sourceaditya: How much should I spend on technology for my practice and my patients? A Doctor's Dilemna

Monday, October 25, 2010

How much should I spend on technology for my practice and my patients? A Doctor's Dilemna

Ask any doctor this question and he or she will give varying degrees of numbers, but all will unanimously say they are willing to spend. So what can a Doctor spend on to improve practice and patient service? Before we examine that lets break down what qualifies a good doctor in terms of attributes other than his or her personal attributes and knowledge.

a. Doctor should have a clean clinic
b. Doctor should provide the patient with his or her medical record
c. Doctor should be able to recollect or see the patient’s history at each visit to give accurate treatment
d. Doctor should be able to provide proper bills and receipts to the patient for the service deemed
e. Doctor should be able to communicate with the patient or another Doctor, his notes and views in case the patient is travelling
f. Doctor should be reachable by the patient in times of emergency
g. Doctor should be able to communicate changes in clinic, timings, services etc to the patient and other stakeholders
h. Doctor should educate the patient on every disease, treatment or procedure as and when required
i. Doctor should take proper consents from the patient before any procedure or treatment
j. Doctor should have all records and accounts properly maintained for the clinic
k. Doctor should adequately reach out to the general public to educate them about his or her clinic and services
l. Doctor should not have an over-crowded waiting room and have a proper appointment system
m. Doctor should give proper instructions on steps to be done by the patient and also a clean legible prescription.

These I think any doctor will safely say should be a must. Off-course there are many things that can be done which can be considered extra or out of the way, but nonetheless those who wish will do them.

So to do the above things in a proper manner what are the things that should be looked at?

1. Having a good clinic or area of practice. It should be neat, clean and inviting.
2. Medical Records with patient history for the patient and also kept with you are a must
3. Prescription which you can access and the patient understand is needed
4. Tracking patient appointments and visits
5. Means to communicate with a single patient or all of them is a whole is also vital

So what are the cheapest ways to this?

While I can give you the conventional methods which seem that they are cheap to do the above things, in the long technology does provide majority of the answers.

• Software can improve your clinic area and make it paperless and uncluttered
• Software can help you maintain all your patient records, history and accounts
• Software can help you give out legible and accurate prescriptions
• Software can help you track your patient appointments
• Website can help you communicate with your patients and vice versa in a simple effective way

So a good software and website does help the Doctor improve their practice. Anyone saying “NO” is simply trying to fool themselves. So then why are doctors so wary of investing in them?
Because they are scarred, either they think they’ll get fleeced or they may not get the desired value out of their investment. A lot in fact are happy in their world and don’t want to change. Too bad the world around them is changing.

Any good investment or quality service comes at a price. Service and Security come at a price. There is a reason why the public hospitals are still trusted in India, they have quality due to the sheer man hours put in by the Residents, Honoraries and Teaching staff. Software companies too similarly put in hours of work into a good product. The end result comes at a price, in this case a value attached to the service that is being provided. We at Plus91 value what we are making in the EMR and Website space. It is time doctors realize this and invest accordingly.

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