Running a clinic? The success depends on acing your interdepartmental processes and communication. 

Have you ever wondered why patient engagement and care satisfaction is so challenging even when your staff has given their best? The answer is not out of the world.

For patients, the end #Goals are simple: accessible care, economical medical bills and positive treatment outcomes. But, medical facilities face varied challenges in ensuring patients desired experience during hospital/clinic visits. Besides this, every healthcare facility aims to deliver the best possible care, but if only, every care encounter would guarantee patient satisfaction and engagement! 

Out of the various parameters determining a care facility’s success, inter-departmental coordination issues have taken a front seat in healthcare units lately, as the repercussions can be lethal if left unchecked. Fundamental to a healthcare unit, inter-departmental processes guarantee smooth workflows and diminish human errors. 

“ When lives are at stake, asynchronous communication is a health hazard”

Challenges of Interdepartmental coordination in Primary care

  • Ineffective inter-department interactions

Imagine being ill and constantly juggling from one department to another (OPD – DIAGNOSTIC CENTRES – CLINIC RECEPTIONS – OPD Chambers). And, it gets egregious, followed and preceded by hours of wait time.  

Patient care and their transfers are dependent on smooth interaction between the departments. Whether it is between clinical to non-clinical departments or between clinical-clinical transfers, an efficient healthtech platform can be the key to eliminating the gaps and unforeseen hurdles during the processes. It assists the receiving departments to be on alert while being prepared for the same. For example – In NSD (Normal Spontaneous Delivery) cases or Accidental Trauma cases – a secondary care unit (with the prior information of the transfer) will be prepared with specialists on call, OT and any diagnostic evaluations essential for that particular case.

While it’s crucial to understand the importance of healthcare systems for smooth interdepartmental processes in a hospital, it is essential to note that without a healthcare system, a primary care unit separates itself from the entire healthcare pool. Think of it as a ‘break of chain’, which is paid in ‘patient’s health’ currency and leads to patient satisfaction.

  • Ineffective information hand-offs 

In between primary care to specialty care transfers, abrupt interdepartmental communication may create hindrances in the continuity of a patient’s care. The timeliness of information hand-offs between clinical departments or “calling of patient reports” is crucial for enabling the receiving department to check their specialists, equipment & staff availability and more.

During a conversation with staff nurses regarding patient transfer calls, she speaks about why patient transfer and further proceeding hit a delay. When the staff nurses are busy managing other patients in the department, manual report transfers of a patient can take ‘forever’ to process. As a result, patients wait in the state of illness for the treatment to begin. Helpless they stand to manual operating systems of the majority of clinics/speciality clinics in India, the transfer period imparts additional stress in treatment processes.  

A simple solution to this times-old enervated problem is EMR. Think about it – if all you have to do is press a button to send a patient’s report to another healthcare facility, wouldn’t that be easy? Similarly, if your patient wants to discharge and shift to another healthcare facility, it’ll need just a few seconds to be done.

It seems ideal but not impossible, right?

  • Ineffectiveness of information technologies

Talking about EMR’s role in patient transfer, often information from EMR is not enough. The reason being, the fragmented and compartmentalized nature of information in the EMR.

“In a parallel universe –  an ideal EMR would be the transcript of a patient’s health.” 

Technically, EMRs are performing what they were designed and chosen to do. Which is harnessing all of the clinical, operational, and patient-specific data and cataloguing them perfectly for the entire health system to refer. But, EMRs are not, by design, communication tools. They are just treasure troves of information and not purpose-built for workflow communication. 

For example: If you are a software developer working on Android studio, you can’t expect to communicate with your team members via the framework designed by you. You’ll need communication tools like team chat rooms, emails or skype to transcending ideas. But, wouldn’t it help if you can conduct meetings on the same platform or add your teammates on the same to process the work together? 

Similarly, EMRs should be on supporting platforms to enable easy communications, vital data analysis and in a one-tap share module  between healthcare staff, of course with role-based access control. 

An approach of this kind will assist the care professionals to interact efficiently not only with the care facility’s staff but with the patients. Like while ordering a series of lab tests. With an integrated system, medicos can discuss the findings of the ordered test samples with the patients via in-app alerts or notifications. 

HArbor Says:

Managing a healthcare facility isn’t easy, especially when the care facility’s operations and management may get ‘lost in translation’, leaving patients high and dry after every consultation. When it comes to patients, you need a more integrated approach and smooth interdepartmental communications to back your care delivery. 

Want to know how? Ask us today! https://harborvision.in/contact.html

Healthcare Accessibility & Affordability is Tampering your Care Delivery. Do you know why?

Idealistically, healthcare must be same for all, however, when it comes to healthcare accessibility and affordability, this world is distinctively categorized into the privileged and not privileged people. 

Interestingly, there are several factors contributing to this segregation but the main factor which contributed the most to this is the outdated and overburdened public care delivery system which places the primary care practitioners to foot the bill for age-old conditioning within the healthcare system.

Majority people who are the beneficiaries of these public health systems are so tired and exhausted with the sheer lethargy of the process they go through when they needed instant care that they get worked up on the smallest of the factors in private care. When these people make that transition from public to private, they expect their medicos and care-givers to be prompt and create a holistic environment for them. However, This does not mean that they can suddenly afford to pay higher than what they were paying in the public system. 

So the next time when your patients in the private clinic are unable to keep up with their follow-ups or they are concerned if they should continue with the treatment or they are showing temper tantrums while waiting in the reception area, believe that a single step towards resolving these issues will enhance better patient engagement and overall care outcomes.

Being a doctor, do you think that healthcare system’s limitations are significant enough to hinder your healthcare delivery and if yes, then how to ensure better healthcare outcomes while addressing these hurdles?

Trust us, TECHNOLOGY is your ring bearer.

There are many reasons why it is imperative to enhance healthcare affordability as soon as possible. First and foremost, rising healthcare costs are putting a strain on families and care practices alike. According to a report by BMC,

The average cost per episode of outpatient care is around INR 400 for public providers, INR 586 for informal private providers and INR 2643 for formal for-profit providers. This cost is marginally above almost 55% of households in India.  In addition to this, the current healthcare system is simply not sustainable in the long run. 

