Quality is a continuous process as it involves assessing and aiming to improve a hospital’s functioning. The management committee should understand, brainstorm and commit to solve any problem that arises in the hospital and its efficiency. They should also verify, validate and enhance the solution and ensure that the solutions are being implemented in an appropriate manner. The implemented solutions are to be monitored to confirm its success.
MedPiper Technologies and JournoMed had conducted a webinar on January 28th, 2022 titled “Technology as an Aid to Hospital Quality Accreditation” to help the stakeholders understand the importance of technology in building smart hospitals. Expert speakers, Dr. Mervin Leo and Mr. Fareed Uddin Syed, spoke about the various ways in which the emerging technologies can further improve a hospital’s efficiency which will in turn boost the quality of the hospital and thus help with accreditation.
Dr. Mervin Leo is the Head of Emergency at Dr. Mehta’s Hospitals, Former Cluster and Chief Operating Officer at Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Hyderabad Region. Mr. Fareed Uddin Syed is a Certified External Assessor for National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) Government of India, MOHFW and a National Trainer on Bio-Medical Waste Management with the Bureau of Indian Standards.
Prescription errors, communication errors and patient safety are some of the common problems seen in patient care. “Quality of a hospital is giving uncompromised patient centric care even during disastrous conditions,” says Dr. Mervin. Written prescriptions can oftentimes be misinterpreted due to the illegible writing of the doctor. This leads to the patient taking the incorrect medication which is extremely dangerous. Dr. Mervin says that implementing electronic medical records and the option of epharmacy have helped to get rid of any kind of prescription errors.
Dr. Mervin also explains how patient safety, especially during post-op is extremely essential. Most of the post-op patients are weak and are on extensive medication, which makes them susceptible to falling and injuring themselves. The hospital staff can monitor the patients with the help of cameras and sensors that track their movement. Doctors can keep a tab on the glucose levels of high risk diabetic patients via Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) in order to know when they should administer insulin.
Hospitals all over the world have adapted Telemedicine which has helped to improve the quality of a hospital. Telemedicine platforms offer the options of remote patient monitoring, consulting with patients who are located far away and delivering medicines via epharmacy. Via telemedicine, doctors can attend to patients and provide timely healthcare.
Mr. Fareed states that the Digital Health ID and online registrations has helped to admit patients faster and offer early healthcare services. The Digital Health ID also provides the hospital staff and doctors to easily access their electronic medical records which will tell them about patient history including what medications/treatments that the patients previously underwent. While Medical Records can be maintained manually, it is a tedious process that is also prone to error. Proper medical records also come in handy whenever the doctor faces any medicolegal issues.
Healthtech helps to reduce time between sample processing and report processing which allows the practitioners to diagnose the patient’s disease faster. Technology implementation and automation can get rid of nosocomial infections and cross contamination of samples. With the help of Digital X-rays, the doctors can quickly determine fractures and other discrepancies as they do not have to wait for the film to develop. The doctors can also enhance and enlarge these scans and even send them to other colleagues at different locations for a second opinion.
Mr. Fareed even recognises some of the drawbacks in completely embracing technology in hospitals. Many of the senior doctors may not be tech savvy, or proper systems are not available. The technologies are costly and have an unstable safety profile due to cyber security. The management should make sure that the records are maintained properly. If there are any inconsistencies in the record it may make it difficult to obtain accreditation. The quality management team of the hospital should also ensure that the machines in the hospital are functioning well, keep an eye out for expired medicines and accordingly strategise digital health usage.
While telemedicine can be added as a quality tool, it is not in the checklist for accreditation. Adopting various technological advancements can benefit and improve the functioning of the hospital, helping with quality management and accreditation. Accreditation adds weightage to a hospital which helps to bring in more patients.