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Category: Blog

08 Jun 2016
Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Laboratory

6 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Laboratory

Among many things that you do right in your laboratory there are many that you don’t. In this post, we list down 6 things most laboratories are doing wrong. Read on and check if you would like to eliminate any from yours:

1. Not Having a Strict Maintenance and Calibration Schedule

Laboratories deal with high-end equipment’s and they will have to undergo calibrations and maintenance. More so, in an automated laboratory, well-calibrated equipment’s are a must for error free results. A huge chunk of your operations cost is these calibration and maintenance costs. Keep processes in place for periodic checks of your equipment’s; this will help you avoid big maintenance and bigger costs. Get your laboratory manager/ head to keep an eye on the end dates of calibration and maintenance contracts. Get into AMC contracts; a maintenance job here and there everyday will cumulatively cost you much more than an AMC.

2. Ignoring Small Pilferage

Pilferage don’t just happen in the form of accounting or missing material from stores, it happens in much smaller forms too. The cumulative impact of this may in reality be much more than the financial or material pilferage. Tighten your security; your infrastructure should have least number of outlets and your operations team should do extensive training. Nothing works like the sense of ownership.

3. Lack of Multi Task Training of Staff

Manpower shortages from time to time need to be tackled smartly. Training majority of the staff to perform tests of different sections in the pathology would help reduce the overtime costs for the lab as well as cover up for the manpower shortage efficiently. This also in-effect keeps your operations moving smoothly during attrition since a multi task trained workforce can continue to operate till you find suitable replacement.

4. Not Using Your LIS Completely

You had contemplated the use of every feature on the software before buying the Lab Information System. You may even have got the vendor to add a few for your lab, but your operations team may have ended up using just the data storage and search/ find feature of the LIS. The software was custom designed for your lab so that every feature available is used and makes your processes efficient, cost effective and patient centric. Make sure that the software is used effectively and manual intervention is discouraged.

5. Not Having a Pre-analytical Check Point

An efficient pre-analytical checkpoint is a very important crossroad before the actual pathological test. It will mean one additional manpower doing nothing but checking what the sample collection counter has assigned to the laboratory sections to test, but this will hugely help in avoiding wrong test results due to human errors as well as help in reducing the time wasted on wrong samples.

6. Not Having a Color-Coded Identification of Samples

The vacationers containing samples can be color-coded to identify whether it is a single test sample or a shared one. This will help in reducing time wastage in searching for shared samples, which in turn will lead to efficient use of manpower thereby speeding up the whole process and affecting TAT positively.

Acquiring an LIS software is not enough, make sure that the entire team uses the software efficiently so you can reap the benefits of automation.

28 May 2016
Hosipital Information System Vendor

How To Select The Right Hospital Information System Vendor

Pointers on choosing the right HIS Vendor.

Automation of your hospital processes is a daunting mission to undertake. While the hospital management can try everything within its purview to make this change a success, a major factor is the IT partner working with you on this project. Choosing the right vendor for your Hospital Information System (HIS) is the first step towards making hospital automation a runaway success.

In this post we list out for you the key steps in the process of selecting the right HIS vendor.

1. Brain storm

Before embarking on the project to find the best HIS vendor in the market, pause to do some brainstorming. The hospital management should be clear about what they want from the software. Make an exhaustive list of ‘Need to have’ and ‘Nice to have’ features. These will help form the base for comparison between various HIS vendors.

2. Contact HIS Vendors

The Internet is the easiest way to identify the top Hospital Information System (HIS) vendors and contact them. Most of the good ones will have a good responsive website with sales query forms. Go to their websites and fill up the form. Most of them have a dynamic process to follow-up on sales queries and they will get in touch with you. Go with your list of ‘must have’ features and start asking for demos from the ones who are able to answer your queries and concerns clearly.

3. Check for Specialty

If you are an Ophthalmology, Ante Natal, Dialysis or any such specialty hospital, ensure that you choose vendors who have worked with your kind of specialty before. They should understand and have a product with workflow that is customized for your specialty.

4. Take a Thorough Demo

Be prepared for an online demo. It’s the best and one of the most common method to validate the product specification against your needs. Keep your list of major pain points and concerns handy and ensure that you get a complete understanding of how the software can help you plug these problems.

5. Clarify about Customizations and Scalability

No software will come completely made as per your requirements. Customization will be an inevitable part of your journey of automation. Clarify whether the HIS software can be customized as per your hospital workflow.

6. Go for Growth

Keep the anticipated growth of your hospital in mind while buying new software. Cloud based software is the best option given that it protects you from technology obsolesce and is easily scalable. Cloud based Hospital Information System (HIS) also saves you a lot of money since you will not need to invest on expensive servers and resource to maintain and manage it. Make sure the software you are buying has scaling capabilities as per the projected growth of the company.

