There’s this latest epidemic in town – the bad HIT. Yes, it’s Bad Health Information Technology gone worse. Like any other technology being implemented per se, the Health Information Technology also requires appropriate testing for its usability, effectiveness and suitability before execution. Health is one area where we can’t be casual about it – health comes before everything else, values the Ministry of Health.
The antidote coined for the epidemic is the Good HIT – a system that is not just any other technical system or add-on, but instead a software that improves clerical services, helping physicians to treat patients effectively. Today, everything comes down to a good user experience, in this case – the patient.
Patient experience is considered to be the chief indicator in the evaluation and improvement of quality healthcare. By developing a patient-centric system, healthcare providers can vouch for satisfied patients. So how does a Good HIT work its charm?
Having just an Electronic Health System (EHR or EMR) in place is like having a plant you don’t water – it withers and dies! In the clinical setting, the entire staff – from receptionist, to nurse, practitioners, physicians and doctors – should be able to use it effectively. This essentially requires the system to be simple enough to be trained to use and holistic enough to include all possibilities of the clinical environment.
First and foremost, the system needs to be patient-centric and a centralized one at that, wherein all registered* healthcare providers can access a patient’s information and medical history. Any/all updates to the patient’s file should be verified and validated prior to amendments.
Quality indicators for the software used should be effectively four main areas:
Prevention is so much better than cure. Thus, vaccinations, immunizations, early detection of illness, or change in lifestyle should be proposed to the patient to avoid the need for clerical services. Also, the chances for iatrogenic situations should be minimized.
With the patient’s medical history available, the physician is aware of the allergies and patient behavior as well, thus making prescriptions safer.
- Effectiveness of care
Patients should be provided with the utmost care and with all real-time information and medical history available at the physician’s dashboard, consultancy, diagnosis and treatment methods can be rendered more effective.
Patients can avail medical help easily, approaching the nearest healthcare facility because their information is centralized and any* physician will be able to look at the medical history, conditions and provide treatment accordingly.
- Timeliness of Service Delivery
The patient is anything but. The impatient visitor to the healthcare facility requires immediate service, with a waiting time of nanoseconds. Every patient that enters has an emergency situation, and thus it’s important for the system to portray and plan for a typical day of patients, an epidemic or emergency situation and also for a rainy day.
The Ministry of Health should definitely move to digitizing the healthcare industry and a big move like this needs to be perfectly executed keeping in mind the healthy reputation of the self-sustained nation. Such a system would considerably improve the patients’ confidence in the system and satisfied patients are more likely to continue using health services, comply with medical treatment and maintain the relationship with the healthcare providers,
*It is obviously very important that the healthcare facility is a legit and registered one, running the system post-training, and also that the physicians are trained professionals.