One way to do this is to improve the efficiency of the healthcare system. This can be done by streamlining processes, increasing transparency, and using technology to improve communication and coordination between care providers. Moreover, we need to find ways to reduce the cost of care on the whole. This includes the cost of medicines, diagnostic test, long travels. Another aspect of reducing the over-all cost of care would be to move the society towards preventive care and using point of care test kits (POCTs)

It is clear that there is no “one silver bullet” that will solve the healthcare affordability problem. We need to take a comprehensive approach that looks at all aspects of the healthcare system and only then can we hope to make meaningful progress in improving healthcare affordable for all.

Do you know: Out of 55-60 Mn Indians are pushed into poverty every year, a staggering 39% do not have ‘access’ to requisite healthcare services i.e. around 22-24 Mn Indians do not receive any medical attention before death.

One of the most important factors in healthcare affordability is accessibility to care. 

When people have easy access to quality healthcare, they are more likely to get the care they need, when they need it. This can prevent serious health problems from becoming worse, and can also help to identify health problems early, when they are more easily treated.

People who have difficulty accessing healthcare are more likely to delay seeking care, or can forego care altogether. This can lead to serious health problems, and can also make existing health problems worse. In addition, people who have difficulty accessing healthcare are more likely to end up in the emergency room, which is often the most expensive place to receive care. These burden of a series of small payments sum up to ‘care dissatisfaction’ while en route to a healthcare facility.

Making healthcare accessible to everyone is an important step in making it affordable for everyone. Meaning when people can easily get the care they need, they are more likely to stay healthy, and less likely to need expensive emergency care.

How does bad healthcare experience affect healthcare accessibility?

Bad healthcare experiences can have a significant impact on healthcare accessibility. If patients have negative experiences with the healthcare system, they may be less likely to seek out care when they need it. This can lead to a number of serious health problems, as patients may avoid seeking care for fear of encountering more negative experiences. In addition, bad healthcare experiences can also lead to patients feeling more disconnected to the system, which can make them less likely to cooperate with their care providers. This can make it more difficult for providers to deliver effective care, and can ultimately make it more problematic for patients to access the care they need.

How Technology can assist your practice? 

Technology can go a long way in improving the affordability and accessibility of healthcare for the millions of people around the world that live in rural areas and do not have access to healthcare. While Healthtech platforms enable you to connect with your patients, you can ensure timely healthcare delivery and continued monitoring via assisted care

From the use of pen & paper, to the use of computers and laptops, to the use of mobile phones for remote monitoring, to POCT diagnostic modules, technology has allowed the healthcare industry to deliver more efficient and effective care to their patients. Furthermore, technology has allowed patients to more easily monitor their own health, which has been a boon to patients who are on medications or chronic conditions. All of this is made possible through the use of technology, which has made healthcare more effective and affordable.

HArbor Says: 

Affordability & Accessibility are crucial parameters of healthcare delivery that determine the quality of a healthcare practice. And, when the healthcare dynamics is changed along with your patients’ behavior, only a healthtech platform like HArbor can enable you to reduce the overall healthcare costs for your patients while keeping your revenues unaffected while strengthening your relationship with patients. 

 

Healthcare Platforms: Personalization vs Data Analytics 

The significance of the challenges while handling healthcare data is coming to light now, more than ever. Healthcare professionals are concerned about the medical data management of their care facilities and are also inclined to adapt technology to store, share & securely regulate ‘medical treasure troves’ to minimize human errors and eliminate care-coordination problems and limitations of paper medical records. But, as ‘a boon comes with a curse’, healthtech adaptation has up-heaved cybersecurity and data protection concerns in healthcare systems. 

From unveiling the faux data analytics to the concept of Personalization in healthcare, let’s get started to know – how the use of healthcare data can change the flow of care practices?

Healthcare is rigorously expanding its horizons using technology. And, while moving forward with healthtech tools it is anticipated to enhance access to care, better clinical workflows, patient experience and clinical outcomes. For smooth healthcare processes, data is the key and when healthcare data management seems complex, some healthcare facilities try to restrict themselves to conventional age-old practices, while others adapt the half-cooked practice management softwares. Either way, care delivery units are likely to get exhausted in Practice, Patient and Data Management challenges due to their traditional or outdated approach. 

A practice management solution is one of the basic necessities to ease out the healthcare processes and enhance patient engagement. As patient engagement has gained increasing prominence in the last decade, soon the majority of care facilities will be picking the most suitable ‘SOFTWARE’ for their healthcare facility. But, operating on a care delivery or clinic management platform should not come with a price of DATA SECURITY!

Believe it or not, this affects patient engagement as well!

Layering of Theft – HealthTech Companies & Medical Data

Healthcare is transforming. This remapping is driving the healthcare industry towards a new direction of innovation while managing and accelerating data processes. However, the many ‘silk roads’ adopted by certain healthtech organisations have proved to be far from the ‘good intentions’ for the human kind. In simple terms – while filling up basic details at a listing website, the patients or the healthcare professionals barely notice the trap they are getting into. And, with ‘proceed’ click, every word of created medical data is sent to the company servers ready for yearly analytics or shared on the ‘dark web’. For money, ofcourse! 

It is estimated that — Healthcare records on the dark web are worth around $50(~4000)/record which is 6 times more valuable than credit card details that are worth $ 6-7(~500 Rs)/card.

Shockingly, listing companies are still able to lure care professionals at the cost of readily handing over their medical data through the cracks in legalese. 

Promises vs Reality —

PROMISESREALITY
Listing websites promises easy care accessibility to anyone at anytimeThey only cover urban population in India
claim to bring down the transactional cost for patientsPatients are anyway paying for trips to pharmacy and diagnostic centers other than consultation fees
Intents to reduce conventional healthcare problemsUnable to reduce fragmented patient care or enhance care personalization

Patients today are proactive towards their health more than ever. 85% of patients say that the more relevant information they get, the more they would trust their doctor and the more they would adhere to the treatment plan. In an age where patients feel like they shall be getting the best help tailored medical attention, medicos need a platform that —

  1. can enable them to reach patients without geographical and language barriers. 
  2. provides continued care for chronic patients, who cannot travel for follow ups.
  3. facilitate preventive care administration
  4. can spread awareness in the time of disease outbreak 
  5. allows them to enhance point-of-care in remote locations
  6. Keeps their patient data secured and only be accessed with authorization. 

