A lancet report published in 2018 highlighted that around 3.6 million people in low and middle-income countries die from not having access to care. And, the situation today is still the same.
Tag: retail healthcare
Are You Really Upgrading Your Practice or Getting Swayed by FOMO?
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.
Essential but Underskilled: Healthcare Workforce is still Living with Tools from Ancient Times.
Healthcare facilities have finally acknowledged the necessity for upgradation to enhance care-delivery worldwide. However, it still wouldn’t be too irrelevant to ask – how can we upgrade healthcare systems when one of its crucial pillars is still functioning or perceiving healthcare in the same old fashion? Most importantly, is the medical fraternity aware of the challenges that their staff have been experiencing after the introduction of technology?
According to the studies – the Indian healthtech market is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2023 and to $50 billion in another ten years, suggesting that healthcare technologies are gradually moving to the core of healthcare processes while implying that the care delivery patterns are evolving and we are finally heading towards a new age of renaissance in healthcare. But, is our workforce strong enough to sustain the change, let alone flourish in the light of development?
Today, as the state of affairs between nurses/work staff and technology continues to influence the quality of care, patient safety, staff efficiency, and job satisfaction, these two have been viewed as being in a love/hate relationship.
HealthTech and Nurses – A mismatched duo!
According to the Head of Staff for Nursing Department, Mrs. Gayathri Iyer from Government Medical Hospital, Nagpur, nursing and technology have a complex relationship. Technology can improve the efficiency and accuracy of nursing care, but it can also introduce new challenges and stresses for nurses. Electronic medical records, for example, can make it easier for nurses to access patient information, but they can also add to the workload and take time away from direct patient care. Additionally, new healthtech tools are not easy to learn, which can create additional barriers for nurses. Overall, while technology can be a powerful tool for nurses, poorly designed software will bring nothing but chaos to a care delivery system. Further in the conversation, Mrs. Gayathri highlights the relationship dynamics between healthcare professionals and technology while telling us why the healthcare workforce is still underskilled to adapt HEALTHTECH!
Tech Literacy and Adaptability Issues.
The future of the healthcare systems is poised to bring better & more fulfilling work responsibilities for the healthcare workforce only if care facilities adapt to healthtech swiftly. However, with a low tech literacy headcount within the healthcare organisations, the adoption is not as easy as it was anticipated. As a result, the care facilities that fail to fuse their workforce and healthtech systems are not only missing out on great leaps in patient engagement and efficiency, but, in the worst-case scenario, it can also lead to a loss of position as a patient’s provider of choice.
So to bring your workforce to speed, here are a few strategies that can help:
- Provide training and education: Training staff to use a healthtech platform efficiently is one thing and helping them understand why it is important is another. It’s more about the perspective they have regarding technology. Figure out a way to change the perspective of healthcare force towards the way they perceive healthtech, and reap the benefits of automation in healthcare.
- Choose your tech partner wisely: Given that your healthcare workforce wouldn’t be pleased while functioning with multiple healthtech tools for different operations, opting for an integrated healthcare management suite will encourage smooth workflows. Integrated Management Suite comes with an all-in-one solution platform making your inter and intra-departmental processes easier while creating a balanced ecosystem for your patients and staff.
- Regularly evaluate and update the technology: Updating healthtech platforms is necessary for several reasons. First, it ensures that the tool is functioning properly and is free of bugs or glitches. Second, it allows for the incorporation of new features and improvements that can enhance the user experience and make the tool more effective. Third, it is crucial for maintaining compliance with industry regulations and standards.
- Opt for a healthcare system that does not require tech support: Having a tech-admin team is an added benefit, but if your practice management software doesn’t need a tech-support, in a way it implies that the system is easy-to-use and you won’t have to worry about all the hassles that might come while managing a tech-support team.
HArbor Says: The healthcare industry is facing major challenges such as healthcare accessibility issues, chronic disease, and a shortage of skilled professionals. In order to meet these challenges, it is essential for the healthcare workforce to be equipped with the latest knowledge and skills, including digital literacy and the use of technology. This will not only improve patient outcomes but also increase efficiency and reduce costs. It is time for the healthcare industry to embrace the digital age.
If you are looking for a practice management platform that is easy-to-use and would assist you and healthcare staff in everyday operations, feel free to reach out to HArbor!
Why Referral System in India Needs Optimizing?
Can you guess the number of doctor consultation visits a patient would need during the treatment? Now, multiply it to the number of visits for report consultations and most importantly for referrals. Tiresome right?
A healthcare system is strengthened by healthcare professionals/facilities/diagnostic centres, along with an efficient referral system is at its heart. The Indian healthcare system is one such system. However, the referral system in India constitutes several challenges. As a result, it is hung precariously between the care providers and patients today.
These challenges need immediate attention so as attain a smoothly running healthcare system. For a better understanding, let’s move ahead with care referral system scenarios and their impact on the care practitioners, diagnostic technicians and patients.
