How Do Medical Technologies Affect Design Decisions?

Over the past few years, medical technology has evolved so much that it is now an integral part of the clinician’s workflow. The information received by the medical device is automatically sent to the computer for analysis by clinicians in real time.

The technology is used to diagnose and treat the patient, which allows you to make decisions much faster on how to care for the patient based on the information recorded by the devices.

Bedside devices, such as vital signs monitoring or artificial ventilation, are used by the attending physician or respiratory therapist to make treatment decisions.

This affects the design of medical facilities, as the equipment must be placed in the room in the best place. Previously, the situation was as follows: the equipment was in a special room, transferred to the ward if necessary and after use was returned to its place.

There is now equipment that is used throughout the treatment process. Thus, racks with equipment and facilities are placed in more wards, because the equipment must be near the patient.

When should technology be considered when designing a space?

As soon as possible. Once you have a clear idea of ​​the general purpose of the space, it’s time to think about medical technology, this can be done with the help of hospital management consultancy in India.

Because construction is very expensive these days, you can’t easily redesign space to accommodate a larger device or a new type that requires a voltage of 208 instead of 120. Changing orders kills a project, and viewing a project kills a schedule.

You need to decide on all the necessary equipment or at least the categories of devices at an early stage of design. We call this a technological vision that should emerge, perhaps, during the development of a master plan.

Will robots continue to be used in surgery and other clinical areas? What are the problems associated with this?

The use of robots in surgery is growing. Does it help improve treatment outcomes? There are studies that show that this helps reduce blood loss and faster recovery of the patient due to small surgical incisions.

But there are cost components to using robotic surgery that can make it unprofitable for a hospital. Robots have reusable components, i.e. surgical instruments attached to the ends of robotic hoses that can be used up to 10 times, after which they must be disposed of.

We should not forget about the cost of the service contract. It is rare for a hospital to have its own engineering department for the maintenance of surgical robots. Most hospitals that practice robotic surgery also have a service contract.

What are the issues with designing and planning a hybrid operating room?

Hybrid operating rooms are a complex environment because many different medical professionals use the same space, such as a cardiac surgeon, vascular surgeon, neurosurgeon, interventional radiologist, and others.

Each of them has a unique need for image processing systems that go in conjunction with a hybrid operating room – various consumables and other ancillary equipment.

The functionality of the room and its lighting are important. Many hybrid operating rooms use ceiling imaging systems. Each of the medical specialties has different requirements for the positioning of surgical lighting. When you have a C-arc that interferes with lighting, it can’t just be located anywhere.

From the beginning of designing a hybrid operating room, you need to start planning where the equipment will be located and who will use it, you can make this work easier by contacting hospital planners and medical equipment consultants.

How Architecture Can Support The Growth of Healthcare Organizations?

The negative effects of confined spaces and inanimate environments impair the health of staff and their work in general.

From the point of view of comprehensive care, the elderly are afraid to move into homes for the elderly. Quite often, medical institutions integrate a “home environment”, which creates coziness and comfort during the hospital stay, and promotes further recovery.

Creating a comfortable environment and a healing environment while adhering to complex treatment processes in health care settings, such as infection control standards, is possible if a carefully thought-out approach to building design and planning has been developed at the outset.

Creating an attractive exterior of the building, and providing access to nature, public transport, bicycle and pedestrian paths and park areas – is the most stable way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The introduction of a public space provides patients, staff and visitors with access to fresh air, natural light and flora. This is increasingly seen not as pleasant, but mandatory.

Significant exposure to natural elements leads to a reduction in the dose of analgesics, reduction of complications during the postoperative period and increase staff satisfaction. It is well known that the use of mental models reduces anxiety, worry and frustration in patients.

Although reducing unwanted stimulation factors, such as noise and vibration, is common in design today, maximizing desired passive stimulation is not, but can be very useful in developing healing environments in the hospital, for this, you should take help of top hospital consulting firms in India.

As per the studies, patients with direct and regular access to sunlight and nature recover faster and have fewer complications, similar positive results are also seen with direct and regular access to visual images of nature.

Cooperation with commercial and public partners.

Today, institutions care for people with more complex needs than 30 years ago. Despite the fact that the demand and use of medical services in different demographic groups differ significantly, a study by the Institute of Medicine shows that the demand for medical services for the elderly will increase significantly in the coming decade.