Speaking of personalization as the driver for change in healthcare, think about moving –

from Prescriptive to Personalised Medicine.

Would a 14 year old boy shop for the same clothes as his grandfather? Probably not. But when they are unwell, they are likely to receive the same medical treatment, irrespective of their many differences. Something, we have been practising for centuries.

Based on broad population averages, our existing “one-size-fits-all” approach often misses its mark with respect to treatment outcomes. Imbalancing the process of standardisation in medicine and affecting the health of billions, in a way we can’t even imagine. We all are known to have slightly different genetic make-up than one another and great minds of the healthcare industry are tirelessly working to figure out how different people develop disease and respond to treatments? In the past few decades, while making significant progress in medicine, an innovative and challenging concept of personalised medicine(PM) evolved to be the game changer. 

Designed to facilitate care based on one’s unique genetic make-up, personalised medicine is the potential answer to the limitation of  traditional medicine. And, a new hope for medicos by assisting them in:

  • focusing more on disease prevention than driving the treatment on the on-set of parameters of the disease.
  • identifying disease susceptibility.
  • enhancing disease detection.
  • skipping the trial-and-error drug inefficiencies while saving precious treatment time. 
  • customising disease-treatment/prevention strategies.

By tailoring medicines to each person’s unique genetic makeup, it is revolutionising global healthcare to be more precise, predictable and powerful. Furthermore, customising healthcare systems towards better disease prevention, more accurate diagnoses and safer drug prescriptions. 

And, where do we stand?

If they are running cohort-based analytics on the data created in your clinic, they are seeing and using that data. Period.

Kartik Vijaywargi, Founder, HArbor Vision.

HArbor Says: 

Personalising patient care capacitates healthcare facilities to provide care at the best of a patient’s interest while assisting medicos in receiving case-specific understandings and administering care accordingly. However, a care facility’s data in the hands of a healthtech provider violates doctor-patient confidentiality. It is not only unethical but is the start of a ‘scandal’ that ends with filling pockets and marketing the bulk of ‘personal’ patient data. So to speak, this data isn’t helping anybody other than its scavengers. 

If a healthtech platform claims to facilitate informed clinical decision-making via performing analytics on patient data, it is a theft, which should be avoided from the get-go!

Changing healthcare dynamics – Here’s what you should expect! 

Source: Google

While continuing to adjust with evolving dynamics, the traditional stakeholders of the healthcare industry are beginning to integrate with new and diverse players in the system, focused on expediting the use of technology in healthcare.

Traditionally, the stakeholders in the care value chain used a more static approach towards operations and expansion which has become more dynamic with the entry of new age operators. This disparity also affects the patients and has divided them into largely two groups, where one group of care seekers are the one’s who prefer the less fancy, age-old ways of treatment – driven by experienced yet old-schooled doctors and the new-age millennials who prefer tech savvy caregivers.

This blog is your window-view to how the healthcare stakeholders behavior is changing with the evolving healthcare market! 

Evolution of personalised healthcare in the healthTech age.

As healthcare becomes more personalised, the stakes are higher than ever to provide high-quality care in a cost-effective manner. The healthTech age has seen the evolution of personalised healthcare, with patients now able to access their own health data and receive tailored care based on their individual needs. This shift has been made possible by advances in technology, which have allowed for the development of new tools and applications that make it easier for patients to track their health data and receive the care they need. 


Healthcare providers are also recognising the potential of personalised healthcare, and are beginning to offer more services that are tailored to individual patients. This is a positive trend, as it means that patients will have access to the care they need, and that healthcare providers can offer more targeted and effective care.

“For instance, you would be surprised to know that a team lead under Issam Zineh, Director of CDER’s Office of Clinical Pharmacology, has been working on using genetic or other biomarker information to make treatment decisions about patients for over a decade. This means, even the drug that is going to be prescribed, will be customised for each patient.

Mobile is now part of the fabric — every day in everybody’s life. 

If you’re not looking at mobile solutions, then you’re not really looking at all to solve your care delivery problems. Mobile-based solutions are one of the most significantly increased access to point-of-care tools for every stakeholder in the healthcare industry.  

“According to survey reports by NCBI, 85% of the healthcare stakeholders were found to be using their mobile device at least once daily for clinical purposes.” 

Other than supporting fast clinical decision-making and improved patient outcomes, mobile-based healthcare solutions have a higher penetration rate amongst every age group of the users. Moreso, It is extremely important to implement different solutions that can be easily interpreted and understood by stakeholders. Hence, from simplifying the day-to-day management of the healthcare organisation to being an active care participant mobile-based healthcare apps will be the next big thing in healthcare. 

The use of mobile devices also increases tech adoption between the staff of the medical facilities and thus brings better accountability and reduces the changes of human errors since technology can easily send alerts and validations on each step that the procedure team takes. This improves the efficiency of care-giving but also assures patients of better care thus improving trust.

Healthcare is ageing and so is the global population, so you need a system!

The pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past and as reported by WHO in a shocking report, WHO stats, “Around 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries”

The age demographic shift will have a profound impact on healthcare systems around the world. The challenges posed by an ageing population are numerous and far-reaching, and they will require innovative solutions from all sectors of the healthcare industry.

The first challenge is simply meeting the increased demand for healthcare services. This will put strain on already overburdened healthcare systems.

The second challenge is the cost of care. As people live longer, the cost of their care will increase. This will put pressure on healthcare budgets and it will force tough choices about which services to provide and which to cut.

The third challenge is the workforce. Limited healthcare workers in rural/remote areas. 

Utilising technology to resolve these issues is the need of the hour and being a healthcare provider/leader your first course of action must head towards delivering person-centred integrated primary care and facilitating them with access to assisted-long-term care.

