This Is What an Integrated Healthcare Experience Looks Like

The Indian healthcare industry is very fragmented. The whole ecosystem is largely manual and paper-based. Patients, today, have to go through a lot of hassles and stages to get a proper medical care. This leads them to be frustrated and irritated owing to factors such as long wait times, specialized physicians that are not easy to get hold of, and a medical system that is not easily accessible. The overall healthcare system in our country is at a very unorganized level. Patients need to take care of all documentation and records such as reports, x-rays, prescriptions, notes from doctors etc. manually and be responsible for all of them. This is a result of the fact that we do not have one integrated platform where all the information and content can be readily available and easily accessed by patients, doctors, physicians and anyone else who may be involved in the process of the treatment.

How can an integrated healthcare experience benefit the patients?

However, in recent years, the face of healthcare industry is changing and people are coming up with more healthcare options than we have ever been exposed to. India’s healthcare system is working towards technology-enabled collaborations to incorporate advanced techniques and ideas in the processes. These introductions aim towards creating a fully integrated healthcare system which will

  • Provide comprehensive solutions to all the individual entities such as patients, doctors, physicians, clinics, hospitals, laboratories, and medical stores.
  • The application and use of such a system will enable faster and more efficient communication between patients and doctors and make the entire system more smooth.
  • The use of cloud-based and mobile-based tools for storage and access of information will make them easily accessible at any time from any device. Such an experience is what can be defined as an integrated healthcare experience.

Better patient care at lower costs

Integrated care aims at taking a more comprehensive approach offering the patients with higher-quality and more efficient care that better meets their needs.

Along with that, it also tries to reduce the costs involved in the treatment by analysing the overall situation and taking the right steps at the right time. It can work around different approaches but the ultimate aim is to provide the patients with what is best for them.

In the case of patients suffering from chronic diseases, integrated care works towards creating a symbiosis between primary and secondary care to ensure more appropriate use of health care resources. It aims towards ensuring the availability of all types of services such as physicians, specialists, nutritionists and other health professionals for patients on a single platform.

With an integrated system, patients will be able to undergo diagnostic tests and get prescriptions filled in one go. They will be able to store a complete health history of themselves as well as their families online, thus avoiding the hassle of preserving physical documents.

Smooth communication between doctors, caregivers and patients and optimised costs

Another feat integrated care works towards achieving is to improve communication between a wider range of services. This facility will allow the patients who have undergone a treatment or surgery at a hospital to get discharged at an earlier time than the usual. They will then be provided with follow-up services and appropriate care. The aim is to reduce the hospital stay once the patients no longer require close treatment, thus reducing costs and optimising the overall process.

Patient Finance and Insurance Management

Patients will be also able to keep track of their healthcare finance management by quickly accessing their insurance credentials, insurance details, reimbursement that can be claimed through their insurance by accessing all the information on their mobile phones.

 Self care

Through access to all the healthcare analytics data, the patients will be able to decrease the risk of costly emergency interventions and thus reduce the chances of death. The insights provided by the integrated healthcare management system will allow the patients to keep a constant check on their health without having to visit your doctor each time. Old patients suffering from chronic diseases will be able to easily track their medications, get medication reminders, and reduce the chances of wrong medications.

While healthcare industry has developed a lot in the recent years and has seen many technological transformations, there is always scope to develop the existing services and aim at achieving higher levels of integration. Integrated healthcare systems provide a full continuum of services in a user-friendly manner, creating a one-stop environment to eliminate the cost of intermediaries, promote wellness, and improve overall health outcomes.

 

Savetime CEO tells Lighthouse Insights how a simple idea is helping thousands of patients, docs connect online

Mitesh Bohra, Co-founder and CEO
Mitesh Bohra, Co-founder and CEO

From a dream that three entrepreneurs shared at a park in Andheri to an algorithm that was too complex to cut it, to the great Indian reality check that led the trio to answer the fundamental question that besets Indian healthcare, Savetime.com’s journey has been an engaging one.On March 11, social media news website Lighthouse Insights met with Mitesh Bohra, co-founder and CEO of Savetime to understand how the Internet has changed the way we look at every aspect of our lives.

