5 Things that Doctors Hate in Healthcare IT Technology

Technology has impacted every walk of our lives. The last few years have seen revolutionary technological advancements. From landline telephones to smartphones, from feature phones to iPhones, from slow internet connections to today’s 4G connections, technology has phenomenally transformed our lives. The way we read news on mobile, interact with friends and family members through social networking sites, do online shopping – technology has changed the way we live our lives.

Similar to other industries, the healthcare industry also is seeing rapid changes owing to the innovations in medical devices and software. Digital technologies are changing the way care is administered to patients and also the way healthcare organisations function. While there is a growth in the adoption of healthcare technologies by health providers, there is also displeasure amongst the doctors about the available healthcare technologies. It is not that doctors are not used to using latest technologies – they are the ones who have been using the latest technologies since a long time – right from MRI machines, X-Ray machines, or the various hospital instruments, they are well versed with the use of technology. Then what is wrong with today’s healthcare IT solutions?

Research shows that hospital staff spends on an average 5 hours a day entering patients’ data into electronic health records (EHRs). Hospitals are needing to hire more staff for conducting data work. A large chunk of the hospital income is being spent on keeping up with technological advancements and maintaining a task force for it. This is a completely counter-intuitive scenario. When the technology is supposed to reduce time and efforts and enhance the patient care, what is making it not deliver on its promise?

Here is our take why doctors could be hating the healthcare IT solutions available to them –

Mobility

Most of the times, doctors are on the move. From hospitals rounds, OPDs, to moving from one clinic to the other – they are hardly at their desk. The biggest drawback of many of the available healthcare IT solutions is their stationary nature. The doctors are required to input data regarding their patients after returning to their desks. With so many patients in the hospital and with an equal number of them visiting daily in the OPD, it becomes tasking to remember, recollect and retain the accurate information for each of the patients. Doctors need a solution which can allow them to access patient information anytime, anywhere, right from their mobile devices.

Non-Intuitive Interface

Some of the most crucial duties of doctors include attending to emergencies, looking after inpatients, medical floors, and attending intensive care units. What doctors need a solution which can provide them quick and easy access to patient data, reduce the costs of operations, reduce human errors and help in reliable prescriptions.

Doctors need a system which can allow them to enter data with a few clicks or drag and drop. They need a system which is extremely easy to use, works on their mobile phones or tablets, is designed “for doctors”. In many cases, the health IT solutions do not consider the working patterns of the doctors and are designed in a very complex fashion. 

Non-Integrated Systems

Hospitals and clinics generate a humongous amount of data – patient records, inventory records, data from medical stores and labs, and so on. While technology has entered hospitals and some records are being maintained through computers instead of paper records, all the systems still work in silos. There is no integration of this information. This further adds to the woes of the doctors and the medical staff working in the hospitals and clinics. A major chunk of their medical time is invested in maintaining, finding, or sorting the data. Having a solution which integrates various aspects of the healthcare ecosystem will immensely help the medical fraternity as it can give them quick access to all the required information.

Complex Workflows

Each hospital and clinic follows specific workflows. Just because they are adopting a particular technology does not mean that the hospitals will change their workflows. The health IT solution should be flexible and adaptable to the hospital’s specific workflows. It needs to allow the creation of custom workflows. Since no two doctors think alike, each doctor follows a specific style of working, a specific pattern, and processes the information in a particular way. When the IT systems force all the doctors to follow the same pattern, the doctors don’t appreciate it and it makes them unproductive.

Hard to Manage 

The doctors or the staff at the healthcare organisation are not necessarily equipped to handle complex hardware and software. Handling software failures or hardware updates is a daunting task for them. Hospitals also do not want to build and manage their own IT teams to maintain and upgrade their IT systems. They need solutions which can be accessed via the web, do not require any efforts on their part to upgrade or maintain, and do not need any capital investment in hardware or software. That’s where the latest cloud-based solutions are gaining popularity amongst the doctors and hospitals.

Time is of the essence for doctors, and they need to take very crucial decisions within a very short time. We, at Mars Plus believe that technology should aid the doctors in their decision-making, reduce their time and efforts, help them spend more time with their patients, reduce their costs and overheads, and improve the overall patient care. With that in mind, we have designed a very user-friendly and fully-integrated healthcare ecosystem – check it out at www.marspls.com.

 

Healthcare Meets Technology – When Two Worlds Converge

The recently concluded Times Health Icons Pune 2017 event, conducted by the Times of India, felicitating some of the pathbreakers in the field of medicine met with resounding success.

