COVID pandemic & series of lockdowns has posed a strain on all sectors of the country. However, this virus put an extra amount of pressure on the Diagnostic Sector. With swamps of people being tested and retested every day, wide gaps in the industry created even bigger troubles for the care delivery protocols. With lack of manpower, availability of test kits & machines in the rural areas, the problems are much worse. Very minimum innovation has been done with Diagnostic or Testing centres as compared to solutions available to the medicos.
The biggest missing piece from the patient journey in the testing and consultation process is that the doctors and diagnostic centres are still not integrated and operate in absolute unison. These non-communicable systems which are not interoperable create workflows and referral systems for patients which are not only archaic but are also largely human-driven.
A single OPD consultation requires each patient to have multiple rounds of visits between a doctor chamber and the testing centre. This problem aggravates when the patients are especially visiting a larger centre in other cities.
On the other side, the independent diagnostic software or platforms available off the shelf in the market, do not cater to the entire end to end needs of centres. Even after years of its standardization, HL7, a global medical standard aimed for data sanitization and transmission is entirely missing in the country. Very few labs or testing centres in India, follow or implement these globally accepted norms.
How HealthTech integration in diagnostics will revamp the Healthcare facilities?
Technology adoption in diagnostic centres needs to increase at a rampant pace while creating SOPs(standard operating procedures) as written in the NABL compliance requirements, a system backend process without hampering or lengthening any work for the technicians, pathologists or radiologists.
Doctors in OPD Chambers should be integrated directly with their chosen and pre-decided diagnostic and two-way workflows between consulting doctors and diagnostic doctors facilitating patient’s journey should be the central theme of such interoperable platforms.
Diagnostic platforms should be able to provide end-to-end center management tools with appointment scheduling, invoicing, report making, inventory management while being compliant with regulatory requirements under NABL and other such bodies.
HArbor Says: Though India has made a decade of progress in mere two years, the growth has seen its limitations, which can only be resolved with technology. HealthTech in the post-COVID era will assist the diagnostic sector to upgrade its services, enhance consumer engagement, quick assessment & ensure lab technician safety.