In the interview, he talks about how Savetime simplified the decision-making process of a patient as far as choosing the right doctor or hospital is concerned. This journey not only involved technical troubleshooting that creating such a vast platform presents, but also understanding the phenomenon of migration (1 in 3 Indians is a migrant!) within the country and, finally, answering that one simple question: “Which doctor should I visit?”

This ostensibly simple question threw up some interesting challenges. For instance, was it enough to find a doctor? As Mitesh explained, for a web platform to actually affect life in a positive, substantial and cohesive manner, it was not enough to be just another online directory.

Savetime had to go deeper into the problem that people actually face. After a dedicated survey in Pune and Indore, the picture got clearer and led to Savetime.com as it is today: a large community of patients and doctors.

Mitesh also told Lighthouse how Savetime spent many hours on the field talking to doctors, and understanding how the health eco-system functions. These field excursions answered an interesting question: It wasn’t just about finding a doctor, but also about helping the patient make an informed decision. And that is how the patient review system came about – a powerful tool in the hand of the consumer. This system today answers the most basic question: Did you feel better after visiting the doctor you chose? Was the experience pleasant?

As Mitesh further explained, doctors are also appreciating the value addition that Savetime is making to patients’ lives directly. Many doctors are happy that they can now connect with the patient community online with the tools that Savetime.com offers. And Savetime is helping them do this in an ethical manner, using various tools like social media, patient outreach, and so on.

Today Savetime is an online community comprising over 4,300 doctors and 7,000 patients in just about a year. And this mutually beneficial connection is growing at a phenomenal rate. The reason for it is that Savetime is about something that we deeply care for: our health.

To get a detailed account of Savetime’s journey and how it is pioneering change on the healthcare map, check out this two-video interview series at Lighthouse Insights:

Mitesh Bohra, co-founder, Savetime talks to Lighthouse Insights

Lighthouse Insights video part 2

Heart patients, say goodbye to surgical pacemakers

A wireless pacemaker that requires no surgery has been invented. The device can be implanted in 10-15 minutes with a catheter that is threaded into the groin and then up to the heart via the femoral vein. The breaking news came from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan recently after the doctors successfully implanted the first of the new pacemakers.

This means no invasive procedures, no surgery and no wires. This pacemaker is also leadless. Because of its smaller size, the battery should last longer, and might not need to be replaced over the patient’s lifetime. Current pacemakers need battery replacement every 7 to 12 years, which requires surgery.

Every year, about 700,000 new heart patients require a pacemaker. The new pacemaker will benefit more than 4 million patients who currently have a pacemaker.

The possible advantages of this pacemaker include:

  • Elimination of a surgical pocket
  • No visible pacemaker device under a patient’s chest skin
  • No incision scar and no restrictions on a patient’s regular activities
  • Less potential for complications and malfunction
  • Fully retrievable from the heart

However, before the new pacemaker is widely used, it needs an approval from FDA. Until then, it will be used only in clinical trials.

An open letter to Arvind Kejriwal on aam aadmi’s health

By Santanu B
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Arvind Kejriwal (Image Courtesy - indiatoday.intoday.in)
Arvind Kejriwal
(Image Courtesy – indiatoday.intoday.in)

Dear Arvind Kejriwal:

Now that you are going to be the chief minister of Delhi (with Congress support, of course), we at Savetime have a few concerns and requests for the Aam Aadmi Party. To begin with, you deserve a round of applause for taking on the money machine politics of Delhi and showing them that people are not stupid. Now a word of caution: please do not degenerate into an aam party. With the Congress behind you that is a possibility. Of course, we understand that in politics there are compulsions and, in order to change things, it is better to be in power. We do not know how quickly or effectively the system can be changed, but we cannot be sure until somebody gets a fighting chance. So, while we look to a brighter future (what’s the new year for, anyway?), we know that we have to tread lightly because the fact is, your party is yet to be put to the governance test. While people’s revolutions work well, the brains behind it may or may not make great administrators. Look what happened to Assam. After the Assam Accord was signed by Rajeev Gandhi and the revolutionary students’ body, AASU, took the reins of governance as the AGP, it screwed up the state’s future because the leaders could not handle the power (and the dough that comes along) humbly and sensibly – a very common story. Continue reading An open letter to Arvind Kejriwal on aam aadmi’s health

Healthcare and Technology

In the year 2010, 21-year-old Ravindra Mokashi, a resident of Vada village in Thane district, was stricken by an almost debilitating pain around his mouth and throat. Ultimately, swelling in the area combined with an inability to swallow even a morsel of food, forced Mokashi to make the long trek to the Thane District Hospital in Thane city. But doctors there were unable to identify what appeared to be a growth near his throat.

It was then that they consulted specialists at KEM Hospital Pune with the help of a telemedicine centre that had been set up at both healthcare centres less than two years ago. Doctors in Mumbai, after studying Mokashi’s case, diagnosed him with a rare condition, schwannoma of hypoglossal nerve, a benign tumour. “We didn’t know if the mass was a normal occurrence or not. So we consulted doctors at KEM. The verdict was that the benign growth had to be operated on immediately,’’ said Dr V Kalwanda, Thane District Hospital. Mokashi underwent surgery on February 15, where doctors removed an almost four-cm-long mass of tumour.

Source: Times of India

This is just one of the case where telemedicine has helped a patient. In Pune since the start of telemedicine in KEM hospital, rural Maharashtra has benefited from it in several ways. Such stories can now be found in other states such as Rajasthan, Assam, Bihar and all over India.

Telemedicine now makes a mockery of distance and provides a timely and expert doctor care to the people residing in the remote parts of the country.

Our healthcare system even helps out several African countries with telemedicine. In a closely monitored project by our previous President APJ Abdul Kalam, India helped connect several remote areas in African countries and provided the people there with much needed healthcare at affordable rates. In addition the ill-equipped and under staffed hospitals of such African countries can now discuss medical cases and even perform critical operations under the supervision of expert medical counterparts sitting in India.

Technology has advanced in order to deliver healthcare in more ways than one. Now people are no longer stuck up with what their doctor tells them.

The first thing an internet-savvy youth does when he is facing some form of physical pain or discomfort is put the symptoms on a search engine to find out what is ailing him. Information exchange has become so easy that medical reports of an Indian patient are sent to specialist sitting in U.S. or Europe to get a second opinion.

Patients today are not satisfied by just simply following what their doctors tell them. They seek second opinion, they search for possible causes, they investigate medicines and their side effects that a doctor may have suggested. Patients also pose different question to their doctors about their medical condition and treatment they’re undergoing. Ease of access to information has empowered them to take informed decisions and presented them with more suitable choices.

Alternative medicines are getting lot of focus with the advent of technology in healthcare industry. This has kept the medical fraternity also on their toes, to diagnose better, to suggest better options that include non-invasive and other safer methods.

Websites with information on medicine and alternative medicine have mushroomed in past few years. Mobile apps can help you track your medicine schedule, can keep a track of your vitals, medical reports and much more.

At the minimum every nook and corner of the country is equipped with a phone, every other person in the country now carries a mobile. Even this piece of technology has made remarkable strides in providing and receiving healthcare. With this easy mode of communication, patients interact with their friends and relatives at different places to get more information about the cures to their ailments or specialists available in different parts of the country.

20 years back this was not the case, a patient was at the mercy of doctor and his treatment and in some ways this is still the case. Technology has changed this picture for the better and continues to do so. In the years to come it will help each and every Indian receive better medical care at affordable rates.

Savetime.com is also another small step in this direction.

AbhinavAbhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.