Enhancing patient experience should be priority, say panellists at News Corp VCCircle summit

As hospitals focus on return on capital to their investors, their priority should be to enhance patient experience, said panellists at News Corp VCCircle Healthcare Investment Summit 2016.

This can be done by putting in place small procedures and the use of technology, they said. 

These procedures may not be capital intensive, and therefore may not dent the hospital’s financial returns, but go a long way in improving patient experience which will in turn benefit hospitals, panellists said. 

“Patient experience at hospitals can be harrowing. For example, there are long queues. At Hinduja, we have devised kiosks where patients can check in so they don’t have to wait in queues,” said Gautam Khanna, CEO of Hinduja Hospitals.

Feedback is also now given online through tablets, instead of traditional methods of filling forms, he said, explaining other uses of technology that hospitals could adopt. 

However, many people who come to hospitals are older and they may or may not understand technology; so use of technology has to be subtle, he said. 

Khanna said the hospital has put in a place a mechanism where patients would be sent text messages confirming their appointments or alerting them about a delay. Also, patients can get their diagnostics reports online or via email—these reports are also available to the entire staff at the hospital, which improves turnaround time, he said. 

The panellists also discussed how doctors can use technology to enhance patient care. “Like doctors, there is a shortage of technicians and nurses also. Hence, effective use of telemedicine for remote monitoring would be good management of resources,” Khanna said.

Almost all panellists at the event said paucity of available and trained medical talent has been affecting patient care. “There are 1,100 nephrologists in the country, but there is a need for 25,000 across cities to adequately cover patient care,” said Karthik Narayanaswamy, co-founder, Sealink Capital. Training schools attached to Single-specialty hospitals are a must now for value creation, he said. 

The shortage in medical professionals can be bridged by the use of telemedicine. Hence, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals need to be trained on telemedicine, panellists said.

Telemedicine can also be used at tier 2 and tier 3 cities, but the credibility of the telemedicine depends on the doctor.

Participating a discussion on “Healthcare analytics: the net game changer for the Indian healthcare industry”, panellists emphasised the need for diligent collection of data of all patients at hospitals, which can improve patient care and enhance hospital management. 

Data collection does not require overhauling of IT infrastructure but only implementation of a few simples procedures, said Mihir Shah, founder and MD of UV LifeSciences. 

“To give better care and attention to patients and help in quick decision making, hospitals should also share data with each other,” said Rahul Garg, director, Medsurg Business, Boston Scientific. 

Data analytics can also be used to predict an onset of diseases or illness, said Vikram Kumar, founder and CEO of Multiplier Solutions. 

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