Patients are ‘not just receivers’ anymore!

From managing their own health to the level of awareness a patient has about their needs while in nursing, the spectrum of patient engagement has been conceptualised variedly. Some patients are viewed as passive recipients of care and some are categorised to be active stakeholders. With a significant shift in the numbers of active stakeholders in healthcare, healthcare systems can no longer practise the age-old passive-recipient focused protocols and expect patient satisfaction! 

In such a case, we need systems that support patients in engaging with their care. Starting with the modules that elevate the active recipients in healthcare, enhancing patient engagement and eventually better health outcomes and experiences of health care. 

Where shall we start from?

By addressing the basic ‘issues’ in healthcare, relief amongst the healthcare stakeholders can be expected. In the last few years, the healthcare industry has expanded its roots with the new discoveries and technology and now that the healthcare market is ripe with possibilities, let’s reap the fruits of better healthcare for all!

HArborSays: 

Healthcare dynamics are constantly changing and so is the behavior of its stakeholders. Thus, the hunt for ideal healthcare solutions has concurred healthcare leaders with disappointment. However, in the middle of aggravated dynamic complexities in healthcare, if we can expect the best possible solutions that can bring an overhaul of the existing system; we can redesign it brick by brick as well!

Are you Brand Conscious or Brain Conscious,

while choosing a practice management software for your clinic?

Because when your casual Google search for “practice management system”  returns over 16 Million results, it can get a little overwhelming, especially when the majority of these platforms look promising for your business. Promises sound fair until they are kept and sadly, your ceaseless faith in market trends can do you more harm than good. In the process of creating a brand, we often forget what might have  worked for a few others may not work for us! Hence, eventually, we find ourselves fascinated with sale campaigns and end up spending loads on software which may not be a perfect fit for your care facility. 

While looking for an ideal healthtech software, one must consider a few things, which include:

Overall value of the software: Pricing is integral to any business decision, however, decision on price point alone may not ensure the value. And, purchasing expensive software just for its ‘fancy’ extra features may not work out for you either. Instead, begin with your ‘must have’ feature list, set your price range and while you are at it think also of your business expansion plans. So that when you’re finally negotiating, you’d know what you want. 

  • Software support and implementation requirements: Other than selecting a software with good adaptation proficiency, your software should come with a 24/7 support team that can handle any grievance immediately. It is better to check on the implementation methods if your Clinic Management Software is complex and your staff requires training. A dedicated relationship manager also reduces your overall training cost with every attritio.

Pro tip: If your software provider assigns a dedicated team for implementation and staff training, it’s a keeper! 

  • Speciality wise customization: HealthTech companies pay attention to the customization that are significant to every specialty. Customization, on paper, sounds great, but a highly customized platform may bring you a system which is complex and cumbersome. Thus, experts suggest locally customized software over standardized platforms as it facilitates you to explore the platform for effective management. 
  • After-sale services: It’s true that a good after-sales service team significantly enhances the client-company relationship and has proved to elevate the sales via just by word-of-mouth. However, these services help clients just the same. After-sales service team is that connecting chain which attends to all your suggestions while making sure that your care facility system is taken care of. 
  • Tech update plans: If you are buying a healthtech software, it is crucial for you to know how often they are pushing updates. Ask your vendors the frequency of these updates and how those are communicated. 

These pointers will keep you fixated on your features checklist and away from fake campaign loops during healthtech-gazing on the internet.

A reliable practice management solution not just enables your care facility with its day-to-day operations, data management and doctor-patient relationships but is also an investment for your future practice. An efficient software provider prepares the technology to grow in multi-folds, and purchasing a ‘fix-it’ healthtech solution may cause your practice to lose its patients’ trust and future growth possibilities. Let us discuss further below – 

The existence of commodification in Healthcare

When you look in the rare-view mirror, you will find a similar practice pattern of prescribing medicines, or tests that seem fit according to their experience and patients used to comply with the treatment(without 2nd opinion). While there was a strong doctor-patient relationship in the bygone days, it was not necessarily an equal partnership. Back in the days, patients would want to stick with one healthcare provider and get referred only at the suggestion of their primary doctor. Although the system has its limitations, the doctor-patient relationship was not looked at as a commodity in healthcare. 

Patients today are proactive towards their health more than ever, which is relatively ironic when it comes to their bond with doctors. To top it off, listing websites in healthcare have not only flourished the commodification in the healthcare system but have also created an unnecessary competition among the care professionals. Yes, you read that right and if you are aware of the doctor-patient ratio in India, this wouldn’t be news for you. Here, when these websites are giving a chance for easy doctor-patient “interactions”, they are ultimately also favoring one practice over the other. Somehow, staging a scenario, where either the care provider doesn’t have enough experience, degrees or worse they don’t have enough reviews to prove their credibility. As a result, your patient gets confused and is high over heels for a new doctor for every new consultation! 

“Truth to be told, to be able to choose your care provider is an amazing perspective, but the aftermath of such consultations elevates out-of-pocket expenses for the patients leading to fragmented care which is hardly a bargain.”

– Kartik Vijaywargi, Founder HArbor

Imagine being in a situation with a bulky Clinic Management Software installed. Frustrating right? Often care providers find themselves in a situation where software ends up imparting additional weight rather than unburdening them of the existing ones (PS: Not every grand advertisement gives you the healthtech your care facility needs!) 

Eventually, it lowers the staff response time, deteriorates their relationship with patients and creates a system that looks functional on paper but feels robotic in reality! 

While installing a clinic management suite, remember that the system must assist you  to organise and optimise day-to-day operations, report generation and patient data management. Also, it should be able to integrate the latest modules while keeping you updated with the changing healthcare delivery dynamics. 

HArbor Says:

Finding the right software for your business is a daunting task. With the fast-paced business world, it is more important than ever for healthcare facilities to be able to stay organized and efficient. Although, a practice management solution can assist you grow your business and keep your patients happy; you need to be conscious of every decision you’ll make while walking through the maze of health tech platforms. 

It’s time to sit down with your team and call HARBOR!

