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Prashant Jhaveri, Head Products and Strategy, Medi Assist, recently discussed the importance of technology in patient care in a world where patient experience is becoming as critical a barometer as the quality of care”. This is what he had to share.

“As we gravitate towards a world where patient experience is becoming as critical a barometer as the quality of care, it is easy to see why technology is today a doctor’s best friend.

Technology for patient experience

There is a remarkable shift in the manner in which doctors engage with their patients. Doctors actively list their services on online portals and use social media for better outreach. They are comfortable with the idea of patient ratings and evaluation based on credentials, infrastructure, vicinity, cost, etc.

Hospitals use ERP systems to manage their business efficiently. Most network hospitals eschew faxes and emails to send patients’ pre-authorization requests and have adopted online platforms to manage cashless claims management online.

The advent of features such as eCashlessTM reduces wait time for pre-authorization at the hospital by as much as 90%. Patients can also request a provisional preauthorization from their mobile app, choose their preferred room type and get green channeled into their room on the date of admission. These go a long way in improving the patient experience at the time of hospitalization.

Technology for cashless care

Improving access to high-quality care and improving patient experience will continue to be the thrust areas of the future. However, another important dimension will come into play in the years to come – cashless care. Cashless facility is today mostly geared towards in-patient hospitalization. But as insurance products mature, cashless medical care will soon cover outpatient expenses and spend on medicines as well.

In the near future, patients will book their appointment for a consultation online, state their policy number in the request, make a payment for non-medical expenses via a payment gateway and carry their appointment confirmation and policy e-card with them to the medical centre on their mobile phone. They will be green channeled into the consultation room where the doctor will already have access to their e-records to review case history and latest statistics from their wearable device. After the consultation, the digital health records will be updated automatically with the doctor’s notes and prescriptions. The digital prescription for the medicines, also covered under the insurance policy, will directly reach the pharmacy. The patient will collect the medicines and leave the hospital after a truly cashless and paperless experience! Building a healthcare service providers’ network that is ready for this exciting future is the need of the hour.

Technology to deliver healthcare to rural India

Cashless facility outside the realm of in-patient hospitalization is also critical for the Government to implement the Universal Health Coverage program. In fact, managing health benefits for a large, diverse and populous country like India is no easy task. Technology plays a critical role in Government programs that provide health cover to millions of indigent Indians across multiple states. Biometrics-based e-cards for beneficiaries, paperless admission and claims management at network hospitals, SMS- and mobile app-based claims tracking for beneficiaries, integration with government systems for utilization tracking and MIS reporting, data analytics that empower government decision makers to derive intelligent insights from the enormous amounts of data collected from across the nation; technology must necessarily be at the heart of any initiative to administer such significant public healthcare schemes.

The time is ripe for all stakeholders in the healthcare industry to innovate and, importantly, collaborate with each other to utilize a common technology platform that can give Indians seamless and potentially cashless access to high quality healthcare anywhere in the country.”

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