Category: Blog

10 Oct 2017
Mobile technology applications in health care

7 Key Focus Areas of Mobile Healthcare Applications

Welcome to the Era of Pocket-Sized Smart Care – Mobile technology applications in healthcare

We live in a perennially mobile world, managing almost every life activity (from work to shopping) “on the go” – thanks to the “smart” phones that have become such an integral part of lives. The healthcare ecosystem is certainly not lagging behind in embracing mobile technology.

The very term “mhealth” is proof of mobile technology’s relevance in healthcare. Mobile healthcare applications have exploded the care landscape because of their ability to simplify access to care and deliver a superior care experience from both the care providers’ and the patients’ point of view.

Here are 7 key focus areas of mobile healthcare applications that are gaining tremendous attention in today’s care landscape.

1. Easy access to care

Mobile apps have simplified the burdensome task of choosing a care provider, booking appointments, and follow-up sessions with the clinic or hospital. This has drastically reduced waiting times at the doctor’s office and increased the efficiency of the entire care process. With SMS reminders, prepaid options, and 24/7 call options, these apps also provide patients with options of rating care providers, thereby delivering a transparent care ecosystem.

2. Easy interaction between care providers

One of the primary source of delays in the care process is the long waiting period and the never-ending back and forth between multiple care points – doctors, labs, imaging system, second opinions, insurance companies, and pharmacies, for example. Mobile apps create a strong network of care providers who interact productively through apps, guaranteeing a secure and professional platform that enables informed and timely decision-making.

3. Medical record maintenance

Trusted app that effortlessly maintain medical records and patient history have always been on top of the care landscape’s list of priorities. These apps are simple interfaces that facilitate easy recording of diagnosis, examination, medication, and treatment regimens with zero need for multiple sources of data entry and minimal version issues.

4. Remote patient engagement

Delivering a positive patient experience is no longer restricted to focusing just on treatment and diagnostic modalities. It involves providing the patient with complete support – right from easy access to care even from remote. There are many examples of remote patient engagement:

  • Video-call options with patients
  • Engaging in healthcare awareness drives
  • e-Prescription and remote monitoring of medication compliance
  • Remote treatment of patients in remote locations and elderly patients by mapping their vital body parameters and alerting care providers in case of deviations

5. Chronic condition care support

Smartphone apps have become critical support systems in delivering care for chronic conditions such as diabetes. Many apps help patients to efficiently manage their blood sugar levels, maintain a nutrition diary, and transform their lifestyle to avoid the complications of diabetes.

6. Wellness support

Care is no longer associated with the absence of any disease or disorder – it’s also about the wellness of the body and mind. Hence, wellness-related apps are exponentially increasing in popularity, from simple apps that measure the number of steps walked over a specified period and heart rate to apps that track exercise, diet, and sleep. Customized dashboards deliver a clear overview of the health condition of the patient.

7. Continued learning for care providers

Staying up-to-date in today’s care ecosystem requires that the care providers stay on top of every innovation, new disease and condition, novel medical device, ongoing research, and pharmaceutical discovery. Apps that consolidate specialty-specific data and references from across the medical world are hugely popular. Given the nature of the care providers, this service too needs to deliver a 24/7 access to any location – and mobility perfectly fits this bill.
Conclusion – anytime, anywhere care
mHealth is fast becoming synonymous with delivering smart care anytime from anywhere – a super-efficient means of enabling health and wellness. The challenge is to cut through the excessive clutter of mhealth apps and find your right fit and to ensure that your healthcare solution includes mobility-first features. Today’s care world is certainly on its way to fit right in your pocket! So how ready are you to go the mhealth way?

23 Aug 2017
Artificial Intelligence

6 Outstanding Applications of AI in Today’s Care Ecosystem

Behold the Magic of Intelligent Care Healthcare with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) – the smart, cognitive devices of today’s era – has penetrated extensively across all possible verticals – from financial services to manufacturing – and healthcare is no exception. With interest in AI booming exponentially, its scope of application in care-based applications has widened beyond imagination.

