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What do clinicians look for in digital health products?

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Dr Nayan Kalnad, Founder and CEO, Avegen explains the top four things that clinicians look for in digital solutions

Despite how technology has influenced how we shop, or travel, it is yet to transform the way healthcare is delivered.

While the implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or Electronic Health Records (HER) was a massive step in digital transformation for the industry, it has ever since remained just under the radar for major digital breakthroughs. It doesn’t mean that the sector hasn’t innovated since the introduction of EMR. It’s only that the changes have been slow in adoption.

Today, many leading hospitals, pharma companies and related healthcare service providers have made significant investments to build a digital-friendly patient care ecosystem. From a clinician’s point of view, they get access to several innovative technology platforms to make their lives easier and ensure speedy recovery of patients with evidence-based insights.

For the clinicians to be able to benefit from technology, it is essential to keep the needs of physicians at the heart of any digital solution.

The top four things that clinicians look for in digital solutions are:

Easy access to patient data

Doctors need information about a patient’s condition to make decisions faster and swiftly. They need to be at the line of duty even when they are at home or in faraway places by delivering instructions over phone or video conferencing for critical cases. This requires easy access to patient data from anywhere without any hassle. EMR’s and EHR’s have made data access much more straightforward by eliminating manual information search on archives.

However, most EMR’s are stored and maintained by hospitals on expensive and rather outdated legacy internal IT infrastructure. There could also be cases where critical information is held up due to technical glitches, and care delivery is delayed in the process.

Moving EMR data and processing systems to the cloud could be the answer to this challenge. When patient data is in the cloud, accessibility and availability of information become easy for doctors and all the caregivers even if they are not physically present at the hospital.

Co-exist with and not complicate work

Doctors have a very challenging work schedule where they often multitask between several patient cases. Their work patterns and workflows have been arrived at after practising the routine for years, and the last thing they want is to completely re-define their workflows. Technology should be able to support them with minimal disruption to their workflows and routines.

So, while selecting a digital solution, clinicians will want to have software that can fit in with their daily routine, seamlessly integrate with their workflows, and unload some of the work without causing any disruption.

A great example could be a speech recognition technology that listens to a patient’s care instructions spoken by a doctor and records the same with accuracy without the need for any manual intervention. Using AI and Machine Learning, it is possible to prevent errors and provide a more seamless experience of capturing accurate insights in EMRs.

Improve patient engagement

In an increasing smartphone and smart device penetrated digital ecosystem, healthcare service providers need to deliver care to patients even when they do not reach out to clinics or hospitals physically (out of hospital care).

By helping doctors collect insights from smart devices such as health bands, smart pacemakers, and other portable patient wearables to providing instructions, prescriptions and other valuable insights to patients, IoT and mobility can go a long way in boosting a personalised experience for care delivery. Mobility is fast becoming a norm in the digital healthcare ecosystem and one that is poised to be a driving factor for patient interests in selecting caregivers.

Lower manual stress of diagnostics

Patient care is delivered faster and seamlessly when insights from their clinical tests are obtained quickly and with more accuracy. Manual processing of diagnostic data takes a heavy toll on time and effort. This leads to work fatigue for clinicians and prevents them from administering care efficiently.

Big data analytics and artificial intelligence can reshape the diagnostic cycle and make lives less stressful for doctors. Large volumes of health data can be processed, compared with historical references for identifying behavioural patterns. Accurate forecasts can be obtained in a matter of minutes or hours rather than the days or weeks it would have taken earlier. The growing use of big data analytics in diagnostics and treatment of critical illness like cancer is a testimony to the fact that this capability is much desired amongst the healthcare fraternity.

While assessing investments in a new digital solution or platform, healthcare service providers need to evaluate how the system is faring along these parameters.

As the world is increasingly becoming a digital-first society, the healthcare sector will have to transition into a digital-first service. For this to happen, it needs to move away from the notion that having an EMR or EHR is the only digital-friendly option they need to invest in. By using technology to make lives easier for doctors and caregivers, there is a promise of better patient experience – every time – leading to better credibility for your service, better patient outcomes and overall an improvement in quality of care.

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