Mars Pune Times Health Icons

MARSPlus was the sponsor for this event. We got an opportunity to have a candid conversation with up Dr. Bhandari who was one of the speakers at the event. Dr. Bhandari is a renowned bariatric surgeon and a strong technology advocate. He is the Founder Director of Mohak Bariatrics and Robotics, Indore and Director, Bhandari Hospital and Research Centre, Indore and has performed over 8000 Bariatric procedures. He has also been featured in the Limca Book of Records for operating over 25 complex and diversified Bariatric /Robotic procedure in a span of 11 hours! He has conducted more than 750 complex robotic bariatric procedures and his centre is one of the most sought-after centres for revisions in weight loss surgery addressing failures after bariatric surgery.

Here is an excerpt from the conversation.

Dr. Mohit BhandariTechnology, according to Dr. Bhandari, is a great boon for the healthcare segment. Having established one of the most technologically advanced hospitals in the country, he believes that the use of technology in healthcare is a critical enabler of productivity, ensuring precision and patient satisfaction. Unlike the propaganda of ‘technology is a distraction’, Dr. Bhandari believes that when used appropriately, technology actually can improve efficiencies of doctors and help them manipulate their time effectively. Managing multiple patients and hospital functions and functionalities can add to the cognitive burden. Technology helps a great deal in alleviating this burden and helps in building an interconnected network that not only improves process efficiencies but also helps in placing the patient at the heart of the healthcare process.

With the great consumerisation of everything, healthcare too now has to become more patient-centric. The relationships between doctors and patients have undergone a massive shift. The patients are no more just the passive recipients of healthcare. Their expectations from their healthcare experience are rising. Since doctors only have a finite amount of time in their hands, they have to ensure that the time they spend with their patient is optimally productive. According to Dr. Bhandari, having a siloed healthcare approach cannot enable productive interactions. Doctor-patient relationships now have to be more engaging and doctors cannot afford to waste their time in looking for information. They need to maximise their time with patients.

Dr. Bhandari feels that while technology has been a part of the healthcare ecosystem, health tech has to become simpler. Disconnected and siloed solutions to automate or digitise healthcare not only limit information sharing but also demand a lot of time and attention, something that is a premium for most healthcare practitioners. Some of the earlier healthcare systems have been so complex that they demanded a separate team of technicians only to do data entry. As one of the earliest adopters of MARSPlus integrated health app, he feels that the ease of use offered by MARSPlus is what makes it a unique solution.

Dr. Bhandari deduces that when health tech offers an integrated experience, it paves the path for delivering good healthcare services. According to Dr. Bhandari, “a fully integrated platform like MarsPlus allows me to stay connected with my network of remote doctors, laboratories in other cities and most importantly stay connected directly with patients.  As a bariatric practice, we need to closely monitor patients progress and overall health after they have left our facility and MARS helps us do that seamlessly.”

The complexity of use of healthcare applications has been one of the biggest impediments to adoption. Since doctors are people who are always on the go, an easy to use platform that connects all the stakeholders of healthcare, the doctors, the hospitals, the labs, the pathology departments and ancillary areas such as billing and finance can be a great boon. Dr. Bhandari uses the MARSPlus solution extensively in his own hospital to ensure patient satisfaction, identify areas of improvement and stay in touch with his patients proactively. The additional benefit is that he doesn’t have to depend on his diary to manage his appointments. His app manages everything with surgical precision for him.

Dr. Bhandari attributes the success of his hospitals to “exceptional team skills, a correct attitude, infrastructure with cutting-edge technology, and keeping pace with time”. He believes that technology has interwoven itself into the very fabric of our lives and we should leverage it to the maximum. He himself uses technology to manage the post-operative care of his patients. “A good technology solution also helps us leverage data”, he says. He further adds “When we have a single repository of all patient data then the time spent with the patient is more productive.” When we asked him if he felt that technology was a distraction for the doctors his reply was simple. He said “Not at all. In fact, it helps in spending more time with the patients.

During the course of this event it became clear that contrary to what we are lead to believe, doctors are, in fact, strong advocates of technology. After all, they are surrounded by it during all their waking and working hours. However, what they do not like is the manner in which these solutions are built and the complexity of use. A comprehensive and integrated healthcare solution that takes into considering all the important checkpoints, is easy to use, mobile compatible and allows the anywhere, anytime use can enable proactive healthcare is clearly be a welcome addition to the healthcare ecosystem of today.