Reports indicate that the AI-driven healthcare market will see a tremendous growth of almost 40% by the end of this decade. From delivering advanced care-related information to physicians to make informed decisions to personalized real-time treatment, advanced applications of AI in healthcare are indeed revolutionizing care.

Let’s check out some of the outstanding applications of AI in today’s care ecosystem.

1. Diagnosis

One of the most advanced applications of AI in healthcare is in disease diagnosis. With AI, machines are supercharged with the ability to analyze voluminous data from medical images, prompting early diagnosis of many disorders. AI provides an easy solution through intelligent diagnostic imaging. This approach has multiple applications in proactive diagnosis of the possibility of stroke, tumor growth, and certain types of cancer, giving the physician the chance to derive a comprehensive treatment plans for patients well ahead of time.

2. Biomarkers

Biomarkers automatically provide accurate visual and audio data of patients’ vital health parameters that indicate the presence of specific medical conditions, help choose the ideal medications, or assess treatment sensitivity. Biomarkers accurately capture symptoms, as against the guesswork of symptoms perceived by patients. The accuracy and speed of biomarkers have made them the preferred tools of diagnosis, promptly highlighting possibilities of any disorders.

3. Virtual nursing assistance

AI -based applications and chat bots support care providers in delivering nursing assistance after discharge from hospital. This feature helps simplify provision of outpatient services and increases the accuracy of monitoring patient compliance post discharge. Available even as simple wearable’s and on smart phones, these AI-enabled devices also act as virtual health assistants that remind patients about their medications, encourage them to follow their exercise routines, answer simple medical clarifications sought by patients, and warn care providers about any untoward incidents such as sudden increase in blood pressure or a fall.

4. Remote monitoring of patients

This involves round-the-clock remote monitoring of patients, constant evaluation of their vital signs, and real-time alerts to caretakers and care providers. This remote assessment of vital health parameters helps physicians identify core symptoms of diseases and disorders in patients and respond accordingly. This approach clearly prevents unnecessary visits to the physician to a great extent.

5. AI and drug discovery

AI-driven computing can accurately and promptly study structures of multiple drug molecules and predict their pharmacological activity, potency, and adverse effects. This possibility opens up a rapid and cost-efficient route of drug discovery. It also has the chance of drastically reducing the cost of medications. Used across pharmaceutical companies, AI-based drug discovery has contributed to supporting the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

6. AI-enabled hospital care

AI simplifies care delivery in hospitals through a wide range of solutions including smart monitoring of IV solutions, patient medication tracking, patient alert systems, nursing staff performance assessment systems, and patient movement tracking within hospitals. Robot-assisted surgeries and AI applications in routine phlebotomy procedures are other potentially useful applications. AI has been found to considerably decrease dosage errors and increase nursing staff productivity in hospitals.

Conclusion – the era of AI has arrived in style
With voluminous investments pouring in for AI applications in healthcare, this technology still has a long way to go, despite its presence in healthcare for quite many years now. The main reasons for its slow adoption are the cost of research, the security concerns involved in opening up extensive databases, and misconceptions or errors in coming to quick conclusions. But the quest for ideal AI solutions looks quite promising indeed, with AI supplementing healthcare and improving the quality of care from diagnosis to prognosis.
So, where are you in your journey towards an AI-driven care ecosystem?

07 Aug 2017
Interoperability between Health System

Achieving Seamless Interoperability in Healthcare – from Concept to Reality

What can we achieve with seamless interoperability in healthcare?

The era of digital healthcare is indeed revolutionizing the care landscape. Data- and technology-driven solutions are enabling every member of the care network to deliver a patient-centric experience. However, despite this tremendous leap, the care landscape is still facing challenges in simplifying care for both the patient and the provider.

Innumerable tools and solutions are facilitating multiple aspects of the care process – right from access to care and diagnostics to continued treatment. But these brilliant innovations often remain in silos, with almost zero scope for exchange of data across the various healthcare systems. This lack of interaction nullifies all the potential of these innovations.
This ability to communicate between systems, exchange precious data, and interpret them accurately is an essential enabler to complete the transition into digital healthcare, and is called interoperability.