Can HealthTech take the temperature-off of the Healthcare Worker Shortages?

When a system flourishes on default and not by design, its foundation experiences chaos. It fails to manage & utilize resources, resolve the existing problems and disrupts revenue cycles which is crucial to keep it fueled. Unfortunately, due to its disorganized growth, it faces difficulty while adapting new-age modules; we call these advanced modules ‘the helping hands’!

India’s healthcare system is no different. Carrying the weight of the entire system, care professionals are not just working their fingers to the bone but burning their potential capacity to zero! Now, the only question remains;

DOES INDIA REALLY LACK AN OPTIMUM HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE? 

According to WHO’s 2020 midterm report, the Indian healthcare system needs at least 1.8 million doctors, nurses and midwives to achieve the minimum threshold of 44.5 professional health workers per 10,000 people. 

Number of health professionals/workers per 10,000 persons, 2018

So yes, our healthcare system needs an additional workforce, but this inference shall not excuse the adverse effects of disrupted healthcare structure on healthcare professionals. And first, it is of great importance to understand the impact of relatively old and disorganized healthcare practices in private and public health spheres that are not ideal anymore!

Outdated Management

In all the loud and necessary debates about resolving the staff shortages in India, the conventional care management has been constantly overlooked. Although the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is striving to improve the healthcare sector with several initiatives, policywise; the workflow foundation of the majority of primary healthcare centres (the heart of the system) is too old to sustain the load. Outdated management exhibits tragically slower workflows, reduced care efficiencies and pressurizes the care professionals to share the responsibility. A load which can be perfectly handled by practice management software.

Simply put, healthtech solutions for practice management can efficiently assist every healthcare stakeholder, especially doctors, nurses and administrative personnel. Such solutions not only eliminate the redundant and manual processes but also build standard protocols for care procedures for anyone and everyone to follow. Thereby reducing re-work or any last-minute extra shifts.

Fragmented Care Delivery and Manual Processes 

While talking about tiring manual care modules, this discussion must take the responsibility to address the strain of fragmented care delivery on healthcare professionals. Our healthcare system is an unbalanced rather ‘broken structure’ at the grassroots level that lacks an integral value chain. It restricts care professionals to coordinate smoothly during patient care while burdening care facilities during referrals, record maintenance and designing treatment protocols.  

HealthTech platforms in such scenarios will not just streamline patient care delivery, but will eliminate the cumbersome and unnecessary processes. As a result, facility staff will always have more than enough time for patient care without worrying about tedious and redundant administrative work. 

Lack of Data Interoperability and Lack of Data Protection

A doctor spends around 35% of their time documenting patient data. What if managing patient data becomes as easy as tapping a few times on your phone while sharing it with a swipe?

You probably do not believe this but the funds, time and workforce required to maintain paper-based healthcare records are noticeably high. In fact, the expensive paper-record maintenance should be enough for medicos to consider switching to healthTech platforms. Yet, the vicious cycle of filling up MRD rooms and dedicating valuable staff working hours every month has become more of a healthcare ‘habit’ than a practice.

Paper based medical records slow down the data exchange process between its stakeholders, which means treatment delays and disruptions in care professionals’ schedules. Moreover, paper medical records are prone to tampering, stealing and are even hard to retrieve.

A modern EMR can come with cloud-based storage that guarantees maximum data security and the convenience of retrieving the medical records at their fingertips. Not only are these records encrypted and password-protected with correct authorization, care practitioners can exchange data and compile it all under a single patient ID within a few minutes. The Governement of India, has even started working on something on similar lines, with the visionary Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, ABDM, where they have envisioned a central EMR storage for citizens of India. 

Automated and faster processes may not be a long term solution for staff shortages in healthcare but it will have a significant impact on care practices and workplace conditions. Hence, it is justified to say that since the healthcare system is ‘stuck in time’, integrating healthtech platforms from ground zero (primary care facilities) should be our first call. And there by, improving physician response times, increasing efficiency and transforming team communications.

The Impact of Skilled and unskilled care professionals in Healthcare

To resolve the shortage of healthcare workers in India, it is also important to analyze the number of skilled and non-skilled professionals in the domain. According to a report published in the journal BMJ Open, India does not meet the minimum threshold of 22.8 skilled workers per 10,000 people as recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization). However, the study revealed an alarmingly large number of low qualified health professionals and low performing workers. These care professionals usually come under the first point of contact in low economic and rural parts of the country. 

When distribution and qualification of health professionals is serious problem, healthTech platforms will not only keep standard care processes in place, but will enhance overall productivity in care facilities. The SOPs designed by these platforms will eventually reduce any illegal practice, medical data breach and errors while delivering care.

HArbor Says

One of the biggest challenges faced by the Healthcare industry is the constant shortage of skilled workers. The increasing demand for qualified medical professionals has led to the creation of thousands of new jobs, but the industry can’t seem to find enough qualified workers to fill them. This has prompted many to ask if technology could solve this problem. Only technology can be used to “create efficiencies, automate tasks, and address staffing gaps through technology.”

Undoubtedly, India needs to invest in Human Resource for Health, HRH for increasing the number of active health workers but also needs to integrate healthTech platforms to improve the skill-mix and overall care practices. 

Facing Systemic Exclusion, can the LGBTQ+ community receive better care Accessibility via HealthTech?

Healthcare is a fundamental necessity of life, but its accessibility and quality differ for different communities in India, especially for the LGBTQIA. For them, it is a privilege to get basic healthcare needs satisfied due to the deep-rooted stigma in the society. This often leads to creating gaps in essentials and basic healthcare needs. Plunged in ‘the swirl of social biases’, it is critical to address the medical needs of this community by leveraging modern healthtech platforms.

From waiting outside a clinic to booking consultations for yearly health checkups at diagnostic centers, the healthcare journey differs for each one of us. We all have our share of concerns while reaching out to a medical professional, but what if a social stigma around a human’s “partner choice” becomes the first barrier while seeking medical help?

It is generally the first thought for nearly 8% of LGBTQ+ people living in India while going for a medical visit.  

