sourceaditya: May 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

As a Doctor I want IT to enable….an Indian Doctor's perspective!

As we improve on our software products and work with more and more doctors, we see trends which make us realize where the Doctors see Healthcare IT taking them in the future. This experiential learning is solely focused on Indian Doctors and our interactions with them. Highlighted below are some key points which enlighten us how Indian Doctors view IT as an enabler and in which processes. In an ideal scenario I think the topic name would be the ideal blog post highlighting the same age old points of what aspects should IT drive in healthcare services, but this isn’t one as doctors like other people have their own skewed requirements.

To begin with let’s see what the ideal points in order of importance would be:
1. Computer Based Medical Records (EMR)
2. Clinical Information Sharing Networks
3. Clinical Decision Support
4. Administrative Functions – Accounts and Patient Profile Management
5. Computer Generated Prescriptions
6. Better Patient Communication and Care

But interacting with Indian Doctors over the last 4 years, we have had a whole different set of requirements and priorities. It is an eye opener in some respects and helps us shape our business to the market needs. In some cases though it is wiser to take the higher road and try to change the doctor’s perspective.

So what does this list look like?

1. Accounts and (Mis)-Management
Indian Doctors give a lot of weight to accounting in their Clinic or Hospital Practice Management Software; they expect the package to bill as per their requirement. What is more surprising is their customization to deduct on the accounts despite capturing the details. Being a predominantly cash business, this is an understandable request; however we do not parley with such requests. The software must help them track their inflow so that they know what business they are generating daily, weekly or monthly.

2. Referrals
Referring patients to specialists and other clinicians is a common enough practice the world over, but in India it takes a monetary angle. Doctors want to know how many patients they were referred and by whom, so that they can make the necessary payments back to the referring doctors.

3. Medical History
Doctors want to keep their patient information with them to help make better decisions. While doctors are still uncomfortable with decision support tools, they however are opening up to the fact that medical history can be extracted any time once loaded on the software. This is a good beginning to convincing a doctor those other aspects to can now be automated.

4. MIS Reports and Registers
MIS reports and registers are a commonly asked feature or requirement amongst Indian doctors. Sadly the uninitiated ones forget that data needs to go “in” first for it to be extracted. The reasons for the MIS reports are both noble (research purposes) and mundane (government filing).
The biggest challenge here is designing forms and data capture mechanisms which give better reports, there is usually a big disconnect, where doctors want their templates in one way and expect relevant data to be generated out of it.

5. Custom Designed Templates
Plus91 Softwares have been designed in such a way that we can offer custom templates to doctors. Doctors love this feature, as each one wants to design something as per their understanding and specification. While it gives added power to the doctor, in the long run this feature isn’t ideal for healthcare IT as a growing network as it promotes multiple standards.

On a different note things which we would like doctors to focus on in the future:
a. Clinical Decision Support
b. Computerized Prescriptions
c. SMS/Email alerts and reminders
d. Online EMRs
e. Claims Management

We think these will give a definite boost not only to the quality of service and efficiency of their practice but also in the long run improve profitability.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Improving your Patient Interaction and Outreach

Technology enables, but man disables by not taking advantage of opportunities given to him. A doctor today has many such key touch points to increase and consequently improve their interactions with patients. Some are simple methods, some require a little bit of work, but what is the end advantage of it all? For one thing it makes you popular amongst patients; side effect could lead you to more business. Second it helps educate and provide information to patients and people who may read just what they need thanks to you! A little help goes a long way in accumulating blessings. Third, contributing to the general knowledge resource of the community improves the very community you are part off, it encourages others to follow suit. So now what do you need to do?

1. Reach out to many in the general audience: Start writing, the internet lets you update and express views, either as 160 character bursts on twitter, or a long blog detailing your experience.

Twitter: On twitter you can start putting up bursts of interesting cases you see, new techniques you here about, information about your local medical network which may help people in your area! Go onto, register yourself and type away.

Blogging: Doing a lot of research which you think people should here about, or have an opinion which potential patients should here about, blog about it. Many people will find it online as they search for an information panacea for their problem and be happy to come across your blog.

2. Letting people contact you: For a start get a website. It helps you disseminate information about your services for people looking for the same. It isn’t advertising, it’s a service, people today face many choices and are hampered by lack of information, improving their ability to find information quickly is beneficial to them. On your website, don’t only talk about you, tell the patients more about what diseases and disabilities you treat, what are the latest treatments, generic advice and maybe even help them going to right person if you weren’t involved.

Use tools like interactive patient forms which can be filled before the patient arrives at the center, saving time and giving you a heads up on the patient’s needs. Use query forms on the website so that people can ask you about their problems, patients their doubts; this gives the feeling to your patients that you are available to them 24/7 without actually being there. Plus91 technologies encourages doctors to have their own websites through their initiative, we not only make but also advice and guide you through the process for best impact on your patients and potential clients.

3. Using Software tools: Use softwares which improve communications. Invest in software which doesn’t just keep your records and accounts. The software should come with communications tools integrated and can be used with ease. Emailing of schedules and reports to patients is a must.

The software should also allow using SMSes to send reminders, alerts, prescription reminders etc. This is a new level of service, and patients will be thrilled to know there is always an alert to give them confidence in their moments of doubt.

Online Medical records allow patients to access their records remotely, insist on looking at software which promotes this feature if not today, but at least is compatible with this extension in the future. Plus91 Technologies provides EMR and PMS software products which come coupled with email, SMS and online EMRs. We encourage doctors to use these services to improve their service quality. You can see our products on

4. Accessing data and messages on your phone: Today you may be using you phone to send SMSs, read emails and play games online. Why stop there, use it to drive business wherever you are. Neat and simple apps provide you fingertip information, coupled with your own website, or software they can become powerful tools in your hands to handle patients remotely. Access patient alerts via the phone or your actual software to pull up data remotely. Plus91 Technologies already has a suite of products and apps which can run on phone browsers.

5. Contribute to journals and medical website online: Numerous sources are present where doctors submit their stories, research and experiences. The medical and patient community will be greatly benefited by your inputs, a little effort online will show you exactly where you should be adding your data.

6. Using new cool online tools to make education interesting: Nowadays making a presentation, cartoon strip or a cartoon movie to help educate your patients or interested clients is easy. Many tools are available online which let you render very interesting collaterals that can help ease patient doubts and also make it fun. Tools like which we use to make cartoons helps in creating awareness in an educational yet informal way. Putting these up on your clinic facebook page or on your website is the best option.

These are just some pointers on how technology can help you as a doctor to interact with patients and also general public looking for information in your areas of expertise. It’s time to exercise your power using technology, so see you out there soon.