July 2016 - Techindia

Month: July 2016

How To Provide A Quality Healthcare Management Services for Clients?

Quality management in healthcare is aimed at improving effectiveness of treatments and increasing the satisfaction level of clients with the medical services provided. Management of quality is focused on patients, as it is the patients’ satisfaction that is the ultimate judge of the level of healthcare services.

A healthcare system includes not only hospitals, but other components such as pharmacies and health clinics as well. A robust management of all these systems is required to ensure effectiveness of treatment and satisfaction for clients. Below are some elements crucial to providing quality healthcare management to clients.

Improving Quality of Care:

Improving quality of care and reducing costs is a key feature of the Affordable Care Act. In 2015, a new provision provides that physicians will be paid according to the quality of care they provide and not the volume they treat.

The WHO (World Health Organization) stresses on strict standards for management of quality of care. Quality of care in layman terms refers to providing the right healthcare service at the right time in the right manner. WHO defines it as a process for making strategic choices in health systems and further provides that improving quality of healthcare involves making improvements in six areas of healthcare:

  1. Delivering effective and tested treatments.
  2. Manner of delivery focused on optimal resource utilization.
  3. Right healthcare at the right time by professionals with requisite expertise.
  4. Treatment in line with patients’ preferences and local customs.
  5. Equitable healthcare irrespective of gender, location, race or status.
  6. Safe treatments minimizing risk to users.

Administrative Cost Reduction:

Administrative costs in the US account for up to 25% of healthcare costs, and a large percentage is wasteful expenditure according to several reports and studies.

Automation can help reduce administrative costs. Taking health plans online by explaining key benefits to members online, providing online enrollment and moving documents online can reduce costs by cutting down on labor intensive tasks. Electronic health records not only reduce paperwork and cut down administrative costs, but also reduce medical errors leading to quality healthcare for clients.

Professional Medical and Healthcare Teams:

Having professional medical and healthcare teams is central to quality healthcare management – healthcare teams comprise of allied healthcare professionals including pharmacists, physicians, dentists, nurses and other medical practitioners. Several areas report shortage of trained human resources to meet the health needs of growing population. Legislative measures to increase the number of healthcare professionals, especially in areas of shortage can help meet the goal of timely healthcare administered by professionals of right specialization. Telemedicine can be used to provide care in remote areas.

Telemedicine Adoption:

Telemedicine can be defined as exchange of medical information from one place to another using electronic media to improve a patient’s health condition. Use of live interactive videos for primary consultations, storing and forwarding diagnostic reports online and remote cardiac patient monitoring are all made possible by adoption of telemedicine. It provides several advantages by improving accessibility, reducing distance, reducing costs and offers better quality consultations especially in mental care and ICU telemedicine; thereby providing quality healthcare for patients giving them access to premier healthcare without traveling long distances.

Reducing Denial of Services:

While healthcare maybe considered a basic right, there have been many instances of denied healthcare due to lapses in medical insurance. In 2014, Affordable Care Act prohibited insurance companies from refusing to sell or renew policies based on an individual’s pre-existing conditions or gender. Strong implementation of this provision would reduce occurrences of denied medical services to patients, raising the quality of care nationwide.

Big Data: A Big Step Forward in Healthcare

We’ve been living in a digitized society for over a decade now. Everything we do is read, filtered and stored for posterity. Healthcare like every other industry has experienced this progress—whether pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, diagnostic centers or care homes, digitized medical records have been collected and stored in electronic databases over the years and have now been made easier to find, use and action as needed for the entire healthcare community.

Organizations now have insight into promising information/knowledge that was earlier not available to them. This existing big data can help find new treatment methods for specific conditions; solve the mystery of possible side effects, suddenly occurring symptoms, re-admissions, irritations, etc. The benefits as we know are plenty: improved patient care, reduced wait times, increased diagnostic speed, and higher patient satisfaction. The recent advent of new technologies has further improved the industry’s ability to work with this diverse, complex data.