For the LGBTQIA community, discrimination and fear of non acceptance leads to care disparities. As a result, they are more prone to chronic diseases and mental health issues that may often be left unattended, degrading their quality of life. 

As a thumb rule for any thriving society, access to quality and continued care should be a basic and fundamental right and healthcare systems and the approach should be equal for all its beneficiaries irrespective of their biological gender or choice of partner.

Since, the patient experience for this special case, varies to a dipping point in India, we need to look at ways of restructuring care delivery right from its foundation. Primary care should and must evolve to be inclusive of all humans from all communities. 

The Current state of Primary care for LGBTQIA community in India

Indian LGBTQ+ comprises 104 million people, and their exclusion is relatively tied to socioeconomic status, identity and community. Moreover, poverty and distance to care centers have exacerbated the lives of LGBTQ+ communities. In a recent study by NCBI, LGBTQ+ youth are more prone to substance use, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), cancers, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, bullying, isolation, rejection, anxiety, depression, and suicide as compared to the general population.

“When medical help comes with societal barriers, they choose to suffer in silence.” 

On the flip side, the situations are different while yielding an inclusive care system with better health outcomes for anyone & everyone via TECHNOLOGY. On this side, Healthtech platforms facilitate medicos to build comfort and trust for the LGBTQIA community, to help patients get the best care possible at their fingertips.

Let us explain!

Telehealth can change the preconceived notions or experiences of the community members by connecting them with healthcare practitioners who can take care of their unique physical needs in a more confined and confidential way. While, going to a clinic might be inconvenient for most of the patients, humans from LGBTQIA community face those extra and not required “societal looks” while in the waiting area. Though this problem should not exist in the 21st century, it can be easily overcome with telemedicine. 

In the future perspective, the wave of online consultations, homecare regimes via Virtual Care modules, DIY Kits and many other care delivery mechanisms this lines will assist LGBTQIA community to connect to Mental health groups, specialists, certified hormone replacement therapy (HRT) experts, and HIV specialists while giving the patients a chance at periodic monitoring and stigma-free treatment. Assisted telemedicine kiosks will successfully help in delivery care in trans member localities and government organizations for LGBTQ+, where these standalone kiosk modules will deliver public awareness and permanent health camps.

Empowered with Rapid Test Kits and battery operated pathological machines, these freestanding care delivery modules can even provide diagnostic capabilities with privacy  to LGBTQIA community members and help in eradicating several communicable and noncommunicable diseases, right from the deepest levels. 

Wouldn’t that be a befitting and cost-effective initiative for the Health authorities and society in General? 

The surge in telemedicine in the LGBTQIA community is necessary to concurrently streamline and tailor the services for these under-served individuals.

Building Inclusive Clinical Trials

Clinical trials help the world population towards a healthier and better quality of life. However, generally speaking, members of the LGBTQIA+ community are often left out of these clinical trials. The lack of such diversity in clinical trials has significantly affected the LGBTQIA population while restricting them to only generic medications. 

Such a diversity lacking study data fails to collect the drug effects on genetic levels of these marginalized sections of the society, especially the transgender communities. And, being uncertain of the risk factors of the medications, a medical practitioner will be indecisive to write  the prescription. 

Had it been for an inclusive clinical trial which was being run on a technology platform which does not discriminate, a patient’s clinical trial participation would have been strategically recorded in EMRs to assist care professionals in the longer schema of things. 

HArbor Says

Social stigma in India has been forcing the healthcare system to be viewed under the lens of heteronormativity, sidelining the  LGBTQIA community’s needs. As a result, this has led to the negligence of their health, driving the situation to a point of concern for the entire community.

Assisted Telemedicine can significantly assist private and public care practitioners to address the community-specific health issues while spreading awareness among LGBTQIA.

Let’s Rethink, Redesign & Rebuild a healthcare system which is inclusive and caters to the medical needs of every community!

Freestanding Care Delivery Modules: Changing Dynamics of the Future Healthcare  

to reduce overall care costs while building easy-to-use care systems. 

Source: Google Images

‘Money’ is typically a mindset while delivering or accessing healthcare services. Today, this has affected care delivery systems beyond its stakeholders control while turning healthcare ‘necessities’ into a luxury that only a few can afford – the urban and higher economic population. With the existing high out-of-the-pocket expense modules, this is a standard situation where patients either drop out in the middle of the treatments or are too scared to get diagnosed in the first place. 

Having said that, even the tech advancements in the care delivery system are not widely adapted as anticipated by the healthcare leaders. Covering just an additional few who are ‘technologically literate’ after the rise of healthtech. And, the problem remains unsolved, leaving state governments & private healthcare organisations on a dead-end where Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of medical care is in chaos!

For instance, Telemedicine has become a prominent mode of emergency care during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, In India, telemedicine ‘cherry picked’ the patients while excluding a vast population suffering from tech illiteracy, if not the disease. A CSE Report mentioned that rural districts in India have accounted for every second COVID death in the last year. This number is actually higher than expected as rural areas cover more than 70% of the country. A reason being – inadequate care access coupled with less healthtech literacy in the rural areas. 

In such scenarios healthtech needs to be backed with expert assistance. This implies that for the rising healthtech accessibility challenges in India, assisted care modules are a must. And, an opportunity to unleash the true potential of care practitioners for everyone and anyone to benefit. Furthermore opening the doors to a better end-to-end assisted virtual care delivery experience while sharing the burden of overall care expenses. 

To understand this issue, healthcare stakeholders must recognize the importance of ‘site of service’, which calls for the establishment of 

Freestanding Care Delivery module in Rural India. 

The site of care service plays a crucial role in medical care prices across the country. Wherein, adjusting the site of care delivery can yield savings, without compromising the care quality. This is where the assisted virtual care modules come in, to allow care professionals to run permanent health camps with nearly half of the investment they annually make. Meanwhile, reaching patients from the comfort of their office. 

With enhanced primary care availability and extended service reach, isn’t it a win-win situation for everyone?

Yes, it is! 

