Technology is bringing change to our lives in a big way and some of its greatest impacts has been in the field of medicine. Medicine and hospitals in particular are going through an interesting and exciting phase of transformation in patient care. And these changes are occurring at all levels.
With the availability of millions of websites, dispensing information on various conditions and symptoms, patients today are very well-informed on the options available to them and expect a certain amount of sophistication and automation from health care providers.
So, are the healthcare institutions and hospitals stepping up their game and responding to the needs? Well, some of them have responded to the rallying call. But most of those that have responded are the big institutions where the vision for IT and process automation started many years back, in some cases nearly 12 -15 years ago. Take the case of Tata Main Hospital, where standalone computers were introduced as early as 1985. Beginning 1996, a unified vision was set in place to integrate the areas of Pathology, Radiology, Medical Research, Medical Stores & Pharmacy, In-patient Admissions & Billing. This online sharing of information has been extended to the ICU too, where diagnostic results are available online ensuring real-time access to critical information: the difference between effective and not-so-effective treatment. And with the advent of healthcare insurance and third-party cashless transaction providers, accessible information becomes a win-win situation for all involved.
Now, why should implementing HMS be a prerogative for large hospitals alone? Is it that difficult for small and medium sized health care providers to follow this path? Is it about the investment required? Or, the knowledge curve that healthcare employees have to go through?
These are questions for which there is a simple answer – Small and Medium sized healthcare providers stand to gain the most from implementing hospital management solutions, even after taking into account the investment outlay and the knowledge acquisition gap. But before a hospital embarks on this path, there are some critical issues that need to be thought of:
- Setting out a clear patient care mandate
- Re-visiting business processes – the way a patient is handled from admission to discharge to post-discharge care
- The short term and long term automation plan – some hospitals might want to start with the billing / discharge/ transfers and pathology departments as a priority
- Identifying personnel who understand the workings of the hospitals so as to help in fine-tuning the processes and those earmarked for training
When small and medium hospitals do employ a hospital management solution, these are some of the major gains that can be enjoyed by the caregiver:
- Online inquiry as well web-based new admission information availability – improved service
- Single-point reference and indexing system for all pathological lab reports – minimizing sample mix-ups
- On-demand report printing system reduces patient wait time
- Improved doctor productivity due to centralized information availability
- Eliminating wastage of stationery
- Accurate billing - lesser chances of loss of revenue due to billing errors
- Hospital Information Management Systems - An Inside View (Posted on 3 Dec)
Hospital Information Management Systems and the Wisdom of the crowds (Posted on 13 Nov) Sample Management - An IT based approach (Posted on 4 Nov) Profiting from cashless hospitalization (Posted on 8 Oct )