The healthcare sector in India has of late increasingly faced critical resource constraints. The scarce health resources and infrastructure of the Indian healthcare establishment was out in the open as the pandemic dealt its second blow, especially when it came to bed availability in a hospital. Now with the fear of a third wave looming over us, we need to take stock of how the sector is preparing itself for any future eventuality. One way of doing it right is by expediting bed turnover rate, which involves a number of paper-based processes.
This obviously suggests that the key to speeding up the bed turnover rate is in digitizing the paper-based processes. Be it about updating the bed vacancy status or seeking multiple approvals from different specialties like Cardiology, Urology, Endocrinology, Neurology etc.
According to Srini Dokka, Vice President (Sales) at MSB Docs, a startup recognized under the central government’s Start Up India programme that has helped one of the leading hospitals in the national capital improve its bed turnover rate, “Over the past year, hospitals have seen too much burden in terms of patient influx due to the pandemic. There have been instances when even while beds were vacant, paper-based processes and absence of proper authorization kept patients awaiting beds in limbo for long hours. With paperless solutions, the hospitals can and have been able to update the vacant bed status on a real time basis.”
He further said that when hospitals are paperless, a floor in-charge can update bed vacancy status instantly using authorized eSignature for communication to the front desk. There is no need of running from one wing to another to update the status manually, thus saving both time and lives.
“The process of discharge summaries can also be expedited using Digital and Electronic Signature solutions. There is no need for nursing staff to manually move files for approvals across different departments. All doctors and medical professionals concerned can access discharge summaries digitally and approve the same with Digital Signatures while the summary can later be acknowledged post receipt by the patients using Electronic Signatures,” said Srini Dokka.
But is this enough? Fact remains that to improve bed turnover rate effectively, hospitals also need to digitize several allied paper-based tasks, such as insurance, billing etc. Nishant Gupta, Founder and CEO of Gurugram-based boutique hospital Medharbour, believes hospitals going paperless can be a lifesaver. “Earlier usually the average stay of a patient cycle took nearly three days while the same is possible within two days by alleviating paper-based processes. Doctors themselves now want patients to get discharged sooner in their bid to ensure minimal hospital-borne infections.”
He further said that “if the paperwork is digitalized, there would be no or shorter queues for insurance and billing purposes. This would eventually help patients save at least 6-8 hours, spent merely in the discharge process. Chances of errors are also reduced majorly as there’s no chaos from the floor nursing station to the final billing counter. Also, there is no scope for medical negligence as all information like medicines prescribed by doctors are stored digitally and easily accessible by nursing staff.”