When we look at understanding how we can address the major gaps in providing Quality HealthCare, the one point which comes to mind is why we are not utilizing the power of Technology to bridge this gap.
Let me start with a story – Few years ago, I had to take my Dad to a Doctor for cough. We went to a Speciality Hospital near to a home (a Major Brand, do not want to use the name here though). This hospital had two facilities in the City. When we went there, the first thing which happened in the Registration. A Plastic Card (dimensions of a Credit Card) was printed with a picture and basic details – DOB, MRN and Place of Issue were printed.
After the initial check up, the Doctor wanted a test to be done which was not available in this facility and hence we were requested to go to the other one. After going there, I provided the card to bring out the details of the test ordered. The front office person informed me that they do not have connectivity with the other Branch and hence I had to pay the registration fees (Rs.100) and post that, looking at the Hard Copy of the Prescription, entered the details. Then I had to go to another Doctor (since the consolidated list of Doctors in the Hospital is not available and the prescription had to be cross checked) to re-confirm the test and then we proceeded for the test.
This hospital has made major investments in using Technology in their Hospitals. Staff are trained and the charges of this Hospital is also definitely not nominal.
What does this story illustrate? A simple aspect of integrating two facilities has not been taken seriously. Why? Is it because they lack the technological infrastructure? Or, is it because they can make more money (Double registration fees)? Or, is it unwillingness to invest further on the technology required to integrate? There are many questions which arise, however, for me, it is just the fact of lack of “Ownership” from the management side.
In a country like India where the demographics play an important role, there are many multi-national Hospital Chain’s and single facilities which have setup shop across the country over the last decade and continue to do so with huge investments coming up in the next decade.
The Government, with due respects has its own, things to do and hence am not even considering the fact that they should take ownership to force Hospitals to implement any automation to their care facilities.
With the vastness of the Country dynamics and considering the fact that the system works in a silo, is it easy to consider implementing basic EMR across all Hospitals and Clinics across the country? I do not think so.
Even though technology has become affordable, the socio-economic factors like affordability of Care facilities with-in a 10 KM radius across the country makes it difficult to even imagine implementing EMR across the country.
Continued – Part 2