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GE organises virtual discussion on digitalisation of critical care in India

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Going beyond HIS, the scope of digitisation spans device integration, workflow automation and integration between different systems like HIS, LIS, RIS/PACS, HAC is key to complete digitisation of a hospital, indicate experts

GE Healthcare recently organised an online forum for a cross-functional discussion intended for CIOs, HOD Biomed, hospital administrators and Management, HOD’s of the critical department such as anaesthesia, critical care, emergency care and so on. The objective was to emphasise a sharper focus on the reasons why hospitals of the future must adopt digital solutions within their OTs and ICUs. 

The experts for this discussion were Dr Paul Henry, Executive Director, Naruvi Hospitals; Dr Uma Nambiar, Executive Director, Gimcare Hospita — a unit of Genesis Institute of Medical Science; Dr Deelip Raman, Co-founder, Cloudphysician Healthcare and Syed Sadiq, General Manager, GE Healthcare’s Clinical Care Solutions who identified the key challenges and possible solutions for smoother execution of digital strategies.

The discussion was befitting, given the current COVID-19 crisis that has caused immense pressure on hospitals to operate in a resource crunched manner. Digital solutions will not only enhance the performance of healthcare workers but can become a key enabler for high-quality patient care, the experts emphasised. 

The discussion began with deliberation on the need for significant critical care solutions ranging from ventilators to computerised workflow management systems. Dr Nambiar pointed out for complete digitisation of the healthcare ecosystem and said, “We need collaborations and cooperation from every stakeholder which at this point seems difficult.”

“Right now in India, we have pockets of digitisation happening within a few hospitals, few clinics and some remote health monitoring, telemedicine, health applications etc. But the ecosystem is not unified on this. And that’s what we ultimately need to build,” she said. Dr Nambiar also went on to highlight the need for a focus on population health management wherein digitalisation can play a key role.

 Dr Henry shared his past experiences working with hospitals in the US and the Middle East. He gave the Henry ford example that provides a systematic adoption of digital solutions. He shared inferences from which India can learn. He emphasised the significance of paperless hospitals. He also mentioned that when he worked with global healthcare systems they very clearly identified that digitising their critical care departments was extremely beneficial to patient care. 

“Just by digitising a part of your hospital function using EMR and not integrating your digital system with the critical care function is not going help. When you have a paper interface between your systems, they just don’t couple. So, I feel that digitisation is the way forward. Either you must opt for complete digitisation or not at all,” Dr Henry candidly expressed.

“It is important to take a utilitarian approach to digitalisation. Digital systems have to be designed in a way that is practical rather than attractive,” emphasised Dr Raman.

Going further into the discussion, panellists also discussed the guidelines of dissemination of health information and the National Digital Health blueprint. 

Dr Nambiar pointed out for a need to have strong alliances were health information is the holy grail for the healthcare community and patients is well understood and utilised effectively. She also pointed out that the National Health stack is working towards a seamless integration for a robust health information system for the country.

Further, the discussion delved into understanding the legal aspects, data privacy and security. The experts unanimously agreed that nations need a robust interoperable platform that moves us towards a connected health system.

Key takeaways:

  • Going beyond HIS, the scope of digitisation spans device integration, workflow automation and integration between different systems like HIS, LIS, RIS/PACS, HAC 
  • Potential benefits of digitalisation and paperless critical care
  • Clinical outcomes – Reduce data recording errors, identify patient trends to decide on a treatment course, improve protocol adherence. 
  • Isolation – Reduce the need to physically be present in case of contagious patients
  • Potential of building hub and spoke models using digital solutions
  • Meeting legal requirements for patient documentation and data archival and retrieval
  • Support potential revenue streams like telemedicine, research and clinical trials

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