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How hospitals benefit from DMRs


Introduction

The best thing to give unto a patient is compassion ~ Sharon Stone.


They are called patients, probably because they take up a lot of a medical practitioner’s or clinic’s time. But sometimes, compassion and medicine go hand in hand in working wonders in a patient’s convalescence. Hospitals are a major part of this process and being able to deliver quality care, compassionately and efficiently, needs to be in the DNA of every such institution.


Along with doctors, pathological laboratories, hospitals, play an important role in keeping the health of the public, at optimum levels. By being rehabilitative institutions, that offer care and cure, hospitals are an important part of every human life, and as such are regarded with a certain halo.


The fact of the matter however is that health care practitioners, especially institutions like hospitals are perceived to be entities. The problem with that perception is that a natural communication barrier is built between patients and hospitals. Patients need to perceive hospitals as caregivers and not cold, business-minded entities, in order for them to feel secure.


This is where Digitised Medical Records can help break down walls in a hospital-patient relationship. Of course there are the functional benefits of being able to provide a better standard of care through quicker patient turnaround times, better, more accurate diagnosis and treatment, a better employee management system and so many other features that are the direct offshoot of a more robust information delivery management system.


It is time hospitals stepped into the future, with a gameplan for being more in tune with patient needs, which are constantly evolving and getting on the DMR and robust information delivery management systems are one way to do so, effectively.


Hospitals in the 21st century

Before we understand the need for an effective system of DMRs or better information delivery, we need to analyse the challenges a hospital faces in the 21st century. These challenges lie on several fronts, like marketing, ensuring employee productivity, providing a superior patient treatment experience and of course, specialising and using technology to set itself apart.


  • 1. Providing a superior patient care experience: Above all else, a hospital is a key stakeholder in the entire rehabilitative healthcare segment. This makes the role of a hospital in a patient’s life an extremely important one. Therefore promising and delivering a positive patient care experience is of vital importance. What this means is that from the time a patient checks in to the time he/she is discharged, each and every interaction he/she has with the hospital needs to be a positive one. From a smooth check in, to being provided with the right medication, from being treated with courtesy and compassion by hospital staff, to having a comfortable room, to even something as simple as the attendant physician knowing the patient’s name, all contribute to this process. A hospital needs to strive to constantly better its standard of patient care, to stand out from the crowd and retain patient loyalty.

  • 2. Specialising and using technology to stand apart: Today the growth of a hospital is linked inextricably to the specialisations it offers. A hospital needs to be a dynamic, constantly evolving institution, and let’s face it, with specialisation comes diversification and an even greater impact on the hospital’s bottom line. This simply means that, the greater the number of specialisations in the hospital’s arsenal, the greater its chances of growth and profitability. Any attempt to specialise also comes along with a commitment to procure and use the latest in terms of medical innovations and technology, which in turn would justify the premium placed on the services the hospital provides.

  • 3. Managing employee morale and productivity: A hospital simply is a building without its medical and support staff. Ensuring that the staff is always happy and therefore productive is an important challenge that hospitals face. In an environment where doctors and nurses often work insane shifts, depending on the number of patients they’re tending to, it becomes nearly mandatory for a hospital to manage the stress levels that come with being a resident doctor. Handling both an OPD and an ICU shift means that doctors will need to know patient histories, allergies, symptom and tests literally by heart. In a such a situation, the chances of human error increase exponentially. A worrying situation indeed, now multiply this situation with a handful of doctors and you will understand the serious repercussions that go with unmanaged employee stress and morale.

  • 4. Competing to acquire talent: For a hospital to be successful, profitable and unique, vis-a-vis the competition, it needs to be able to recruit the best possible talent, in order to be at par with the other institutions out there. This is a particularly important challenge considering that doctors have no dearth of hospitals to look for in terms of affiliations or employment. A hospital is made by the individual skill and reputation of its doctors and this is a key parameter in the success of a hospital.

  • 5. Marketing: The healthcare space is a booming one and has several players in it. In order for a hospital to be able to stand out and thrive in such a competitive environment, it is necessary for it to market itself in an effective manner. As stated earlier, the marketing initiatives cannot afford to alienate patients, by painting hospitals as entities. All the marketing activities need to be in sync with a benevolent tone of voice, that makes the hospital, less of a business, and more of a partner in the healthcare paradigm. Doing so is even more critical in an age where patients are active on social media. While it does make patients more accessible as an audience, it also means that it is a forum where patients can express their opinions publicly, which may often times be counterproductive to a hospital’s cause. Thus marketing needs to be both creating and managing the right kind of image in order to both retain existing patients and attract newer ones.

Given the complexities and seriousness of these challenges, it is quite important that a hospital use any and all means at its disposal to deal with these, lest they fall behind. The following section will examine the impact DMRs and a more robust information delivery system can have on the hospital’s efficiency.


DMRs and better patient care

A DMR is a comprehensive history of a patient’s health. Right from medical prescriptions to test orders and reports and surgical and obstetric history, a comprehensive medical record is what gives doctors and hospitals an insight and an edge into treating a patient better. Here’s how hospitals benefit from investing in a comprehensive DMR based system.


  • Improve quality of care: DMRs and MIDS (Medical Information Delivery Systems) contribute greatly to the standard of care being bestowed upon a patient. Quite simply having a patient’s records at the click of a button, reduces the time in which hospitals can respond to a new admission, provide vital care and in the process minimise chances of infection or even fatality. Therefore it would be apt to say that DMRs and MIDS really contribute in improving the quality of care given to a patient.

  • Improved Efficiency: With the response time coming down in the critical care spectrum, the overall efficiency of a hospital also gets better. With DMRs and MIDS in place, efficiency improves tremendously. Being able to enter and edit a patient’s vital signs, medication and allergy reports and track his progress, makes it a quicker and more accurate process, than entering it in at a later stage, where a physician has to put in more of an effort and also the chance of forgetting vital details is higher.