7. Check about Integration

Choose a vendor who can integrate the software with your existing ones so you don’t have to re-invest. You may already have a lab that is automated and you want the new HIS to integrate with it seamlessly. This will help make the process of integration easy for you.

8. Unhide the Hidden Costs

If you are satisfied with the projected features and customizations in the software, analyze costs. While evaluating the costs consider, all the costs that will be part of buying and maintaining the software. Ensure that the costs related to customizations, post-sales training, documentation, installation, annual maintenance cost, annual renewal costs, updating costs and the taxation is all clearly spelt out in the commercial proposal.

9. Check Credentials, Certificates & Referrals

While evaluating a Hospital Information System vendor, be sure to do a background check on the company you are finalizing. Look for their current customer base and prominent brands they have worked for, customer testimonials in their website, the profile of their leadership team and industry recognition.

Going for a new hospital information software is a Change Management challenge. Make sure you are prepared for it and are able to transition smoothly and painlessly.

23 May 2016
Benefits of a Lab Information System

9 Benefits of Lab Information System That Every Modern Pathology Lab Needs

Big Benefits of Using a Lab Information System / LIS Software.

Laboratories have come a long way from being tucked away in a corner of a hospital or being dependent on a couple of practitioners for their survival. Labs are now considered to being centers of excellence and one of the highest sources of revenue.

With the emergence of evidence based medicine, the importance of accurate diagnostic results in patient care is critical resulting in increased pressure on labs to perform efficiently.

It is a well-known fact that replacing human tasks with technology improves performance significantly especially in the area of healthcare and is responsible for fast gaining popularity of Lab Information Systems (LIS).

Here we look at the top 9 benefits of Lab Information System :

Track samples in real time

The Sample Workflow Manager in Lab Information Systems (LIS) automates the sample handling process as soon as the sample is collected and bar-coded, allowing the technician to track samples in real time.

Save time

One of the most time consuming process is the sample transfer that involves registering the samples to be sent out from the collection center and re-registering after receipt at the processing center. A strong Lab Information System will have a unique batchsheet-based sample tracking model, wherein a single bar code is assigned to an entire batch of samples being transferred to the processing center.

Focus on critical reports

Pathologists and doctors approving reports can save significant time with unique auto-authorization feature that automatically approves reports with normal values. Only reports that have abnormal values are sent for doctor’s authorization saving significant workload and time.

Manage logistics efficiently

The efficient logistics management solution in LIS assigns unique barcodes to each sample and notifies the processing centers as soon as the samples are registered at the collection center, making it possible to allocate resources, reagents and material even before the samples reach the processing center.

Eliminate human error

Labs can exponentially improve efficiency by integrating lab equipment and devices on a single secure platform. This allows data to automatically transfer from the device to the Lab Information System, eliminating laborious manual effort, saving time and reducing human error.

Save lives

Every minute is precious when it comes to handling test reports indicating values that pose a threat to a patient’s life. A good LIS includes a unique panic alert solution that allows the system to send an automated alert to the referring physician. This allows the doctor to take action on their critical patients immediately, serving as a lifesaving function.

Increase revenue

Powerful MIS dashboards make financial, operational, inventory, test and lab based reports available in custom formats. An effective lab information system helps lab owners mine data, crunch numbers, create trends and projections to track metrics and maximize revenues.

End pilferage and unnecessary spending

Advanced inventory module can help automate purchase through predictive reordering and expiration alerts. This will help end pilferages, eliminate wastages and cut unnecessary costs.

Scale business quickly

Growing lab business becomes simple with Lab Information Systems (LIS). With Cloud-based LIS, opening collection and processing centers becomes easy, taking only a few hours when the master data is available. Lab owners can manage all the centers on a single, secure platform while they function independently.

Be it error free reports, speedy results, better lab management and utility of consumables, benefits of lab information system cannot be overemphasized. Embrace LIS to expand your business, process more samples, and increase your revenues dramatically.

20 May 2016
Marketing tips for hospital

8 Effective Marketing Tips for Your Hospital

Use these simple, cost effective marketing tips for your hospital to make it the preferred choice for patients.

Hospital marketing is challenging to say the least. You can’t really inspire people to come visit a hospital. You know they won’t. However, you need to increase your patient base to do justice to all the investments you have made on your hospital and subtly marketing your brand is the key. We share with you some tips that will help you create a brand awareness with minimum investments.

8 Subtle Marketing Tips to Create Awareness about Your Hospital Brand.

1. Get A Responsive Website

The first thing most potential patients will try to do is go through your website (until and unless it is an emergency and your hospital happens to be the nearest) and find out as much about your hospital as possible, online. So don’t just build a website that displays information about your hospital and your team, but focus on giving patients useful health information to take better care of themselves and their family. Good idea would be to talk about preventive care.

