How a partner-managed cloud unlocks the benefits of 'hospital-as-a-service'
A partner-managed cloud unlocks the benefits of this service, says Peter Mills, Healthcare Deal Executive - Sales and Service Management at T-Systems South Africa.
* Modern 'hospital-as-a-service' cloud solutions present significant advantages over outdated systems.
* Hospitals are able to procure all technology as a service so that they can focus on their core business functions.
* Facilities are able to maximise patient care, improve profitability, and minimise risk/liability.
Across all developing economies, both public and private sector healthcare professionals are grappling with the challenge of providing quality medical care at an affordable price, says Peter Mills, Healthcare Deal Executive - Sales and Service Management at T-Systems South Africa.
Managing a hospital or clinic is certainly a tough challenge, as leaders must coordinate various healthcare disciplines and specialists, while minimising risk and liability, remaining up-to-date with regulation, and evaluating the latest trends and innovations in medical science.
Outdated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and previous generation 'Hospital Information Systems' often compound the challenges - hindering effective decision-making and leaving governance gaps, as well as exposing the hospitals to cyber security threats, revenue leakage and solutions that do not support a digital transformation journey.
But there are solutions in latest-generation, 'hospital-as-a-service' solutions: powerful cloud platforms that are managed and customised by your ICT partner. These platforms always remain current with the latest trends in technology within the medical sector, and position you for a future where big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will unlock new opportunities.
'Hospital-as-a-service' allows medical facilities to integrate every aspect of their operations into a single nerve-centre - linking up everything from admissions, to patient records, doctor engagements, theatre and specialist equipment usage, pharmaceuticals, billing, laboratory orders and results, movement of patients between radiology and the hospital and accurate medical aid case and claims management.
And as the world shifts towards a cloud-based approach of delivering and enhancing technology platforms, medical centres get the advantages of monthly licensed-based billing (an OPEX cost model). As there's no longer any need for large CAPEX-based technology investments, funds can be redirected to strategic assets such as theatre improvements, purchasing the latest medical devices, and hospital expansion to accommodate more patients.
So, just what are the advantages of 'hospital-as-a-service' platforms, over previous technologies? Some of the key attributes include...
* Improved quality of patient coding - which facilitates more accurate and efficient engagements with medical aids as well as optimising hospital revenue.
* Improved debtors' management and revenue collection - which is a major issue particularly in public healthcare.
* Bolstered defences against medical malpractice claims - due to detailed, digital records relating to every aspect of a patient's care.
* Reduced opportunity for materials theft and misuse - as proper authorisations and governance procedures make everything highly transparent for hospital leadership.
* Prevention of drug misuse - by having accurate, integrated records across healthcare facilities, it's possible to mitigate trends like the abuse of AVR scripts for use in the production of the street-drug Nyaope* or codeine misuse.
* Asset and plant maintenance - hospitals and clinics can get a crystal-clear view of every piece of equipment, its current operating condition, usage levels etc. (this reduces the opportunity for practitioners to take medical devices out of the facility for use in their own private practice, for example).
Perhaps one of the best examples that shows the power of partner-managed clouds in healthcare is the flagship Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, a beacon for public-private partnerships that address critical social challenges.
The hospital encompasses a broad range of specialist disciplines, including general paediatric surgery, cardiology, cardiothoracic, renal, craniofacial, oncology, haematology, pulmonology, and neurosciences.
By embracing 'hospital-as-a-service', the facility moved to a fully-paperless model that enables faster, more insightful decision-making, and consolidates all patient records into a single view (no need to access multiple systems).
With all patient information visible to caregivers at any time, patients receive higher-quality care, while management can reduce costs and serve greater numbers of children, based on the efficiencies that are generated.
And while it's certainly "not always about the technology", perhaps the most compelling advantage of adopting latest-generation cloud-based healthcare platforms is the effect that it has on operational thinking overall.
Having new tools at one's disposal stimulates new thinking about how to better organise and optimise one's hospital operations, to improve the flow of information between stakeholders, automate wherever possible, and ultimately to focus energies on providing the best possible care.