Scenario 1: Typically, the healthcare system is pyramidal, wherein primary healthcare centres (PHC) constitute the base, which is large in numbers. Less number of secondary centres are in the middle, and a fewer number of tertiary care centres are at the top. This means whenever a primary care physician (PCP) refer patients to a secondary or tertiary care facility, this poses a burden on the existing healthcare setting in the cities. Such practices interfere with the already aligned patient appointments and surgery schedules.
More so, for a healthcare professional this scenario comes with a high patient influx while increasing the patient waiting time disrupting the care facility flow.
Scenario 2: Often due to the lack of resources at the primary healthcare level (PHC), PHC doctors are compelled to refer patients to another healthcare facility. Now, imagine all these patients with minor illnesses flock around the OPDs of secondary or tertiary care facilities! Ideally, these patients can be easily tacked at the lower level health facility.
Moreover, according to a study more than 50% of morbidity can easily be treated at the PHC level.
But unfortunately, due to the lack of advanced equipment and skilled healthcare staff patients suffer. Leading to long treatment duration and multiple hospital trips.
For example: If a rural patient visits his nearest secondary/tertiary healthcare facility in India, the person would’ve to travel at least 50-90KM for better healthcare facilities. Making a consultation to be time-consuming and considerably costly. Eventually leading to poor patient engagement.
Also, these patients consume resources of a higher-level health facility, which can be effectively utilized for emergency cases.
Scenario 3: The government of India provides health benefits to its armed force professionals along with several other government employees. However, to attain these facilities from a private hospital, the beneficiary needs to have a referral letter from the regional ECHS/CGHS polyclinic. Also, the patient needs to travel to regional polyclinics to demand a referral letter.
Furthermore, during treatment, the patient is required to apply for a new referral letter for every procedure. Which is basically every time the beneficiary moves from one stage of the treatment to the other.
This condition may seem easy to process, however, it extends the pace of the treatment. For patients, even if their treatment cost is reimbursed fully, the multiple visits to the polyclinic and then to the assigned hospital, impair the care experience. Meanwhile, the healthcare practitioners are forced to reschedule according to the issued dates of the referral letters.
In such a system, although the patient is treated under a specialist, somehow the convenience of caregiving and care receiving remains conventional and slow.
So, why not introduce referral module into the healthcare platforms to optimize and advance the referral system in India?
But before that, we need to know the characteristics of an ideal referral system.
- Adequate coordination and meaningful communication between doctors, patients and referrers.
- Reduce the multiple visits to the hospital for documents
- Optimal utilization of primary health care services without burdening the secondary and tertiary care units.
- Provide optimal care to the patients at the right level, right time and right cost.
- Cost-efficient utilization of health care systems to provide easy and legit access to referrals.
In healthcare, the integration of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Telemedicine, modules have taken centre stage in healthcare delivery. It is safe to say that these integrations have assisted healthcare stakeholders to a great extent while improving clinical outcomes.
Due to healthTech platforms at the OP level, the user interface is so easy that the data can be entered by desktop computers, iPad, or even a phone with user access. Similarly, the integration of the referral module on the same platform will assist care providers with an innovative approach to check on patients’ diagnostics reports & follow-up consultations via video calls. Moreover, such platforms readily update patients’ medical records.
The introduction of such a platform may prove to be a road ahead for stress-free healthcare practices.
HArbor Says: It’s true that to strengthen primary care, adhering to strict regulations are necessary for existing referral systems in India. However, from the above discussion, it is quite evident that healthcare stakeholders need more than just that for an efficient referral module. Moreso, a referral module integrated healthcare platform is a way forward towards building an ideal referral system in India.
What do you think?
Post Pandemic Boom: Is our industry retail ready?
COVID pandemic has shown, that even the mightiest of the care facilities needed to evolve in order to keep the “business” going and yet the majority of them are struggling to keep it sustainable.
We need to evolve as an industry and keep a broader perspective towards rebuilding healthcare around retail space. We need to marginalize caregiving to an extent where profits are not driven by the number of beds a hospital can keep occupied but by improving the efficiency of processes adopted in the retail space with lesser infrastructure.
With an ever-growing population, we can never build enough beds simply because of the overhead cost attached to it. But if we are able to optimize caregiving in the retail, Out Patient space, the requirement of more & more beds would be simply diminished. Yes, we would still need tertiary care units, but the majority of the population would be reluctant to visit a #medico sitting in a large building surrounded by diseases of various origins.
Instead of building bigger and grandeur hospital buildings, let us build a futuristic system focused on Retail healthcare and enabling full care protocols for patients unwilling to come to hospitals. Let us evolve OPD, to an extent where, we not only be able to give our patients teleconsultation but also the entire care package right from their homes by integrating diagnostic, pharmacies, nurses & even the receptionists on the same eCare platform. Homecare for mild and moderate diseases must be a norm and should be an extended arm of retail caregiving.
For centers and cases where physical visits are unavoidable, we should be able to build contact less interactions and flows for the patients and they should physically meet only the doctor in his chamber. Automated Digital Reception Desks, should be a must-have addition and one of the few tangible infrastructure investments the medical industry should look at.
HarborSays, the Post pandemic boom is coming and our industry must gear up to take the most advantage of it. The future of caregiving is retail.