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What Is Technology in Healthcare Really Doing for the Masses?

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Viloo Williams, CIO & Head Digital Transformation, CK Birla Hospitals,,

Today let’s look at the Healthcare Services from a Consumer perspective. Businesses believe Customer is King and is always right! Let’s relate this to Healthcare Services, does it hold true? Sound health is central to human happiness and well-being. Demand for more and better healthcare services keeps increasing from consumers all over the world. Does the Consumer really get great healthcare services at an affordable price? Sadly, no! Nevertheless, there is increasing awareness among masses regarding health measures, more among the ones using smart phones with android and IOS apps which enable them to learn effective and efficient methods to prevent diseases.
Unlike the golden era, today’s Patient or the Medical Services Consumer, is well informed in most cases about health services. He is confident on what to expect from a Doctor and the Hospital and knows his rights clearly. In most cases he is well-versed with technology; carries cellular devices and expects all his medical information at his fingertips. Healthcare reach for the middle class has increased manifold due to the opening up of Health Insurance as a Cashless Service.
What is technology in Healthcare really doing for the masses?
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made significant contributions in Healthcare Services to enhance cost-effectiveness & transparency of service delivery. Healthcare Technology is growing daily in leaps & bounds and is the Consumer, really the focal point of all this growth? Yes, but at a high cost.

Information Technology as an enabler in healthcare has been a disruptive force and has become an integral part of a hospital's strategy. We CIOs, are constantly on our toes to engage with newer technology and strategise how to make it worthwhile for the Patient, Doctors and the Hospital. ICT will definitely reduce the cost of health delivery and get things done faster. Healthcare IT has gathered steam in the last few years, with loads of hospitals struggling to go beyond simple billing solution. A clear roadmap for automation makes the whole process faster and result-oriented.
Fully integrated ERP - HIMS, LIS, RIS, PACS, EMR, e-ICU & Patient Portal with Payment Gateway
• HIMS is the core of a Hospital and must be implemented as an integrated workflow-based IT solution of Frontend and Backend modules. It enables end-to-end automation of a Hospital, digitizing Patient Records, Administrative records and ensures complete accuracy and transparency to the consumer.
• It facilitates transparency in billing system. Patients know exactly what they need to pay for various services, refunds that are due, charges of medicines and Doctor Fees across the strata of Patient Categories.
• EMR implementation drives towards a paperless environment in a structured workflow to collate Appointments, Consultations, Diagnostics, Medication Prescriptions, Diet Orders and Clinical Assessments all in one place and is available at the click of a button.

• Online Medical Records reduce the dependency on patients carrying their health records physically.
• With LIS, RIS & PACS (automated Investigative, Diagnostics reporting and digital storage of Radiology, Cardiology, OTs, and many more), Medical Records of Patients can be speedily accessed and shared where consented, say to Corporates, Insurance and other payers for speedy settlement of Bills. Patients benefit by not having to carry all information around on CDs and Paper.
• eICUs enable round-theclock engagement with Clinicians to monitor Patients and improve outcomes of critical care, by integrating patient data on wireless access. Real-time alerts are sent to Clinicians for faster TATs on Patient’s treatment.
• Patient and Doctor Portals, and Mobility Apps to include Investigative and Diagnostic reports, automation of the appointment process, Visibility of Bills and online payments, are further areas that save a lot of time and Cost for the Consumer in physical travel for every interaction with the Hospital.
• For the Promoters, visibility of Costs, Inventory, Revenue and Occupancy trends enable speedy decisions on investments for growth and control.

BI and Predictive Analytics
Business Intelligence allows tracking trends using available structured & unstructured data that helps Hospitals and Clinicians, peep into the Patient’s mind and derive insights. It enables predictions based on trends supported by volumes of data. BI also gives insights to the Promoters and Management that are not easily visible, on how to control costs and improve services.

Mobility – A Game Changer in Today’s Healthcare Scenario
Mobile networks are becoming more efficient and cost effective for Hospitals to improve their Wireless connectivity with far-flung rural areas in Tier-III cities and Villages. Telcos are now realizing the potential and possible revenue streams in healthcare and have started to focus on it. Also, the healthcare equipment providers are now making inroads with real-time communication devices rather than the passive devices of the past. The most beneficial outcome is the remote connectivity of Hospital to Patient saving time, effort and money.

IoT & Tele-health Adoption in Healthcare
The Indian telecom industry is investing heavily in IoT. However, IoT adoption in healthcare is sparse and fragmented. Large Companies need to come together to create an integrated and interoperable ecosystem consisting of device manufacturers and solution integrators. Home Care for Geriatric consumers is badly needed which IoT combined with Tele-medicine, can enable easily. It’s time Consultants and Hospitals think of Tele-health as another way to deliver care. To accomplish this, hospital’s Tele-health strategies must be reimagined on three fronts: technology, patient and clinician. The successful implementation of a Telehealth program requires all healthcare players — payers, hospitals, physicians and patients, to embrace a culture of change, which isn't always easy.

Robotics and AI
Robotics is the engineering science and technology of robots and their design, manufacturing, applications and also their structural disposition. It is not as simple as speaking to ‘Alexa’. In elderly care, robots can be employed to collect patient data and monitor signals for preventing emergency situations like cardiac arrest, elevated levels of blood glucose and then simultaneously synthesize the information, assess it clinically and transmit required information to the physician using AI. AI works across the gamut of Data generated by above technologies and helps in Healthcare Systems Analysis to enable Precision Medicine and improve Health Monitoring.

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