Gaia

Hospitals and healthcare providers need to consider longer term efficiency impact: Gaia

The immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic threw healthcare supply chains in disarray.

Gaia is a provider of AI + IoT SaaS solutions for managing smart workforce, smart workflows, and customer experience. Here, Ms. Amrita Chowdhury, Director and Co-founder, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQINDIA Online | dqindia

Ms. Amrita Chowdhury, Director and Co-founder, Gaia

DQ: In terms of technology usage, what are the current challenges and opportunities in India’s healthcare system?

Amrita Chowdhury: Healthcare is a primary and essential segment for both corona and non-corona related medical services. However, healthcare delivery, in India and globally, is poised for disruption. Even before the Covid19 pandemic, digital transformation of the healthcare segment was being considered to enable digital patient experience management and seamless delivery of services at every patient touchpoint through integrated solutions. The current pandemic, after the immediate term, will only fast track this transformation. 

In India, the challenge is slightly greater due to fragmentation of healthcare systems and low current levels of digitalization in the ecosystem, notwithstanding certain early adopters. The challenge gets further exacerbated because any solution needs to be delivered with India-conscious complexity at India-conscious value for money.

The immediate aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic threw healthcare supply chains in disarray. Countries around the world realized that they were reliant on global supply chains for critical medicines, equipment, and supplies. Furthermore, healthcare providers realized that they need to manage critical resources efficiently at national, city, and healthcare facility levels.

Inside facilities, staff and resources need to be optimized in real time to ensure the right care is given at the right time to patients. Furthermore, the need for localized access to healthcare services is becoming attractive to patients. There is acute awareness amid service providers and patients that safe practices and spaces are critical.

Covid-19 may fundamentally challenge the culture of organizations – how we distribute work and deploy workforce, and how we engage our people and our customers. In the longer term, this situation may present an opportunity to think about how we elevate communications, create a more resilient workforce, build more focus on health and well-being, and enable critical trust and engagement between the business and its customers.

DQ: How is Gaia’s interconnected healthcare model helping in efficiency, quality and productivity?

Amrita Chowdhury: Healthcare systems and hospitals are dynamic and complex spaces where medical care needs to be complemented with a seamless orchestration of non-medical staff, assets, processes, and services to deliver quality care. Our modular Digital+AI+IOT solution stack enables healthcare providers to measure, monitor, and improve service metrics. The solution consists of several elements. 

Following things that we need to ensure include:

Workforce management to enable seamless delivery of tasks and services
Real-time location tracking for staff and assets
IoT-based monitoring of critical systems and spaces
AI-based optimization for dynamic task allocation
Dynamic service orchestration for event driven and data driven workflows
Cognitive workflow automation for data led optimization, alerts, and escalations
Visual command centre dashboards for data analytics and data driven decision making and service delivery optimization
Hygiene monitoring to ensure sanitation safety service levels.

Together, these elements improve efficiency of operations, quality of care, and productivity of staff and assets. In turn, they help deliver better patient care and over the long term, optimized cost of healthcare delivery. 

DQ: What are the existing digital adoption barriers to ensure quicker and controlled patient as well as manpower engagement?

Amrita Chowdhury: Healthcare delivery has relied on manual human-aided orchestration of services and staff to manage healthcare operations and patient care. The biggest barrier to adoption is mindsets and change management, rather than technological.

Today, technologies are seamlessly integrated, easy to deploy, and driven by value-conscious principles. Hospitals and healthcare providers need to consider longer term efficiency impact to aid decision-making and leverage management driven vision to ensure change management, adoption, and capability building at every level within the organization. 

From the patient perspective, the reliance on human connection has been important. However, given widespread adoption of digital and social tools, along with the new pandemic led “social distrust” which is already moving many industries towards contactless processes, patients would be open to adopting digital processes and systems.

Hospitals need to ensure they implement systems, solutions, and dashboards that will enable them to meet the changing patient requirements and comfort with digital systems. 

Several well-known hospitals have been early adopters of Gaia solutions for service orchestration and manpower management, and we expect greater digital transformation in hospitals once the immediate pandemic related considerations subside.

DQ: How can analytics be used for more accurate and consistent patient feedback?

Amrita Chowdhury: Hospitals need to understand patient experience at every care touchpoint from OutPatient Departments to InPatient Rooms, to the overall Exit Process. Several procedures and illnesses may require follow-ups or the hospital or doctor or nurses to remain in touch with the patient over an extended period of time. 

Patient feedback can be used to measure, monitor, and manage care metrics at every touch point over time. Comparative analytics can be used to compare performance by shift, by time, by staff, by ward, by service type.

Comparative analytics can be used for a single hospital, or compare multiple hospitals in a network. Over time, it can be linked with staff performance and motivation, as well as patient engagement and recovery management. 

Several hospitals have adopted patient feedback monitoring as a standalone mechanism or integrated into hospital workflows, and we anticipate more hospitals to consider these in the future. These solutions bring 100% increase in visibility and 30% or higher improvement in productivity almost immediately after deployment. 

DQ: What are your views on managing facilities better in a social distancing world?

Amrita Chowdhury: Social distancing is creating the competing pressures of managing facilities with fewer staff and managing facilities to a higher level of hygiene and sanitation safety standards.

Given this, workforce and site optimization will be critical. Digital, IOT, and AI based tools will enable hospitals and healthcare systems to manage sites, spaces, equipment, assets, and staff better. 

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