2. Use Social Media Well

The world is on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the likes are the virtual places where you can reach to create brand awareness with potential customers as well as attract good talent. Appearing on social news feeds often will go a long way in keeping you in the mind of the users. Interesting posts keep people interested. And people remember useful tips and their source.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of SEO

You know your potential consumer is going to hit Google, right? When your potential patient searches for best healthcare practice you want your hospital’s website to pop up on the first page. That is what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) does. Get your web developer and content editor to focus on SEO keywords. Hire a SEO consultant, you do not need a full time employee on your payroll for this.

4. Stress on Internal Marketing too

That’s right. Every employee of your hospital is your spokesperson. Get your HR Head to make the employee experience at your hospital great and get them talking good things about their hospital.

5. Give Patient a Chance to Say Wow

Branding is not what you tell your customers, it’s what they tell each other about you. Enhance patient care, and they are sure to remember it for a long time. Give them care and attention and they will speak for you. Get your Operations Head to work towards giving the patient an exceptional experience. Nothing works better than Word of Mouth.

6. Shoot Emails

Emails are effective. Get your IT team to maintain a subscriber email list and share helpful informative emails based on the patient’s illness. It tells your patients that you care for them even after they leave your hospital. Maintaining communication with useful, helpful and high value information is key to building a good hospital brand.

7. Showcase

Get your good work out there as testimonials, videos, patient stories etc. Post on your website, post and re-post on social media, show it on the LCDs in the hospital waiting areas. Talk about break through treatments in interviews, conferences and public forums.

8. Automate your operations

The patient and the family is already stressed when they are in a hospital. Make their experience simple and easy by using a reliable Hospital Information System (HIS). This will make a world of a difference in the experience right from registration to patient discharge. Another pain point for patients is the way hospitals manage health insurance claims and settlement. Using a robust revenue cycle management solution (RCM) would play an important role in taking the stress out of hospital insurance claims management.

Show your patients and the society in general that you care about their health and well-being and you really do not want them to reach a stage where they have to go to a hospital.

18 May 2016
How to Eliminate Prescription Errors

4 Ways to Eliminate Prescription Errors

Simple things you can do right now to eliminate prescription errors.

As practicing doctors, you may be aware that medical errors are extremely common in hospitals and clinical practices. These errors could either occur during the writing of the prescriptions or due to unintentional and inaccurate medical decisions, ultimately harming the patients.

A few years ago, the Supreme Court of India ruled against a large hospital,passing a verdict with the highest penalty till date on them. One of the points that was held against the hospital was a prescription error caused by the treating doctor.The ruling held the hospital management responsible for the error, basically communicating that what a doctor does to the patient in hospital premises is responsibility of the hospital.

The point of bringing up this incident is basically to bring to light a couple of important points:

  • Prescription errors can be extremely damaging to both hospital and patients
  • The management of a hospital is also held responsible if it happens in their premises

Faults in dose determination, omitted transcription, poor handwriting & misinterpretation are common sources of prescription errors, and they occur more commonly than you think.

Here are 4 process changes you can do immediately to contain prescription errors right away.

1. Include Drug Allergies and Reactions in Pre-Assessment

Pre-Assessment is the first documented point of interaction between a doctor and a patient. Make sure both your OPD assessment sheets as well as the IPD pre-assessment sheets have a section on drug allergies and reactions.

Make it a mandatory SOP that residents should obtain this information from the patients/attendants and ensure this is logged in the patients’electronic medical record

2. Include Medication Sheet as an IPD Record

Assess your IPD record sheets and include Medication Sheet as a mandatory part of IPD records. A Medication Sheet is a log dedicated to drugs – prescription, administration, monitoring and documentation. Make sure that the Medication Sheet has a prominent field for mentioning drug allergies and reactions and make it mandatory to fill up this information. The sheet should contain drug name, dose, frequency, special instructions, drug administration confirmation and reactions to drugs.

However, using an electronic information management system can completely eliminate the chance of an error at this stage. A central log for medicines on the hospital or practice management system will give the doctor a complete picture of the drug history including the current medication and allergies or reactions. This will help the doctor foresee some drug interactions and a possible prescription error can be prevented.

3. Maintain an updated High Risk Medication List

Get a high risk medication list made by your Pharmaco-Theraphatic Committee and make sure that it is updated from time to time. Make this list available to all your doctors and at all nursing stations. Also ensure this is easily accessible in your practice management system.

Doctors can consult this list in case of any doubt about the risky nature of any drug and the possible reactions or interactions it will have within the body. Till the list is developed, get your doctors to use to counter check any drug that they are doubtful of prescribing.

4. Track Medication Errors

Make tracking medication errors, on a monthly basis, compulsory. When the management starts taking medication errors seriously and investigating them, the prescribing errors will automatically start coming down. Medical audit around prescriptions will also help. Emphasize the importance of medical audit around prescriptions among your doctors.

Using electronic medical record system and automating your practice with an intelligent information management solution will not only make your operations more efficient, they will also reduce prescription related errors and other human errors dramatically.

Start implementing these and watch your system transform. To know more about how you could reduce prescription errors in your practice, click here.

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