It is evident that healthcare is changing and that we are all a part of a "new normal." The dynamics brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic are offering hints as to how technology will alter in-patient treatment and safety in the years to come. To discuss on these lines, a leader’s roundtable was organised by Voice of Healthcare and Wolters Kluwer to address how technology adoption can contribute to better patient safety and quality at the point of care. Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Director General of the Indian Association of Healthcare Providers (AHPI), moderated the conversation and several luminaries from the healthcare sector participated in the discussion. The forum's main discussion topics focused on the present state of technology adoption in healthcare, its opportunities and challenges, and ways to overcome them in order to put patient safety in the forefront of Indian healthcare, where the prevailing narrative is primarily concerned with accessibility, affordability, and availability.
‘‘I believe that India is poised to become the World Health Guru, and this belief is derived from the fact that we are already leading in the adoption of technology in other industries, and we can apply this to our healthcare sector in coming days as well.” - Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Director General, AHPI
Benefits of implementing technology in healthcare sector
At general, adopting technology in a hospital has a number of benefits, such as speeding up diagnosis, offering auxiliary services, and better, faster decision making leading to enhanced patient outcomes. In remote areas and tier 2/3 cities, there is a dearth of important infrastructure to provide basic healthcare facility to that population. In the event of an emergency or serious illness, people from these remote areas lack the means to receive prompt medical attention, and by the time they arrive at a hospital in the city, they have already missed the window of opportunity for treatment. Not only that, but our healthcare system is deprived of skilled physicians, nurses, and paramedics necessary to treat patients properly in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Technology like virtual health, telemedicine, and clinical decision support solutions (CDSS) can play a key role in such scenarios, along with establishment of healthcare centres in these small towns. Telemedicine already saw nearly overnight adoption with the explosion of COVID19.
However, in regions where there are hospitals and easy access to technology is available, it is still challenging to change the mindset of doctors to accept and incorporate that technology into their daily workflow. The ability to successfully embrace technology depends on and is influenced by a variety of elements, including technical proficiency, mindset, behavioural and cultural transformation, and the desire to accept technology outcomes. It is evident that we have only scratched the surface of how technology can revolutionize inpatient safety and care. Although the uptake of technological tools like CDSS is gradually increasing as awareness is rising, our nation has not yet standardised the adoption of these tools.
Ways in which CDSS technology helps to deliver patient safety
• CDSS is a type of software system that assists a physician in making decisions by analysing patient data. Clinical Decision Support isn't just for doctors and nurses; it's also for staff, patients, and other caregivers. CDSS can be a standalone program, or it can be featured as a part of any Electronic Health Record. It provides healthcare with person-specific information that is intelligently filtered at the appropriate time.
• For better decision-making and action, CDS provides the healthcare team with evidence-based information through the appropriate channels, such as patient portals, EHR, and mobile devices, at the right time.
• CDSS enhances healthcare by eliminating pointless testing and avoiding harmful complications thereby enhancing patient safety
• CDSS contributes to improving care quality and health outcomes, boosting efficiency, lowering costs, and raising patient and physician satisfaction.
• It reduces chances of medical and prescription errors
The leader’s roundtable was attended by renowned clinicians and experts from the healthcare industry that included:
Dr. P N Kakar, Chief Executive Officer, Park hospital Group (Delhi-NCR):
“It takes time for cultural and behavioural shifts related to technology adoption. We are introducing technology in various ways in Indian healthcare. We must integrate them, that is what we must do. People will inevitably embrace the use of these integrated technologies once they see the results.”
Harish Ramachandran, Country Head at Wolters Kluwer – India:
“Integration of CDS systems with EMR helps accelerate the implementation of CDSS in healthcare institutions. In a number of healthcare settings, clinicians are currently using UpToDate on an individual basis. In order for CDS solutions to be accessible to everyone whenever needed, healthcare facilities must standardise their use.”
Dr. Surabhi Awasthi, MBBS, MD (Anaesthesia), AMPH (ISB), Director Critical Care & Emergency, Aarvy Healthcare, Super Speciality Hospital, Gurgaon
“It's critical that technology is user-friendly in addition to facilitating its adoption in healthcare. Additionally, the user must be competent and knowledgeable enough to operate the technology.”
Dr. Ashish Chaudhary, Managing Director, Aakash Super speciality Hospital, Dwarka:
“Technologies like EMR and CDSS have a bright future since they will make it easier for doctors and clinicians to deliver top-notch treatment while also improving patient safety. In hospitals, the adaptability of the CDSS will rise if senior practitioners utilise it and encourage their junior colleagues to adopt it. As the user's capabilities and intellect also matter, the new technology should be user-friendly, and the user should be intelligent enough to operate it.’’
Dr. Upasana Arora, Director, Yashoda Super speciality Hospital:
“Nothing more is required to achieve quality and patient safety in hospitals if they embrace and abide by all the standards; it will happen on its own.”
Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Director, Ujala Cygnus Healthcare:
“Every healthcare setting needs champions to lead the adoption and deployment of technology.”
Dr. Ritu Mittal Garg, Chief Growth & Innovation Officer, Fortis Healthcare:
“Investing in the early stages of technology adoption makes more sense to administrators and clinicians alike. The adoption of technology can be significantly higher if there is an early discussion and clinicians are involved in every phase.”
Dr. Shankar Narang, Chief Operating Officer, Paras Hospital Goregaon:
“Adoption of CDSS brings in a cost-saving element for patients by allowing them to avoid spending money on extra tests and medications. It also prevents a great deal of errors and adverse events. The question is, however, how many of us will be able to use CDSS successfully and justify the cost of its deployment if it is to be implemented.”
Amit Singh, Group Chief Executive Officer, Yatharth Hospital:
“In hospitals, CDSS platforms like UpToDate can offer you with a clinical route after gathering all the information, especially in important areas where information is flowing in from numerous sources. CDSS will have a bigger role in the future and contribute to considerably better patient care.”
Rajiv Sikka, Chief Innovation Officer, Medanta the Medicity:
“Post covid, technology has really been picked up in terms of digital remote care. With constantly changing treatment protocols during pandemic, technology plays a key role in pushing the right information to the stakeholders, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities.”
Dr. Jeetendra Sharma, Chief Critical Care & Medical Quality, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon:
“Patient safety receives less attention when it comes to public health than are accessibility, availability, and price. Patient safety needs to be prioritised and brought into sharper focus.”
Vipul Jain, Chief Business Officer, CK Birla Hospital Gurgaon:
“Healthcare is the most complicated industry I have seen. The dynamics of the industry is such that the stakes are very high, somebody’s life is at risk. There are huge gaps in process orientation, people training etc. that I have seen in last six years of my journey in healthcare.
Since one of the main reasons physicians are less eager to accept technology is shortage of time, and they would rather spend their time caring for patients, technology adoption can rise if the clinicians are given more hands.”
Dr. Divesh Arora, MBBS (AFMC), MD (Anaesthesia), Director & HOD, Asian institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad
“The struggle to find qualified technicians at tier 3 hospitals is equally big problem as the lack of infrastructure and resources.”
*This story has been published by VOH team.*
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