What can we achieve with seamless interoperability in healthcare?
When devices, systems, and tools effortlessly share information across an interoperable interface, every care partner – from the patient, care and provider to the lab technician and pharmacist – receives the same version of the shared data regardless of the disparate technological environment of each stakeholder.

This capability delivers immense advantages:

1. Easy, secure, and real-time access to in-depth patient data

A critical enabler of delivering timely and efficient care across the healthcare system, interoperability eliminates duplication of work.

2. Supporting patient safety

Many reports have indicated that more than 50% of medication errors arise during care transition; hence, effective interoperability between all the care points ensures continuity of care and zero scope for error.

3. Effortless collaboration

Interoperability facilitates delivering a well-coordinated care, with increased clinical and business collaboration across the entire care network.

4. Efficient adoption of best practices across the landscape

extensive data insights from a well-connected and interoperable ecosystem help care partners to assess the process and derive optimal strategies and best practices.

5. Cost efficiency and high quality

With interoperability removing many administrative and data validation burdens, providers and other care partners can focus on delivering technology-enabled values to patients at a lower cost and high quality.

Thus, interoperability between every element of the healthcare ecosystem brings together three core pillars of the landscape – people, process, and technology. It enables seamless information capture, exchange, interpretation, and application of data across the landscape.

10 Nov 2016

How Laboratory Information System Helps in Tracking Samples Across Multi Centers

5 compelling reasons why automation is more than the much-advertised reduced need for manpower and time.

Laboratory services is not just about sample collection, samples processing and results reporting; sample tracking and management is as big a responsibility. Intelligent sample management is not just the present but also the future of laboratories for effective functioning.

While you will find a lot of information on how Laboratory Information System (LIS) is useful in achieving different sets of tasks that it was designed to perform, we would like to offer you some key insights on sample management.In this post, we take you through 5 ways that LIS can help in sample tracking and management especially in a multi-center scenario.

1. Barcode Generation – The Magic Bricks to Efficient Sampling

With LIS implemented at your laboratory, every collected sample can be allotted a barcode right at the point of collection, which is unique to that sample. A barcode scanner at any point is all that is needed to track the sample. So, even when the sample is collected at one center and transported to another center at a different location for processing and further transported to another place for storage, the barcode on the vacationers will be the tracker. Every scanner that scans the barcode on a particular sample will save its location under that unique barcode, making the barcode the digital footprint of that sample and thereby the patient’s too.

The pre-printed barcodes can be assigned to different tests for the same patient and thereby store all pathological information about that patient under a single visit ID. This will aid in easy information retrieval as well as reports collations and correlations.

2. Reduction In Lost or Mislabeled Samples

Sample management includes managing samples right from the point of sample collection till samples are discarded. Since the barcode – the unique ID of the sample is auto-generated and not hand written,the chances of wrong labeling are highly unlikely. By attaching a printer to the computer terminal at the sample collection point, all the codes can be printed on stickers, which can be stuck to the vacationers right at the point of collection. This will in effect erase any possibility of mislabeled samples.

Scanning these vacationers at every point of entry and exit till storage or incineration happens, means chances of a sample being lost are negligible. This means better reports on sample tracking and archival resulting in better reputation and more patient returns.

3. Easy Retrieval From The Archives

Once the sample’s initial processing is done and the initial reports are dispensed, the sample goes into cold storage till further research or reporting is called for. This is where, traditional manual systems becomes cumbersome to retrieve. Most laboratory employees complain that retrieving a sample is the single most time taking and cumbersome task they perform in their daily routines. LIS practically erases this time wastage. With barcodes and unique IDs stored on the server along with the location, owing to scanning of the codes at every entry and exit, the exact location of the sample is stored on the server up to the last details including the rack number. With the power of LIS, this can be accessed from any center irrespective of whether the sample is in that center or elsewhere.

4. Easy Diagnostic, Clinical & Research Data Access From Anywhere

LIS enables storing of not just location of the sample but also the related diagnostic, clinical and research data about the sample under one unique code. This data is stored on the LIS server under the assigned unique code. LIS makes it extremely simple to not only retrieve the sample physically but also retrieve information about that sample to collate and/or correlate for clinical or research purposes. And LIS also makes the information accessible from any center irrespective of where it is located.

