From electrical fittings at homes and offices to education and meet ups, everything around us seems to be getting smart these days. But the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us well that if one thing we need actually smart in our life, it is healthcare. The dwindling infra of hospitals and other healthcare centres were out in the open when the second wave of the pandemic took its toll on mankind, but have we made a headway since then? Are our hospitals now prepared to tackle any similar medical emergency? Does the answer really lie in smart hospitals?
Before we delve into these questions, we need to first understand what exactly a smart hospital is. “Many continue to misconstrue that transformation of a hospital into a smart hospital is all about integration of tech-powered tools. While there’s no rebutting the fact that tech-enabled software and hardware do play a critical role, a real smart hospital is one wherein the pain points of all stakeholders – patients, doctors, medical & non-medical staff as well as the management – are resolved through end-to-end automation, digitization and deployment of adequate expertise in each domain. Also, there needs to be coherence between the functioning and services offered to the aforementioned stakeholders as well as different departments, for they are often interrelated or interdependent. We would like to add here that Avisa Smart Hospitals is the first to introduce and create chain of smart hospitals across India and UAE,” explains Dr Raja Dutta, the Director and Co-founder of Avisa Smart Hospitals, which is one of the few frontrunners converting a number of standalone hospitals into smart hospitals.
When asked as to substantiate the same with an example, he added, “For instance, when a patient undergoes a diagnostic test, the result of it once ready should automatically reach mobile phones of the patient and the doctor while getting uploaded on the EHR or HIMS. Similarly for OPD purposes, the patient should just need to enter the hospital, scan a QR code from a kiosk and proceed for doctor consultation with minimal human intervention. Furthermore, the doctor should prescribe required tests and medicines on an E-Prescription instead of pen and paper, so that it remains accessible for the patient anytime and anywhere. It is the development of such healthcare ecosystem that manifests a smart hospital.”
For the unversed, Avisa Smart Hospitals has within a significantly short span converted more than five hospitals across various cities in India, namely Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Jalandhar and Ludhiana, and UAE into smart hospitals through end-to-end automation, digitization and deployment of skilled resources. Talking about how it helps in smooth functioning of hospitals, Dr Dutta said, “Adopting end-to-end automation and digitization resultantly leads to the transformation of all services that constitute a hospital. From diagnostic, pharmacy, OPD to In-patient services, every experience gets transformed for all participants involved. While there is no hassle of crowd management for the staff members in case of increased influx of patients, the patients get the option to register themselves remotely and have control over the services they intend to avail. If we talk specifically about IPDs, the bed turnaround rate of a hospital speaks volume about its prowess and when a hospital gets smarts, the same improves drastically for hospitals across scale and size. The crux of the matter is that the foremost boon of being smart is maximization of output across different disciplines and domains. Speaking about the future, there is no qualms in saying that it seems very bright. For instance, more than five hospitals across different parts of India and UAE are already becoming smart by collaborating with us, and we expect the number to grow at least four-fold by this year end.”
He further talked about the correlation between the mayhem unleashed by the pandemic and the inception of Avisa, saying “The inception of Avisa Smart Hospital is essentially a thought-after answer to the pertinent questions about healthcare that reared its head during the first and second waves of the pandemic. We have developed our models and offerings on a need-based proposition after due diligence and study of the various pain points plaguing the healthcare system. We firmly believe that what makes a hospital smart is the availability and use of meaningfully interconnected systems and devices to deliver optimal patient care. We have developed an 'Operate & Manage (O&M)' model, in which Avisa joins forces with the hospitals to take over their complete operations, management, and deploy combination of software, hardware along with a team of experts. The hospital staff is trained for more meaningful tasks rather than scheduling calendars and crowd management. We have dedicated wings for all departments, such as Avisa Smart Hospitals, Avisa Smart Pharmacy, Avisa Smart Labs & Diagnostics, and in addition to it we have also introduced an Avisa Smart HealthApp, which enables multiple services and an IOT-enabled Smart Mini Lab that conducts multiple tests.”
Explaining it further, he said that as the name suggests, Avisa Smart Mini Lab is a smart POCT solution for rapid diagnosis with accuracy and efficiency. The portable health monitoring system can conduct 30 major tests instantly, generate results digitally and saves the same automatically in an app as well as the Hospital Information Management System. It is extremely useful in case of remote patient monitoring and home care as well, for real-time data can be shared with doctor for suitable precautions and treatments. It is capable of doing all vitals including 12-leads ECG with 30+ rapid blood tests which includes fever panel, lipid profile, Serum protein, sugar testing etc. Further laying emphasis on the need of digital touchpoints, he added, “We have developed an app for all patient-related services called AVISA Smart HealthApp, which is in fact India's first infinite healthcare app. The app enables all hospital and allied services including doctor consultation, lab tests, booking medicine online, ambulance booking, financial services etc. there is also an inbuilt mechanism to reach out to Avisa Customer Care in case of any issue. It Avisa Smart HealthApp is essentially a one-stop platform for all healthcare needs.”
When asked as to the aftereffect of the pandemic on the healthcare system and the headway made since, he said that “whatever we discussed till now is relevant especially in the context of the new normal propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic. The mayhem of the second wave in 2021 is still fresh in our mind when all of us were left scrambling for essentials and adequate healthcare services, had no clue about bed availability and nobody was even bothered about OPD services. The learning from the same and the lacunae that stood exposed called for immediate overhaul of the healthcare system in the country. Though a few have taken steps to fix the gaps, the progress has certainly been quite gradual while it needs to swift and rapid, considering that a fight against an unforeseen medical emergency is not something to be ruled out.”
Notably, Avisa Smart Hospitals has expanded its footprints in UAE by opening its first state-of-the-art offshore office in Dubai and bringing on board Hamad Taryam Al Shamsi, a senior official from the Ministry of Health of Northern Emirates, as a Director.