Every nation wants to improve its life expectancy rates. It is an indicator of a country’s development. In order to achieve greater life expectancy, the quality of healthcare services needs to be improved. In all this, technology has come to play a pivotal role and has elevated healthcare standards and improved patient experience. Healthcare is witnessing a digital revolution. This is prompted by transformational changes brought about by modern digital technologies. Everyday lives are saved and quality-of-life enhanced for patients through innovative use of technology. No wonder, the rate of technological innovation is one of the highest in this sector. As a result, several complex and tedious health procedures have become efficient and easy, both for the patients as well as the doctors.
EMR for enhanced medical care and supervision
Of the Indian healthcare providers, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, has been at the forefront of leveraging technology for optimum patient care and satisfaction. The healthcare facility is a leading multispeciality center in Andheri West, Mumbai. The hospital was one of the first to implement the Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Such digitalization steps can bring in transformative changes in the healthcare system as well as patient experience. Doctors can subscribe to the medium. Physicians can access a summary of treatment. Around the time they visit a patient, the advice is ready. From internal efficiency to patient service delivery, this is resulting in data collection for analytics as well as identifying possible research candidates for drug trials. Diagnostics too is getting a fillip. Patient reports too can be provided in the form of CDs or Memory cards.
“We have been using EMR for years. Not only have the physicians used data for intelligent research but process improvement to improve patient safety. Picture archiving and communication system (PACS) was the first usual suspect to be deployed to compliment EMR. PACS made sure radiology went digital from the start wherein all the images acquired through various modalities are stored in digital format,” says Rajesh Batra, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.
The Kokilaben Hospital has also deployed Business Intelligence (BI) to use the data intelligently to improve hospital practices and processes including reducing patient wait times as well as patient experience. Feedback taken from patients is run through analytics to improve patient service and delivery of medical care. In all these digitalization drives, the healthcare center is harnessing the power of cloud to connect all the hospitals as well as the Onco centers to a single point.
Moreover, deployment of new technology like Advance Visualization (3D and 4D modelling) is reducing operating time and improving patient safety along with better diagnosis. There is deployment of antibiotic stewardship by the hospital as well to facilitate reporting of antibiotics, as mandated by government. The hospital is also now looking at online patient portal for appointments and making patient data available. This is not all. The hospital is also implementing the ibeacons to guide patients and relatives move around the hospital.
“We are attempting to have ibeacons to improve patient experience inside the hospital along with trying kiosks for self-service including payments,” says Batra.
Ensuring data security for patients
Confidentiality has to be an inalienable component otherwise the trust between a patient and a doctor can break down, leading to miscommunication or worse no communication at all. The digitalization of patient information comes with its own set of challenges as there are more hack attempts to carry out data breaches.
“This has led to increased investment in data security to protect patient data confidentiality,” says Batra, who wants government policy like HIPPA to come into play in order to ensure the safety and security of patient information.