Healthcare & Mobile
Dr. Sivakumaran has over 25 years of experience in healthcare industry and around 10 years in textile industry. He is an expert in logistics management and was the Chief of materials in two leading corporate hospitals. He has published more than 25 articles in many healthcare magazines on various healthcare topics.
Many people think that a mobile phone is meant only for communication and playing games. But in reality, it is capable of performing innumerable tasks and applications. This generation is lucky enough to have the combination of smartphones and apps which are doing wonders to make many complex tasks easy, comfortable, and faster. In particular, contribution of mobiles to the healthcare is remarkable. Mobile global market on healthcare application is estimated to be more than USD 84,817 million by 2020. The traffic of mobile is expected to grow seven fold between 2016 and 2021. Population of India has started spending more & more time on mobiles. Hence, any technological application will reach them fast, especially on health and wellness.
It is a Navigator: Mobiles are helpful right from fixing an appointment of a doctor. The moment anybody enters a hospital, it can navigate to the reception, billing, doctor’s OPD, diagnostics area and many other purposes without any hurdles. In a big hospital setup, locating an unknown area is really difficult without proper guidance. Mobiles are like carrying a guide with you to direct various wish points in a hospital where one never visited, without asking anybody. For the hospital reception, half of the enquiries are for seeking directional help to locate a service. By the use of mobile by visitors, the receptionist can spend more time on patients who really need help.
It is a Monitor: Not all the patients in hospital can walk independently to move from one place to another for getting services. Sick and old patients are transported through wheel chair by transporters pooled at one place. Once a service is completed, the transporter needs to come back to the pool to take the next order. It may so happen that he would have completed an assignment in top floor and after coming to the pool, he needs to go to the same or one floor down. This is an unnecessary movement, waste of labour, time and money. Mobile device combined with IoT has made a revolutionary solution to this. Each porter is provided with a mobile device with ID registered. Once an assignment is over, the porter will get
the next assignment in the mobile pushed from the pending list, automatically from the system. The porter has to move towards the next assignment without coming to the pool. As the transporter’s movement is monitored, he runs more times, resulting in reduction of manpower and faster service to the patients. Hats-off to the mobile device.
It is an Assert Locator: In any hospital, there are different assets like patient furniture, medical equipment, engineering equipment, office furniture, sterilization equipment, vehicles, ambulances, library books, and so on. These items need to be physically checked and verified every year as per statutory requirements to know whether they are intact. Checking these items physically is a cumbersome process and laborious. The accuracy could not be ascertained. Asset tracking system with the help of mobile and IoT device make the life easy, fast, and error free. The same device can also help the hospitals to evaluate the equipment utilisation status when it is linked to the billing system. Otherwise, analysing the utilisation of such a huge list of equipment is next to impossible.
For a country like us where there is no sufficient healthcare workforce as per who norms, innovative usage of mobile is going to be very useful
It is a Vital Recorder: When a patient gets admitted in an emergency, at least for the first few hours patient’s vitals need to be monitored frequently and recorded to diagnose accurately. But due to the shortage of staff and heavier workload, in many hospitals, frequency could not be maintained at the desired level. Here again, the mobile device and IoT comes as a boon for hospitals to monitor the vitals continuously and get recorded automatically. It will take the readings directly from the medical equipment connected to the patient. Consultants, with the support of this, can easily diagnose the patient and start treatment promptly. This documentation will be very handy for patient documentation, especially when it is required for any medico-legal complications. When the treating doctor is not reachable to the hospital in time, the diagnostic images could be transferred to the doctor through mobile to get treating directions.
It is a Record Keeper: Electronic Health Record is another gift from the mobile device. Patients can view their records in their mobile and show it to the treating doctor whenever needed. This totally avoids carrying heavy documents and films of various sizes from place to place. Even if the patient is out of his town, he can get treated by a new doctor at the new location, with the help of EHR. This can be stored for many years, created at different hospitals at different locations. This will enable continuity of treatment.
It is a Communicator: In any hospital, ambulances are kept ready to drive with technologists and medicines at any time. Conventionally, till the patient reaches the hospital and doctor observes the readings, treatment could not be started. But now, from the time a patient is picked-up in an ambulance, the vitals and other parameters are transmitted through networked mobile device to the control station of the hospital, where experts are available round the clock. They can observe the vitals and give directions to the technologist in the ambulance while in transit to take care of the patient till he reaches the hospital. If needed, arrangements for procedures could be kept ready before the patient reaches the hospital, to save the precious time.
There are many such applications of mobile device available in practice, which is transforming healthcare in India and helping all stakeholders. For a country like us where there is no sufficient healthcare workforce as per WHO norms, innovative usage of mobile is going to be very useful. It is essential to introduce newer ways and means to make quality and affordable healthcare accessible to each & every one of this country. Training and education of such applications to the mass will widen the usability.