Healthcare in changing times
Healthcare scene worldwide undergoes changes at a pace never seen before. Change is a word often tossed about in corporate management corridors. But large corporations, in context healthcare organizations, find change a daunting challenge. Larger the organization, tougher the challenge. Flexibility, personal freedom to change things, strategy planning, teams disappearing at the mere mention of a need to change – are some of the flipside fallouts in those organizations not ready to change.
Fear of change, technophobia to be precise, has been gripped by professions in medicine now more than ever before. Obamacare and related legislation in the US helped bring about change in the medial professional practice more effectively by force than by persuasion. Touted as a country where once people could not ‘’afford to fall ill’’ becomes suddenly patient friendly and doctors proudly proclaim ‘’our hospital does not turn patients away because they cannot pay’’.
In bringing about change in such a colossal scale sweeping the country where corporate managements compete for leadership in revenue and reputation, healthcare information technology is the raison d'etre for triggering and guiding change although legislative moves can hasten the pace. A model of statutory regulation India can adopt as forced stimulus.
Incredible as the country always is, what happens way across oceans and time zones begins to see echoes in this country. As competition is keen in this country too in the healthcare space, innovative individuals to large well known group of institutions scurry for prominence in getting attention and lavishing patronage on the factor once least concerned – the patient. The cared. Those hospitals or their parent organizations begin focusing on designing patient-centric features, turning to new directions which can take their care-providing locales into places where patients feel invited. With everything else in management sewn close-knit with Information Technology, patient care too becomes an easy fit in the care triangle, the doctor, hospital and the patient.
Change or Bust
With IT to the rescue for almost every aspect in healthcare management, the winning feature for survival emerges in a concept and mode least expected in a dog eat dog world – interoperability! The social services sector to which patient care industry belongs more in the Indian context, healthcare is the one in which interoperable systems are most visible and have received the most publicity and public attention. This is because health information systems, specially, electronic health records (EHR), impact the public at large, in a country as India where healthcare targets range from the affluent to those classified below-the-poverty-line (BPL). As electronic health records (EHR) become a paradigm of significance and lies as the core of the most important driver of interoperability, all healthcare institutions corporate or not-for-profit, will have to fall in line if patient-centric care is to be ultimately achieved and delivered using the best of professional channels.
What is Interoperability?
Interoperability simply means the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities. Fundamentally interoperability is the ability of two or more systems or their components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.
To sum up without proceeding to complex scenarios of an unfolding topic, a debate on the benefits of interoperability in the context of the widespread adoption of EHR within hospitals and across hospitals will be timely!The easy seamless patient friendly transition of information across media overriding info-tech variances might be a simple layman’s understanding of interoperability.
Amrita Institute for Medical Sciences, a tertiary level patient care hospital in Kochi, Kerala, India is a major institution where Amritatech has deployed a full scale end to end HL7 based architecture which fully supports interoperability. The continually upgraded Amrita Hospital Management System has end to end ERP functionality across the complex hospital domain. This pioneer implementation has triggered major medical institutions across India to adopt the field proven Amrita Health Informatics Suite AHIS. The flagship work done by Amritatech’s developers and architects, having won US patents for the core health informatics algorithms, will certainly hold the torchlight leading the way in India’s Healthcare Management systems arena as time and technology move on.
Author works at Amrita Technologies in Marketing & Strategic Projects.
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