Currently, the Indian Public Rural Healthcare System is managing 160713 PHC centres across the country. This includes annual infrastructure maintenance, workforce & diagnostics management and numerous other expenses. Making it a system requiring maximum investments while its beneficiaries constantly dwelling on other options and spending heavily from out of their pockets. 

This issue can be conveniently addressed by a freestanding care delivery setup with integrated assisted telemedicine and diagnostics. The setup requires minimal management investment, thereby significantly reducing the cost burden. Moreover, these easy-to-setup modules can render regular vital check-ups and rapid tests for several diseases on the site of service. Keeping the OPD & diagnostic costs to a minimum for the stakeholders involved.

From the convenience to provide virtual care, engaging their patients in the comfort of their home and personalising the treatment; the freestanding care delivery module is everything that any care practitioner needs to extend their care services with a one-time investment. Furthermore, making patient monitoring a lot easier than ever before. 

Talking about the need for patient monitoring, rural(Gramin) healthcare systems often get exhausted due to a lack of workforce at levels, geographical diversities and negligence of patients towards their own care. These standalone care management units can efficiently deliver care keeping the specialists, patients, and diagnostic centres in a loop. Building a foundation for palliative care in India

An incredibly crucial issue that palliative care faces is the awareness of the diseases, on which the state government invests a huge percentage of its budget every year. This care delivery module can successfully organise and structure the healthcare system for early detection of chronic diseases, strengthen the process of patient-physician communication and aid the long-term care requirement. Eventually, improving the quality of life of patients. 

To put it simply –

“It will keep people out of the ER and close to care – a cost effective strategy”

Giving a hand to the pillars of Rural Healthcare System

ASHA workers are at the heart of the Indian Rural Healthcare System. These professionals proactively manage immunisation, pre-Natal check-ups (ANC), Post Natal check-ups, supplementary nutrition, sanitation and other assistance provided by the government. Although these caregivers were amazingly guarding rural care since ages, the system developed defects that can only be overcome with technology. 

A freestanding care delivery module will potentially enhance the efficiency of public healthcare professionals while conducting follow-ups, medical surveys and care emergencies. Moreover, now ASHA workers will be able to track and manage the care delivery while keeping other care stakeholders informed. Resulting in diligently building up a more managed system, while fixing the existing gaps and creating positive ripples towards a healthier tomorrow. 

Indeed, freestanding care delivery modules are holding the key to the future of rural care. An easy-to-use, one-time investment to provide health coverage to millions, without disturbing the already existing practices. 

HArbor Says:

It’s ultra-important for the healthcare sector to advance in order to meet the needs of its beneficiaries. And, this article highlights an urgency to adapt healthcare modules with respect to availability, accessibility and affordability of care while realistically quantifying the potential cost savings. From here forwards let’s focus on reducing infrastructure costs, care facility management costs and care accessibility & delivery costs in rural India. 

It’s time to step towards cost-effective and up-to-the-minute healthcare! 

Health Camps – A too good to be true ‘Picture-Perfect’ strategy!

Public healthcare in India is free & AVAILABLE for every resident which encompasses 18% of total outpatient care and 44% of total inpatient care. Unfortunately, this care is not as ACCESSIBLE as its reputation precedes on paper. However, the emergence of healthcare camps has provided a dynamic opportunity to fulfil the underserved healthcare needs and today, this widely adopted strategy has become an integral part of the Indian healthcare system. Irrespective of its promises, one must ask,  

Is it an effective strategy or just a ‘picture perfect’ scam? 

Every year, swasthya shivirs/health camps are organised by private and government healthcare organisations. These are even highly welcomed by the lower economic sections of the societies, in a hope of subsidised or free medical care. Sadly, it is estimated that the conventional health camp modules hit ground zero soon after the first phase of initiation; because of the following limitations: 

  1. Lack of continued care for patients. 
  2. Increased care costs – after attending the camp patients are expected to take follow-ups or further treatment at a hospital which maybe far off. 
  3. Travel fatigue 

With the rapid adoption of Health camps, medical practitioners have successfully addressed the medical needs in remote communities. Still, the drawbacks of this conventional care delivery module have outgrown its benefits. Furthermore, with this ‘one-time care affair’, the patients are forced to choose between out-of-pocket expenses or discontinuing their treatment.

According to an NCBI report, India contributes to 2/3rd of the total deaths in the South-East Asia Region due to non-communicable diseases. Although the government pays handsomely to establish optimum care modules, major benefactors include the middle and upper-class rather than the lower economic population. 

In such a scenario, healthcare camps can efficiently ensure primary care to the rural population; but, expecting the optimum results from a ‘one-time treatment’ module is too good to be true! 

Is it navigating patient engagement and trust? 

A health camp strives to bring awareness and screen underprivileged population to enhance patient access to healthcare services. Sometimes,  organisers even get estimated results after distributing basic medication but, thinking from a patient’s perspective – this doesn’t seem enough!

For example – For a patient diagnosed with chronic conditions, one-time screening without follow-ups imbalances the act of care delivery. Moreover, it leaves a negative outlook toward the practitioner in the minds of the patients after being diagnosed with the condition. This will result in a decline in overall health camp participations and thereby, decrease patient engagement and trust. 

Hence, medical camps must facilitate end-to-end care on an easily accessible platform to enhance patient care and maintain patient stickiness in the long run. And, this comprehensive care demand can only be fulfilled with an assisted virtual care delivery system

A system that is driven by care professionals and backed with technology!

The Solution – Health camps with assisted virtual care support!

Imagine being able to deliver care in remote locations around the year without a need to be physically present at the location. 

Yes, it’s possible!

2019-2021 has given quite a boost to the Virtual Based Care (VBC) modules.  Utilizing a similar approach to treat the patient in health camps will enable doctors to deliver comprehensive care and may ensure long-term patient engagement.  However, while providing care for a technologically-illiterate population, a kiosk-based assisted telemedicine module is an ideal solution.

Advantages of a kiosk-based assisted telemedicine module: 

  1. Consult patients at any time and from anywhere
  2. Easily render homecare services along with a regular vital check-up for comprehensive patient monitoring.
  3. Organise a medical camp and continue the treatment, as per the patient’s medical needs. 
  4. Maximum patient engagement and minimum travelling costs.
  5. Provide rapid diagnostic kits via the assisted telemedicine route.