5. Helps In Efficient Use Of Storage Space

LIS not just helps in effectively labeling, categorizing, storing and retrieving the samples but also helps in utilizing the cold storage area better. When all these processes are completed through LIS,the software also gives an alert to inform that the sample is no longer fit to be processed. It is an alert for the diagnostic lab employees to clear out these samples from the freezer and to make space for the new ones. This is an extremely useful feature since it makes the lab operations cost effective and helps avoid investment on purchasing additional freezers when there is potential to optimize the existing storage space while helping you prevent processing un-stable samples.

LIS can be extremely effective, covering up for gaps in the manual system, as far as sample management is concerned, but users can come up with many more ways in which the software can be used even more efficiently.

25 Oct 2016

How To Choose Cost Effective And User-Friendly Laboratory Information System

7 tips on getting the perfect lab automation system for your laboratory

So you have done your research on what changes automation will bring to your laboratory operations and are convinced to get a good Laboratory Information System implemented. The most important factors that make an LIS desirable are a solution that has rich features while being cost effective, user friendly and intuitive interface and the ability of the system to scale to your growing business.

Today we take you through some important factors that will help you choose the perfect software solution for you and your lab:

1. Define Limits of Your Automation

There are a lot of options available as far as automating your laboratory is concerned. Depending on your investment limit, the change acceptability amid your staff and your confidence on automating your processes, make a choice! Take a wise decision looking at your strengths and areas of improvements; never compromise on features and pick an LIS solution with incomplete modules because it is cheap. This decision can prove to be quite expensive in the future.

2. Reduce Customization As Much As Possible

No software will come custom made for your laboratory because you will have some of your unique processes, which will need customization in your LIS. After deciding how much automation you need, next in line is to define how much customization you require. Some customization may need additional investment, so make sure you choose a software that can customize the software to match your needs and processes.

3. Erase Hardware Cost

Implementation of the LIS and the associated costs especially the hardware installations and maintenance come to a hefty amount. With a growing business, one cost that will definitely keep increasing is the hardware and associated maintenance costs. Better the business, more is the data generated and more is the space required to store that data. The best bet to reducing hardware costs is to go for Cloud. Buying Cloud based LIS will eliminate cost of not just hardware but also expensive IT resources to maintain the servers.

4. Keep an Eye on the Implementation Timeline

The total implementation is considered to be complete when not just installation of the software is done but also once a thorough training of the staff and initial hand holding is completed. Timelines with target dates for each level of implementation and the cross checking of each level needs to be considered and discussed with complete clarity before the purchase decision is made.

5. Make Sure Training is a Part of the Package

A critical part of successful LIS implementation is the software being used smoothly by your staff. On a practical note, you or other pathologists at the lab will be using the software at your diagnostic center; but not as much as your staff. It is their routine that will undergo major changes with the decision to automate your lab. While choosing the Laboratory Information System make sure that the operational complexities of the software is an easy maze for your staff to wade through. Most vendors provide on-site or over the web training but choose the software partner considering the IT proficiency of your staff so you get the best possible support. Also make sure that the training is part of the package and your staff gets trained thoroughly by your IT vendor.

6.Talk About Post-Sales Technical Support Too

Bought. Installed. Trained. Implemented. What about an unforeseen hiccup after implementation? Every staff would have understood the technicalities in a different way and there could be a hiccup owing to wrong use or a situation that was not a market reality while implementing the software. It is crucial that technical, functional and training support should be available post-sales. Be sure to negotiate a profitable association for the laboratory while considering support post-sales. Also be sure to check about the regular software upgrades.

7. Mobile Applications

Automation should not just help you male the processes faster but should allow user to save time in best of ways. One of them is availability of data on the go. LIS which not only takes care of the process but also makes helps pathologists approve reports anywhere, anytime can prove to be extremely useful.

While these are some basic points that could help you with your LIS purchase decision, you may also want to check credibility of the partner and not insist on cost being the only factor for your decision as it could hurt your business, revenue and credibility in the long run.