Transforming Medical Infrastructure
IT in healthcare started off with the aim of simplifying medical records by having a unique patient ID and making billing transactions faster. Access to patient records was made faster, which in turn enabled better clinical decisions (and therefore outcomes) by referring to past records in a timely fashion. Also, patient experience in non-value added services such as billing for services was made faster. Thereafter, next phase was for real-time availability of diagnostic reports to medical professionals, where a lot of clinical decisions are taken (Lab Information System, Radiology Information System, PACS etc). In the past few years, emphasis has been on using technology to minimise errors by using applications, which give an alert to physicians and nurses in a timely fashion. So it could avert adverse events and improve business efficiencies. Important decisions to be taken by any institution prior to investing into new technology are to ensure that the ROI clearly takes into account the patient outcome and experience, apart from improving efficiencies. Simultaneously, physician and nursing cadres should be able to perceive ease in delivery of care with the use of technology.
Shift in Perception
Healthcare has become a fast adopter of technology. Applications that enable faster decision making and improve patient care and experience are swiftly adopted and put to use. Healthcare applications on mobile phones are being used to give medication reminders for improved compliance, panic button to call an ambulance when there is an emergency and much more. From non-clinician segment, technology is used to manage supply chain, payroll management, and financial management, within the hospitals.
In healthcare, innovation is driven by keen awareness of patient needs and desire to improve clinical outcomes and to improve cost of delivery of care. This enables development of appropriate technology tools or innovations that furthers the cause of patients and healthcare at large. Health Information System (HIS) is extremely vital in different ways. Saket City Hospital have developed own HIS with a third party and has been instituted right across the system. All our billing, radiology patient flows are managed through HIS.
Information technology is now the backbone of healthcare. It is the common thread that weaves across all functions of a hospital right from clinical to non-clinical functions. The improvement in efficiencies, patient outcomes and experience are indicative enough that hospitals will ride the technology wave going forward and patients will choose safer technology driven hospitals as they would be linked with better clinical outcomes that can be assessed objectively.