With more sophisticated technology available today, hospitals can expect to see increased regional coverage, a strong brand image driving referrals, and attractive healthcare margins, writes Dinesh Seemakurty, Cofounder, Stasis Labs, for Elets News Network (ENN).
For decades, India has been struggling with an infamous supply-demand gap in healthcare. Every year hundreds of articles quote how India has too few hospital beds and fewer doctors to cater to the whole population. While the world talks about disruptive innovations, many healthcare institutions in India have been living with obsolete norms.
As technology comes to the forefront across different sectors, Indian hospitals must not lag behind. At a global level, emerging technologies such as predictive analytics, machine learning, and cloud computing are being adopted by hospitals for better healthcare delivery. For hospitals in India, adoption of smart technologies will directly improve hospital footprint, patient satisfaction, and affordability of care.
Technology Expands Hospital’s Footprint
It’s no secret that majority of Indian patients do not reside in the main metros. Despite the overwhelming medical needs in tier-2 and tier-3 areas, many hospitals struggle to bring tertiary level care to these geographies. Technology adoption can play a key role allowing previously struggling hospitals to thrive by increasing a hospital’s regional footprint.
New advancements in patient portals and telemedicine allow distant patients to maintain connection with the hospital brand without having to physically travel to the hospital. On the flip side, advancements in cloud connected monitoring devices and mobile hospital information systems are providing clinicians with the tools they need to treat patients on-the-go. This dual impact of technology allows hospitals to quickly see greater return on investments due to increased patient flow and patient referrals.
Technology ensures satisfied patients
The lack of trust continues to be biggest stressor to the healthcare system in India. Without trust, even patients who have been treated fairly may “cry wolf” when they see the final bill. As doctors become busier than ever, the reduced human connection has led to a reduction in trust.
Patients want the confidence that their clinical team is informed and alerted of any change to their medical condition. Additionally, they also want to know that clinical decisions are being taken due to a true clinical requirement. In other words, they want trust and transparency in the clinical care pathway.
The beauty of technology is that it allows to fulfil both requirements. Connected systems ensure that doctors are informed of their patients status even when they are not at the bed-side. In addition, automation technologies ensure all the clinical data is saved under the patient file, ensuring all clinical decisions are backed up by data. When patients feel that their medical treatment is done scientifically, their satisfaction scores spike and trust in the hospital brand is restored.
Technology creates affordable care
Affordability is a challenge for Indian healthcare. A joint study by FICCI and KPMG showcase that 62 per cent of Indian healthcare spending is out-of-pocket. Expensive infrastructure and inflating operational costs are direct contributors to the rising cost of treatment. In order to create affordability, hospitals must implement technologies that automate manual processes and are cost effective to scale.
Automation leads to happier clinicians and nurses while reducing cost for administrators. When laborious work is reduced, doctors and nurses spend their time interacting with patients and efficiently practicing medicine. Administration will see reduced manpower attrition, a major cost that hospitals can directly save from their bottom line. Although automation is valuable, hospitals have to choose technology partners that are local and can scale to ensure affordability. Fortunately, domestic medical device companies have expanded and domestic healthcare software companies are plentiful these days. By implementing scalable technology, hospitals can ensure their costs are minimal compared to their value.
What lies ahead?
The future for hospitals which are ready to embrace new technology is bright. With more sophisticated technology available today, hospitals can expect to see increased regional coverage, a strong brand image driving referrals, and attractive healthcare margins.
Technology adoption is a slow process, but a consistent adoption of these latest advancements will lead to the best outcomes for hospitals and patients alike. Most importantly, India will be able to bridge the supply-demand gap that has burdened our healthcare industry for years.