Healthcare is a critical sector for a country’s economy and bellwether of its citizens’ quality-of-life. And yet, Healthcare has been one of the slowest adopters of Technology. This represents a precious opportunity lost in – reduced Opex, optimized Capex, efficient operations and superior health outcomes to patients. However, in recent years, Hospitals across the world are increasingly implementing Hospital Management software and other technology solutions to overcome pressing issues faced by this sector.
Some of the issues that Technology addresses very effectively are:
There are various players in the healthcare ecosystem such as attending doctors, specialist doctors, pharmacists, Insurance companies and employers, all of whom are generating a lot of patient data. Compiling, classifying and managing all these data can be a challenge unless there is a clear strategy. HMS softwares do a great job of classifying, segregating, storing and retrieving data so that the right information is invoked as and when required.
In addition to drugs and medical consumables, hospital environments require hundreds of other items to be purchased on a regular basis. To make up for logistical limitations, large Hospitals end up purchasing more goods than they need, which inflates their Opex and causes revenue leakage from expired medicines and spoilt goods. Inventory and SCM modules in HMS softwares address this very effectively by collating data and making inferences constantly. When such softwares have a mobile app interface, Purchase Managers can be intimated on a need basis for urgent purchases or delayed shipments.
Every country, state or corporate employer subscribes to one or more Healthcare program to benefit the patient. Making claims and settling bills can be a tedious process as a lot of data has to be captured and presented in a specific format. Such formats can now be hardcoded into HMS softwares in the form of templates. Once the user chooses the desired template, data automatically flows into the template. Further, all such documents can be electronically dispatched to concerned agencies avoiding delays due to human intervention.
Patients in advanced stages of disease and discomfort, or those who are undergoing long-term treatment were previously disadvantaged by having to meet physicians often, even for minor or routine discussions. Now most Hospitals offer such patients the comfort of remote access, also called telemedicine and mobile Healthcare. Using a mobile app, such patients can have telephonic or video calls with doctors who log into the patent’s EHR (electronic health records) and offer relevant advice. Any details required are emailed or sent in other formats. All these heighten the patient’s experience and help achieve true patient-care.
Hospitals are replete with medical equipment and infrastructure-related equipment, both of which are required for good patient-care. Breakdowns or poor health of such equipment can aggravate problems at the Hospital and put patients’ lives at risk. A good asset management software, or module within the HMS, can constantly track the health of equipment and trigger preventive maintenance in advance.
While inventory and assets are now being tracked as described above, a newer trend is to track people such as patients, nursing staff, doctors, surgeons, hospital staff, etc, within the hospital or in the vicinity, for quick access. This is achieved using various technologies such as RFID, Bluetooth and GPS. This reduces delays and dependencies for medical procedures and improves efficiency at the hospital.
Hospital Management Systems and software have evolved over the last 3 decades. While first generation HMSes were restricted to HR, Finance and Purchase, modern-day HMS are sophisticated and very granular when it comes to data capture. Further, most of them are cloud-based and mobile-enabled which keeps the costs low and heightens the user experience.