Healthcare providers, today, are faced with the problem of preparing their hospital to meet future challenges by keeping pace with technology, without losing their patients to competitors or compromising on the quality of services they provide to the patients. Rising hospital management costs, a shortage of healthcare workers, challenges in accessing services, timely availability of information, issues of safety and quality, and rising consumerism are some of the facts of today’s healthcare system. The industry has reached a point where they need to plan how to deliver the services more effectively to reduce costs, improve quality and attract more patients, all this without placing additional pressure on the system that is already performing beyond its capacity, especially since the spending on healthcare is on the increase.
Healthcare delivery in hospitals, across the globe, is undergoing drastic change. There is a common view amongst the healthcare providers that the existing paper-based hospital systems are not efficient, both from the patient care and the financial perspective. It is, therefore, essential to transform healthcare delivery by leveraging information technology to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness of the existing healthcare system.
A paradigm shift in thinking with respect to the IT needs of healthcare, and the need for automation of hospital processes, has brought in a lot of improvement in the conventional ways of operating or managing a hospital. The new generation hospitals see IT as a the backbone of the hospital in connection with regard to data capture, information flow between various departments, hospital management and patient satisfaction.
The major areas that the new hospitals are looking to automate are primarily the Front Office operations. But, the traditional approach is slowly changing, and the hospitals are now looking at solutions that can automate all their medical & non-medical processes.
Some hospitals have gone to the extent of providing smart cards to their patients and access to the hospital services through the internet. The patient can now schedule an appointment at their convenient time with a doctor of their choice with a click of a button, from the comfort of their house. No more making several calls/trips to the hospitals to schedule an appointment and long queues to pay the bills, etc.
Since the processes in the hospitals are not yet standardized, IT solution providers are willing to customize their products to the unique needs of the hospitals. To a large extent, hospital management systems are now being developed in compliance with standards like HlPAA and HL 7. The image processing systems are being designed for interfacing with DlCOM technology.
If IT is leveraged to automate the Administrative & Clinical Applications, business performance can be enhanced to improve the clinical outcomes tremendously.
Automating complex administrative, financial and clinical processes in a hospital frees the staff to spend more time on caring for patients and extending the reach of services from in-patient to out-patient, to long-term care and even home care. Access to information and the automation of complex tasks and workflow is key to not only making this work, but work efficiently.
Healthcare organizations, today, have a lot more to manage, besides providing core healthcare services to patients. Managing non-medical aspects of a hospital such as billing, purchases, stores, MIS reports, finance and accounts is not an easy task. Thankfully, the hospital management and information systems (HMIS) have tremendously simplified the hospital processes like recording patient details, scheduling appointments, generating lab reports, image processing and data storage.