Several innovative companies (both new and existing) are busy designing progressive applications and tools that will help healthcare stakeholders identify opportunities, ease concerns, and receive/give all-round care. According to a report published by McKinsey & Company, over 200 businesses created since 2010 are developing a diverse set of innovative tools to make better use of available healthcare information. This is just the beginning, as more and more innovative ideas get created and actioned, we can anticipate the birth of newer technologies that will reduce increasing healthcare costs, intensify security and protect patient privacy, complying with all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) patient-confidentiality standards.

Governments globally are working towards making healthcare data (i.e., public data on patients, clinical trials, health insurance, medical advances, etc.) more transparent and accessible. For example: The 2009 American Open Government Directive along with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Health Data Initiative (HDI), are starting to liberate data from agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) [Source: McKinsey & Company].

This new knowledge is creating a whole new mind-set. Patients, who once just followed Doctor’s orders, now take on a more intimate role in their treatment and decision-making. They have access to highly qualified professionals from across the world and can make lifestyle choices that can help them nullify their condition and/or prevent any further occurrences. Doctors can make real-time, evidence-based diagnosis, enabling quicker action and recovery.

Then there is predictive/prescriptive analytics and Genomics, where big data plays a very radical role. For example: When a patient comes to The ER with chest pain, the doctor’s often find it difficult to decide whether the patient needs to be admitted or can be sent home safely. With predictive algorithms, the patient’s saved history will aid the doctor’s judgment.

Here’s another example: It is likely that a patient’s medical records saved overtime, could on an ordinary visit to the hospital enable the doctor to spot a gene marker indicating Alzheimer’s. At one time, gene sequencing was an art known to a few experts, but with big data it would become as common as a regular blood test. This can help the doctor prescribe the right exercise, nutrition, medication, etc. in advance helping delay the symptoms or completely cure the disease.

Big Data is the future of healthcare. It will revolutionize medicine and increase life expectancy. Healthcare organizations that are open to new ideas; willing to ramp up their capabilities and treat innovation as the foundation of their brand, will be the ones progressing towards a better tomorrow, both for the caregivers as well as the patients.

MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY: AIDING BETTER DECISION MAKING

Today, comfort is the foremost concern and the key feature of care for all healthcare providers. Whether physical distress or emotional anxiety, different patients have different needs and caregivers must consider all factors before they make a decision.

Taking a medical decision can be overwhelming. Even, if it is a collaborative process where patient and physician make the decision together, the problems are often complex. The intensity is higher when the illness in question is life threatening. Also, the information available is either the patient’s side of the story or the result of multiple tests/examinations conducted. There is always a chance that the decision is incorrect.

According to a survey by PWC, one-third of the physicians said that they make decisions based on incomplete information for over 70% of their patients. They feel that patient compliance and assessing the limited information provided to them is the biggest obstacle in providing efficient care. According to an analysis by Health Research Institute, only half the physicians surveyed said that they access electronic medical records (EMRs) while visiting and treating patients. In fact, 88% of the physicians have indicated that they would like patients to be able to monitor their own health and vital statistics.

With the advent of sophisticated mobile health solutions, things in the medical world are changing for the better. Physicians and consumers alike are taking to characteristics such as convenience, cost-effectiveness, data accuracy, new ways to manage care and better health outcomes that these applications offer.

On the flip side, there is the fear of too much information. Considering that most of these apps record minute-to-minute movement of the patient, the data that is being collected is enormous. While taking a medical decision, the physician wants to see only the important aspects in the data, not every minute detail recorded. In fact, too much information can slow down the decision-making process, as there is that much more data to sort through before arriving at a diagnosis. This is where services provided by companies like Techindia come into play; they not only monitor and collect the data, but also analyze and sort through it in a short span of time making the physician’s work easier.

Physicians have already begun to adopt this new advancement. According to the PWC report, physicians believe that they can reduce office visits by upto 30%. 56% said these devices accelerate their decision-making process and 40% said that it decreases administrative time. Among the consumers, 20% use these devices to monitor fitness, 18% are very specific that they want their doctors to consistently monitor their health, while 40% are willing to pay a monthly fee for the service. Majority of the consumers have indicated satisfaction post the use of mobile health devices, clearly signifying that these gadgets offer valuable benefits to both patients and physicians.

Mobile health solutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It is imperative for caregivers to adopt these technologies to provide effective care and stay ahead of competition.