by December 2, 2010 0 comments

The Trend

A recent research done by Springboard brings out that the market for IT in healthcare in India will grow at a CAGR of 21.8% from 2008 to reach US$609.5 million by 2013. If we take the overall perspective of usage of IT by hospitals in India, we find that IT is still at a very nascent stage in this industry vertical. Yes, there are some premier hospitals in urban areas which adopting IT solutions while hospitals in rural segment who are struggling with procuring the basic medical amenities are not really thinking a lot on investing in IT infrastructure.

Let’s look at some of the areas in healthcare where IT is set to gain traction in the coming years.

Digitizing Medical Records
The concept of digital hospitals has been on the rise and many players are digitizing their records. Digitizing of medical records will include document imaging, managing of records, and scanning of medical record with storage. Since the time we remember, patient information has been on paper with issues like inefficiency of accessing information, storage, administrative costs, retrieval and overall inefficiency costs and lost or misfiled information cropping up. But with digitizing medical records, there will be less medical errors, improved clinical documentation and quick and easy access to medical records. One of the most important benefits is that patient wouldn’t have to carry all their medical records with them all the time.

E-prescription and Electronic
Medical Records Software
The concept of e-prescription is gaining some traction because it brings down the need to keep physical records of patients. All the details connected to a patient ranging from initial assessment to various consultations are fed in the system and can be retrieved from the database at the click of a button. Searching the previous records of the patients becomes quite a hassle-free exercise for the doctors with the concept of e-prescription coming in. The clean print outs of e-prescriptions are also a boon to the pharmacists and patients alike. There is an important factor that needs to be taken care of, that is data security of the patient’s record to avoid any sort of unauthorized access to patient’s records.
Electronic Medical Records Software is an interesting which can provide modules that cover e-prescription, automated billing, automated appointment reminders through phone, text message or email, automated color-coded warnings, when prescriptions are not compatible with the drugs the patients are currently taking, etc.

Telemedicine/ Telehealth Services

According to the Govt of India, Telemedicine is one of the areas which can significantly add on the development of the country. Telemedicine will reduce the cost of medical care, will also save time of both providers and patients in travelling from one place to another. This will also help hospitals to expand their reach to rural India separated by large distances which needs regular access to quality medical care. It can be a very important tool for the evaluation and monitoring of healthcare services. Hospitals like Apollo, AIIMS, Narayana Hridayalaya, Aravind Hospitals and Sankara Nethralaya have already adopted telemedicine services.

Major Pain-points of Healthcare space
Research done by Springboard on IT in healthcare industry, says that consolidation of IT system is the top most pain point in the healthcare space. Process automation and business alignment, integration (within and outside of the organization), is a pain point which the IT departments are struggling to tackle and is well reflected among 28% of the respondents who confirmed consolidation as the primary pain point, outweighing concerns over data management and storage as well as growing data volumes.
Investment to be done on IT infrastructure and lack of IT expertise are two other bottlenecks that a healthcare firm faces. Hospitals may explore the possibility of having healthcare solutions in the SaaS model due to reasons like lesser hardware infrastructure costs and also simplified resource and server provisioning. Yes, it would bring operating costs but it would definitely call for better IT expertise within the hospitals too.
Let us look at some interesting IT solutions that healthcare vertical could look at.

Hospital Management System
A Hospital Management System (HMS) covers a wide range of hospital administration and management processes comprising of many modules that provide relevant information across the hospital to lead to effective decision making when it comes to patient care, hospital administration and even critical financial accounting.
One such Hospital Management solution is Medinous HMS , that has many modules that cover the range of activities that need to be managed within a hospital. Some of them are described below.
Registration module : It is an integrated patient management system, that captures relevant patient information and the system automates the patient administration functions. Such functions range from patient registration details, inpatient and outpatient registration, appointment scheduling (Patient / Doctor wise), patient visit history, etc.
Patient Billing Module: This module handles all types of billing and facilitates cashier and billing operations for different categories of patients like outpatient, inpatient and referral. It provides automatic posting of charges related to different services like bed charges, lab tests conducted, medicines issued, consultant’s fee, food, beverage and telephone charges, etc.
Financial Accounting Module: This module deals with Cash/Bank, Receipt/Payments, Journal Voucher and General Ledger, etc. The services that are covered by the sponsor companies, insurance agencies, family accounts, individual accounts, sponsorship details of the patient, Health Card Insurance are recorded in the system.
Payroll and Personnel Module: This module deals with pay (and deduction) calculation, printing of salary slip, salary certificates, and PF statements, Gratuity Statement and provides a monthly analysis. It deals with the maintenance of employee bio-data, attendance/overtime details.
Apart from these, there are many more modules available under this like Outpatient Management module, inpatient management module, pharmacy module, laboratory module, etc. It is available in 3 versions. Medinous Advantage 9.0 for small clinics and Medical Centres, Medinous Fusion for Mid-size hospitals and Medinous Spectrum, the robust enterprise version.

Electronic Medical Record Software

OpenEMR is a free open source electronic medical record software that includes practice management, electronic medical records, prescription writing, and medical billing application. The software operates in Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and MS Windows. The software has been fully translated in Spanish, Dutch, Greek, and both European and Brazilian Portuguese. Large portions have been translated into Swedish, Norwegian and Chinese.

Major features of OpenEMR are electronic billing, document management, e-prescribing, buit in scheduler, prescriptions by printed script, fax or email. This system also facilitates management of medical claim and accounts receivable which can be managed through SQL-Ledger, which has been customized. The calendar features includes categories for appointment types, colors associated with appointment types, repeating appointments, and the ability to restrict appointments based on type. Also it provides customizable medical encounter forms, support for voice recognition software, and electronic or scanned digital document management for records.

E-prescription software
Doctors desktop is an e-prescription software and an easy EMR solution developed for the doctors. Some of the features that it has includes simple patient registration, time savings on repeated prescriptions for common causes, and enabling fast and easy prescription by providing doctors with full fledged search of drugs databases. It also allows for flexibility for detailed EMR and simple EMR. It provides the medical practitioner with forms templates like referral forms, admit requsition, medical certificate etc at the click of a button. Also it allows for storage of patients files that might be in various formats -x-ray images ,CT- Scan reports, etc.

Medical Data Exchange Solutions
Such a solution is an integrated end-to-end, standards-based solution that enables patient-centric access to medical records and gives healthcare professionals from multiple institutions access to patient data from previously disconnected information systems.Though such solutions would take some time to penetrate the Indian healtcare market, there are some great benifits that it comes with, for the patients. It would accelerate accessing of patient records, would speed up the patient diagnosis and reduces the burden of accessing paper-based patient records by hospitals. Some vendors in this space are Verizon and Cisco.

Verizon Medical Data Exchange
This offerring includes facilitating transcriptionist-to-physician and physician-to-physician sharing of dictated notes. In also enables a wider range of health care providers – from large health systems to rural hospitals to small physician practices – to securely and privately share additional digital records such as X-rays and lab results. This solution operates from a cloud-based platform that medical transcription organizations, electronic medical records vendors, and other healthcare companies use to seamlessly share digitized patient data with doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.

How Tech Changed Healthcare:

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