, we can expect the global healthcare information systems market to technology market to grow to approximately 60.00 billion from approximately USD 41.20 billion in 2016. These are compelling figures that show that technology adoption in the healthcare segment in on a healthy incremental growth.

Having said this, it is not just large hospitals that can leverage technology for its benefits. Small practices too can reap the same benefits from technology. However, when making a technology choice there are some parameters that should be considered to ensure that the technology helps in improving costs and efficiencies along with patient outcomes. The technology solution should be a comprehensive product that not only helps in clinic management but can provide integrated healthcare experiences. In this blog, we take a look at a few parameters that doctors must look for when making technology choices to give their practice the technological edge.

Usability

Great usability forms the crux of any good information system. When selecting an information system for their practice, doctors, thus, should ensure that the system has easy to use user interfaces, allows easy data entry with minimal typing, facilitates easy data exchange etc. and ensure that the software that they purchase facilitates high performance. It should have an intuitive user interface and should ensure easy navigation of the system.

Implementation

Which technology solution are you most likely to use – one that is available in a ready to use, plug-and-play format or one that demands a huge time investment to achieve the same result? When choosing a technology solution for a practice, it is best to choose one that provides comprehensive features but comes in an easy to use, plug-and-play format and does not have a steep learning curve. Considering doctors and their administrative staff both are extremely busy, purchasing a technology solution that is complex, has a steep learning curve and takes a long time to implement will only impede the use of the solution and leave it as an overhead cost.

Comprehensive Solution

Good things come in small packages. However, today the package has to be small and yet has to be comprehensive. Doctors do not have the time to invest in making different technology choices for different functionalities and hence demand a solution that is comprehensive and fully-functional and at the same time. A technology solution should, thus, connect the entire practice ecosystem on one common platform. From patient management, practice management, finance management to data analytics, the solution should connect all the dots easily and demand minimal effort from its users to ensure that the doctors can focus on their most important area – their patients. Many a times technology implementations in clinics fail mainly because the doctors do not receive a comprehensive solution and have to make multiple technology purchases to meet their requirements.

Mobility

Today, if a technology solution does not provide mobility then it is most likely to fail. Since doctors are always on the move, they need to make sure that the solution in use gives them the mobility advantage so that they can be productive even when they are on the go. Thus, the solution should be accessible on the mobile and should allow them to make iterations from the phone itself. For example, if a doctor wants to access a patient’s health record, or upload patient history or share test results etc. they should be able to do so from their handheld device irrespective of their location.

Scalability

If a technology solution does not offer scalability then it is most likely to fail its purpose. Having a cloud-based solution that can handle multiple loads and increase its capacity and facilitate the addition of additional features according to the needs of a practice become essential for successful implementation of a technology solution for any practice.

Patient integration

Patients today are the consumers of healthcare. The technology choice, thus, should provide an integrated platform where they can store their health records, test results, health history, provide prescription management etc. and allow them to access these anytime, anywhere so that the patients can get proactively involved in their own health management.

Along with the above, the technology should take into account how its users are going to utilise the solution. The solution provider should talk to the users and assess their usability demands and then make iterations to the solution and provide customisation options to suit the needs of the customers to ensure that the solution meets the user demands. The product should provide an interoperable structure, understand the clinical goals and increase cost efficiencies in order to benefit the practice by increasing productivity and ensuring that the key priorities of the practice are met at all times.