Managing Healthcare, the e-Way

by Muntazir Abbas    Sep 22, 2008

The demand for healthcare services in conjugation with technological empowerment is one of the crucial aspects today. However, the shortfall of tech-savvy medical staff leads to gradual implementation of technology-driven tools and applications in government and NGO-managed, as well as private hospitals, according to a survey.

The western and southern India is forefront in IT implementation in healthcare sector, but north India including Delhi, which has a population of nearly 18 million, is still to go a long way.

Nearly 18% of the privately-managed hospitals prefer commercially-marketed software. The Hospital Management Software (HMS) and Laboratory Information System (LIS) are widely being used in healthcare facilities. On the other side, nearly half of the large hospitals spend nearly Rs 50 lakh on IT systems on an annual basis, the survey said.

IT helps in streamlining the process and resolving the queries online. In addition, the technology plays a vital role in data and record keeping - said Ambrish Mittal, senior consultant, (endocrinology), Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

According to the survey titled: IT@Hospital Survey- 2008, Multiple factors are responsible for automation in hospitals, but most often, hospitals do not have a planned strategy for automation.

40% of IT managers think that demand from medical and nursing staff is leading to increase in automation of facilities, these days. Automation simplifies the general healthcare procedure and helps in retrieval of information, and ensures accuracy and speed.

Mittal said that an IT-enabled system is helpful in follow-up cases, as well as adding new and international queries, academic information and drug profiling.

The implementation of paperless system in hospitals has a long way to go. Nearly 85% of healthcare facilities that have implemented automation technology still maintain paper records. The survey said the demand for technology implementation is increasing from the medical staff, which is the end user.