The IT Adoption strategy - that Healthcare Providers need to adopt to stay ahead of competition!

Arun Joseph VargheseArun Joseph Varghese on February 25, 2014

When the Banking sector is moving into Big Data and Analytics to perform analysis on customer segmentation, risk management and drilled down detailed product portfolio trends the hospital/healthcare segment is still debating the adoption of IT.

In fact IT adoption has probably been the only revolution to hit healthcare the slowest considering all other technology revolutions are usually applied first to Healthcare in man’s quest to make diseases obsolete.

1) Payers pushing Healthcare Providers into adoption of EMR Solutions

a) Healthcare Providers being part of the Healthcare Value chain are now being driven up the wall by the Payers to adopt HMS/EMR Solutions or face the consequences. The Payers could be Medicare, Medicaid, or the Government as is the case in the United States, where providers have to reach the first stage of meaningful use by 2015/2016 and receive incentives or face penalties.

b) In the case of the UAE, it is the Insurance Companies which follow the electronic means of accepting or denying Insurance claims which are pushing every provider to move to adoption of EMR Software Solutions or not receive insurance remittances.

c) In India, the insurance market is slated to spend in excess of 12 billion rupees in adopting insurance software in 2014 (as per Gartner). With less than 20% of the Indian population having some form of Health Insurance, penetration in this market is growing exponentially. With the majority of quality healthcare, in fact over 80% being provided by the private sector my take is that health insurance should be made mandatory for all. In fact, if it is a rule that every private vehicle plying on the roads must have insurance why not health insurance for every citizen?

State Governments of Kerala, Haryana and Bihar have allocated between 60 to 200 crores to roll out e-Health projects and unify patient data across primary health centers, district hospitals and medical colleges.

2) Patients pushing Healthcare Providers to be online (Social, Mobility and Analytics)

Patients, especially in the urban cities in India are spoilt for choice with regards to the provider that they would choose. So leveraging on the social media is high on the agenda of each provider’s marketing team.

Patients would like ubiquitous access to their personalized health records and web based Patient Portals are now the norm for patients to pull their latest lab report or case sheet report.

Hospitals are also flirting with ideas of building mobile based applications such as to send a panic message to hospitals for emergency situations, book and pay for online appointments with doctors, raising patient awareness etc.

In the US, hospitals are already putting their period qualitative performance such as data based on some quality indicators like - number of deaths, readmissions, incidences etc on the public domain so that patients can make an informed choice on their provider. This also sets a precedent of the confidence of the provider on making their data public to prove their qualitative performance.

Analytics will help pharmaceuticals ascertain how their drugs are performing, disease trends, treatment patterns and other mined qualitative data.

With the emergence of cloud and the __ as a service options available, healthcare providers can now focus on their area of core competence of providing healthcare services and consider either or all of  Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), platform as a Service (PaaS).

In Summary for a Provider to get competitive in the Private Healthcare space the IT adoption strategy / vision only begins with EMR Solutions and could encompass the following:

HMS --> EMR --> Cloud --> Big Data --> Analytics --> Hospital Quality Indicators going on the public domain --> Mobile Apps and Patient Portals

Arun Joseph Varghese

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Arun Varghese
Passionately solving healthcare problems with IT solutions for over a decade is the Product Owner for Insta HMS by Practo.

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