In attempts to stay relevant, healthcare professionals have been trying a hundred different things starting with social media awareness reels to listing their practices on aggregators that supposedly are helping patients to find doctors. Truth be told, if care practitioners want to connect with their potential audience via social media magic wagon, it is not a bad idea. But if they have mistaken listing websites as their fairy godmother, sadly the spell will not last long. On the contrary, they might find themselves amidst pointless competition that did not not even exist before the boom of new age aggregators.
However, not all hope is lost, and with the right tech healthcare practitioners still have a chance to upgrade their care practice for the better.
Telemedicine is one of the most compelling fads that has recently surfaced. Undoubtedly, it has played a significant role during COVID, but as a future perspective, its ingenuity is still in question. Let’s take a step back to understand this. According to a study by Nielsen, digital literacy is almost non-existent among more than 90% of India’s population. Although rural India has 352 million internet users, possibly because of low digital literacy, nearly 60% of the rural population is still not actively using the internet. So can a telemedicine tool be enough to reinforce a better primary healthcare ecosystem in the country, especially in rural areas? Evidently, NO!
Now, maybe a mere tech tool may not be efficient to assist medicos in extending their bandwidth, but several successful assisted healthcare models like ICMR-AAROGYASRI, NeHA and VRCs have proven their competence in the past. This implies that an assisted-telemedicine OPD clinic functional in a doctor’s chosen locality has the potential to harbor similar or even better results.
Speaking of the choices, medicos often bow to the fear of staying unnoticed by their potential clients. As a result, they end up registering themselves on several different listing websites without realising the consequences of such a step on their current state of business in the long run. Here are all the more reasons adding up to the disadvantages of listing practices on websites –
- Listing a business can involve additional costs such as paying for a listing or advertising and the cost of maintaining the listing.
- Conflict of interest, as it must show the paid listings higher than the better-rated listings.
- Listing a business creates unnecessary competition among doctors, especially when the world doesn’t have enough doctors to treat everyone. As a result, one may find their patients swayed by premium account holders with dashing profiles.
- Listing a business can subject doctors to additional legal and regulatory requirements, such as providing certain information to patients or adhering to strict advertising guidelines.
- Listing a business can put doctors’ personal information at risk from hacking or phishing.
Like other businesses, healthcare is also in the age of personalization. Delivering on the promises of personalization of care, healthcare practices are persistent in their effort to create a holistic ecosystem for patients to tailor care to their unique needs and preferences and in this technology plays a significant role. However, patient-centric care, which is being delivered on the wheels of data analytics is somehow getting in the way of medical data privacy. You see, if healthcare data is exposed to a third party for analytics, it falls under the breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. Moreover, healthcare practices are falling prey to the lure of ‘free’ practice management software which accumulates data through the system’s back door and later auctions it to highest bidders.
Do you know – On the dark web, a complete medical record easily sells for $60. Moreover, in terms of data theft – In 2019, hackers reportedly stole data of 68 lakh patients from an Indian healthcare website allegedly for cancer research.
Even if the data is acquired by the existing loopholes in the systems and if care customization for patients is happening via ‘snooping’ on their private healthcare data, it would still be a theft. Thereby establishing that often the data analytics run to enhance the personalization of patient care in a clinic has more to do with the benefits earned by software sellers than to patients and doctors. The real solution here is to run “case-classified” analytics with anonymized inputs not only to ensure privacy and safety for patients but also to enhance clinical decision making for medicos by building disease patterns. A simple but in depth study that will be based on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment and not the patient’s demographics and personal information.
On the other hand, the tougher challenge for technology is to build an ecosystem to deliver personalised care with better data security, healthcare practitioners can adapt integrated OPD management solutions.
Integrating an OPD management solution with homecare, EMR, and telemedicine can help reduce data theft by providing a secure and centralised platform for storing and managing patient data. By centralising patient data in a single location, it becomes easier to monitor and protect against unauthorised access or breaches. Additionally, integrating EMR and telemedicine can enable healthcare providers to securely access and share patient data remotely, reducing the risk of data breaches that can occur with paper records or unsecured networks. Moreover, OPD management solutions can also include advanced security features such as encryption and role-based access control, which can help protect patient data from unauthorised access.
In addition, it is required to ensure that the OPD management solution being used is compliant with regulations such as HIPAA, which sets standards for protecting patient data.
Being a healthcare practitioner, FOMO can hit you in a million different ways, but it’s crucial to evaluate your healthcare needs before all.
When value is the key to relevancy, you would want to enhance your care quality with the healthtech solutions that are easy-to-use, break the barriers of low tech-literacy and elevate your patient experience.
Interested to know how? HArbor can help. Let’s talk.