  • Cost Reduction: This is a definite operational advantage to an institution like a hospital. For starters, with every record there is stored on the cloud, the need for paper based records is nullified and this saves on storage space, that can be better utilised to house better equipment and make the hospital more profitable. Secondly, added efficiency ensures that hospitals can handle more patients in a day and enable the institution make more money and stay profitable. Thirdly and more intangibly so, the improved morale of the staff will enable the hospital attract better talent at reduced cost, saving a good deal of money in the process.

  • Drive Revenues: A MIDS enables a hospital custom create offers and market itself better to a wider patient base. This enables a more targeted and focused driving of revenues. These offers and campaigns help bring to fore the choicest of the hospitals specialities and draw attention to the doctors and staff there. A patient too is more likely to interact with the hospital and is likely to recommend his friends and family, based on the standard of service he receives from the hospital in question. A smoother functioning hospital is likely to attract more patients and drive revenues up.

  • Patient Engagement and Recall: A very direct result of a dual system of MIDS and DMRs is patient engagement and recall. This simply means that creating an online presence and profile, will enable a hospital to widen its reach and connect with many more patients. Detailed profile and testimonials from satisfied patients will certainly influence the decision of people who are on the lookout for a hospitals for a certain procedure. The connectivity to social media, also means putting out the hospitals message out in a big way to be able to attract and create recall in a patient’s mind

  • Online Payments: A robust MIDS will always provide a hospital with an e-payments module that will make it infinitely easier for the institution to collect payments. It also adds a whole new world of convenience to the patients’ life as payment is seamless and can be done from virtually anywhere.

Enhancing the patient’s experience and treating a patient better are two of the most important consequences of DMRs. A satisfied patient, will automatically turn into an evangelist for the hospital and this would be the best kind of publicity for a hospital, simply because even today, we would easily take the word of someone we trust, about the caregiving calibre of an institution, than scope out one ourselves.


Features of DMRs in stages of care provision to the patient


Here’s how DMRs help in each stage of care provision to the patient in a hospital:


  • Pre-care: This is the stage when it may be assumed that a patient has just been referred to a hospital by his doctor. This stage really brings to the fore the time saving potential of DMRs. Since the patient’s records are digitised, his physician, will with a few clicks of a button, and with the patient’s prior consent, send across the records to the attendant physician in the hospital. Once the physician receives the records and studies them, he will have an idea of what the patient’s case is and will have a working idea of the course of treatment to be given. This enables better care; more prompt patient service and really saves critical time, in the case of life threatening can be crucial to a patient’s well being.

  • During care: Being able to edit a patient’s dosage, medical progress, allergies and update the progress of a patient’s progress on the spot, enables a doctor to be at his productive best. This also means that the chances of human error are nullified to a great extent, thanks to real time updating of real time. This also makes intra-hospital collaboration in treating a patient, that much more fluid and time efficient.

  • Post Care: In this phase, it becomes infinitely simpler for a patient to make appointments with his doctor at the hospital in question. A doctor on the other hand can track his patient’s progress remotely and also make additions to his prescription or even add routines and tests the patient can do and benefit from. A hospital can collect payments from a patient over a secure payment gateway and this also means a world of convenience to a patient.

  • Engagement: This simply means that a hospital can add a patient to its database and engage with the patient from time to time, in the form of marketing newsletters, personalised offers, review forms and personalised greeting e-mailers, which will help set a paradigm of a relationship between itself and a patient.

The healthcare ecosystem and interdependencies

The healthcare paradigm is akin to a pond or aquatic ecosystem. In a pond the water sustains life. The algae contribute to the cleanliness of the water. The fish contribute in keeping a check on the algae. Larger predatory fish and crabs keep a check on the number of smaller fish and in turn the entire pond thrives.


Now extrapolate this example to the healthcare profession. A hospital cannot exist in isolation. For its survival, it needs quality healthcare professionals to recommend it to their patients. It also depends on pathological labs to interpret any medical data that may come its way. Most importantly it needs patients to come in repeatedly and of course recommend its services to their family members and loved ones. This is the healthcare ecosystem, and for it to thrive the presence of a superior method of medical information delivery is extremely important. Here’s how it helps.


  • A medical network helps a hospital ascertain the reputation of a doctor they are considering hiring as a consultant. Opinions about the doctor from patients and contemporaries will enable a hospital to choose the right doctor for the job, enhancing the overall medical experience for a patient.

  • A medical information delivery system makes sharing of records secure and convenient, which means quicker turnaround times in terms of patient service, which in turn means the hospital can serve twice as many patients and enhance its own profitability.

  • Having a network of labs ensures that test schedules and bookings becomes majorly simple especially for smaller hospitals or polyclinics.

  • A robust medical information delivery system assures that in times of epidemics or crisis the hospital can share information and collaborate with governmental and non-governmental agencies, doctors and other hospitals in trying to alleviate the problem at hand.

  • It is an excellent tool for a hospital to market itself, as the administrator can create a detailed profile of the institution, create offers, post doctor profiles and specialities and custom-create offers for their existing database.

  • A medical network is also an excellent way for a hospital to take stock of a situation, in terms of feedback from patients and fine tune their approach in cases where patients report any kind of discrepancy or complaint. This also shows a hospitals readiness to be patient centric and that can do wonders for the institution’s reputation.

Conclusion

The 21st century poses hospitals a whole new set of challenges which necessitates the use of DMRs and the resultant information delivery system and network it creates, in order to deliver superior patient experience, quicker convalescence time, ensure profitability and help in the overall development of the healthcare ecosystem.