HArborSays

Medical health checkup camp is an effective way of delivering primary health care; typically in the unreached area to achieve optimum health coverage. However, the conventional health camps come with their own demerits and it’s about time to resolve those issues. Assisted virtual healthcare platform is one of the best possible ways to ensure healthcare access for all. 

We believe – “If it cannot sustain the care requirements, it shall be replaced or at least advanced.” And, it’s time to deliver the best possible outcomes from health camps.

ALERT: Is our current healthcare delivery system just a ‘fix it’ module? 

2021 has been a year of change for medical professionals. Be it Doctors or behind the scene IT professionals working for these medicos, 2021 had everyone on their toes. We saw old age consultation practices being challenged with urgent requirements to change to modern “video” based consultations, we also saw doctors performing complex surgeries remotely using robotics and what not! However, as we move ahead and delve into 2022, let’s look at these changes or transitions happening in the industry. Let’s ask ourselves, WILL THEY LAST in the current form or evolve to serve the greater good?

The current healthcare system in India is entangled into ignored issues and a few of the most significant points are – 

Fragmented care delivery:  

The Indian healthcare system is focused on niche areas while advancing various elements of care delivery in silos of growth. Although these silos of advancements are happening they are not adequately appreciating their relation to the whole ecosystem.

Hence, this unbalanced rather ‘broken structure’ at the grassroots level has built up a more obvious health crisis of unsustainable costs, poor quality and low patient engagement. 

In order to resolve these underlying issues, several healthtech companies have tried to take the medical practices online with hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers around the world. This worked fine, until care providers realized the harsh realities of listing businesses. The majority of these trends, like listing the practices online, an unnecessary competition has now popped up between the care providers where none is needed. Given the fact that we are a country where the care delivery system is already suffering due to a lack of doctors and skilled hospital staff, a race to win more patients proves detrimental to the status quo. 

Did you know? The doctor to population ratio in India is 1:1456 against WHO recommendations of 1:1000 only for Urban areas. This number skews up to more than 10000:1 if you add the rural population in the mix. 

To resolve the above-mentioned problem, yet another patchwork was introduced by the big corporations trying to leverage patient data. They insisted medicos & practitioners have their own listing which fragmented the patient flows. Further not to mention the increased cost of domains and web maintenance which the medicos had the bear, with little to no knowledge on the subject. 

For a healthcare professional, every new technology which pops up on the corner brings the promise of better practice, but when you look closely, you’ll find nothing but the temporary fixes to grassroot problems, creating more hindrances in the longer run than easing the operations for our beloved doctors.

Maintaining healthcare records: 

It’s not a hidden fact that every year a hefty sum of money is invested into maintaining MRD rooms and the introduction of Electronic Medical Records was nothing but a blessing for healthcare stakeholders. However, EMR software came with its own set of drawbacks. For instance, Imagine being a healthcare provider with years of practice in writing paper prescriptions and patient reports and being asked to invest money and time in EMR software. Difficult right? 

Let’s elaborate!

Today, Electronic Medical Record systems have become the core component in a hospital’s IT ecosystem, where patients book appointments, receptionists manage schedules, and physicians access patient charts. In addition to that, the care facility can even compile prescriptions and send them to pharmacies, receive lab results, prepare insurance claims, and so on.

But, in a  country like ours, where the average time for a doctor to see a patient is less than 2 minutes, the process of filling out EMR sheets is excruciatingly time-consuming & cumbersome, especially for the doctors.

Later, in order to tackle this challenge, smartpens were introduced. Although, this new ‘fix’ has solved the problems of the prior EMR system, but added an extra expense to the care practitioners pocket.

Every time while adding new patches to the care delivery system, software companies somehow forget or choose to ignore that the technology is just a means to deliver care & for a close to perfect adoption of technology, it is required to be simple, minimally time-consuming and cost-friendly. 

Half-cooked Video Consultation upgrades: 

In the last 2 years, we have seen advancements in virtual health gaining momentum, which has facilitated patient monitoring through computer and phone technology. This enables care practitioners to verify prescriptions or supervise drug oversight. However, in India where the maximum population resides in rural areas with a low digital literacy rate, just a basic telemedicine tool won’t work. 

The way these video consultations are happening currently, they seem to take away the human connection from the whole medical care delivery. For instance, a patient taking consultation from a general practitioner online for a frozen shoulder has no way of connecting back to the same doctor for continued care. 

Expanding further, the majority of the Indian population basically needs these video consultations with doctors in remote areas because they do not have accessibility to the medical services near their homes nor a digital payment option available for them which blocks their entry into the care ecosystem. 

Such technological advancements prove to be helping only the privileged thus further widening the gap between India & Bharat. 

Let’s look at the possible ways for solving these nerve-wracking problems deep-rooted into the ecosystem for generations with simple yet effective solutions. 

“The future of Indian healthcare will be defined by collaboration and not competition.”

For years, manual processes have been in place to create paper records for the patients which were personalized. So when EMRs were introduced, each practice needed its own customization. These customizations proved to be expensive for the technology providers and thus the EMRs were never adopted to the scale they were intended to!

A simple artificial intelligence, AI which can hear what their doctors are saying and convert the speech into machine-readable language can not only push the adoption of digital records but also replace the age-old medical transcriptionist which is still prevalent in 2021. Such AIs will prove to be an amazing assistant to medicos which will reduce work pressure on them.

While Telemedicine has taken a centre stage in healthcare delivery, it needs to be equipped with a personal assisted care provider while being integrated into diagnostics & pharmacies, thus completing the entire ecosystem. It is safe to say that these integrations will not only help the healthcare stakeholders to a great extent but improve clinical outcomes.

Technology is supposed to be maximizing value. While redefining healthcare delivery, it is a must that we step away from the fragmented healthcare systems that lack coordination, which is only possible with an integrated healthcare platform. 

HArbor Says, It’s time that we discard the fix-it modules from care practices and establish a strong foundation that will serve the real stakeholders of the care!