Adopting a health care model that includes points of contact with the public, retailers, and education enables an organization to address financial and human resources challenges by providing a comprehensive approach to social health and community well-being. To follow such a model, you can contact top hospital consultants in India.

Medical professionals are increasingly working with emergency departments, autonomous emergency departments or “micro-hospitals” in places with heavy traffic, such as shopping malls, grocery stores, pharmacies, and so on.

In response, traditional health facilities can keep up with the times and reduce the burden of growing demand by introducing retail systems to reduce operating costs, making pharmaceutical and medical services available to patients, residents and their families.

As a result, it increases the area of ​​the hospital, where you can create space for entertainment, education and training, places for families and special areas with animals.

Although appealing to the community to help develop direct health services is a new phenomenon, but real examples of this model already exist, albeit in relatively small numbers. Most health care organizations seeking to renovate or build a new facility are widely encouraged by community support and all sorts of new planning models.

Technological Advancements: A Tool For Making A Change In Hospitals

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The ultimate goal of hospital designers & planners is to create the best treatment environment and favourable conditions for patients.

There are many technologies available for patient safety that should be studied during the general planning, programming and design of the premises.

Each has different effects on processes, operations, medical programs, facilities, and premises planning, but they can all improve patient safety when properly implemented. For this, you can take help of hospital consultancy in India.

The design should take into account the following proposals for technological safety of patients, as well as their configuration in space and infrastructure:

Prevent the patient from falling. Solutions for “telesetting” using stationary or mobile cameras for patients have proven that they reduce the risk of falls.

In-room analytical video surveillance systems provide in-room cameras with sensors for beds, handrails and armchairs that send alerts to designated carers.

Considerations for location and infrastructure include long-term monitoring stations inside and outside the hospital, consistent with the overall concept of the health care system.

Involvement of patients. Telemedicine companies provide devices to interact with patients at home with individualized health care and drug management techniques.

It is expected that further development of these solutions and proactive applications will help maintain public health and brand commitment to hospitals. Space and infrastructure issues include connecting technological data to existing infrastructure and allocating space for further monitoring.

Active monitoring of the patient. Implanted sensors for remote monitoring provide personal health data in real time via a smartphone, creating new opportunities for monitoring health.

This innovation in the field of healthcare provide exciting health monitoring capabilities and influence the planning of a space for clinical staff to support and actively monitor patients.

Cooperation of the surgical team. 3D-printing of preoperative planning models allows all involved to work together before the premises are built, which reduces the number of errors on the site.

Although 3D printers only need jobs and work areas. Space and infrastructure considerations include an expanded surgical planning package to ensure preoperative collaboration and monitoring assessment that reflects clinical data and current patient imaging.

Virtual team care centre. The growing demand for telemedicine during the recent pandemic is staggering. New models of health care continue to evolve.

Remote monitoring with the patient’s mobile devices has also become widespread. This trend will require the creation of a virtual medical centre where physicians can remotely monitor and interact with patients.

Individual solutions will be needed that can be adapted for future growth in this area. Space and infrastructure issues will include new areas of virtual care technology, space and the building as a whole.

Infection control. All health facilities should consider reducing health-related infections with new technologies. When considering the costs of re-commissioning, these solutions usually pay off quickly.

For example, hand hygiene systems support infection control protocols and have been shown to significantly reduce infectious diseases.

To equip your medical centre or healthcare facility with all new technological devices, the best option is to go for hospital consultancy services in India, as only the experts in the field can provide the right piece of advice.

What Are The Precautions For Hospital Design And Planning?

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Designing a hospital is not only about making the hospital building look beautiful or bright, but also whether it can solve the problems encountered by patients in the process of medical treatment and affect the experience that the hospital provides.

In general, what the hospital design does is to improve the efficiency of the hospital and create a humanized healing environment that is conducive to the recovery of patients.

Hospitals are different from general house buildings and have certain special functions. The medical process that modern hospitals highly respect is a good answer to design problems. What exactly is process design? What does it have to do with the operation and management of the hospital?

Now, when designing and planning hospitals, best hospital consultants in India think about how to make such a physical space not only beneficial to the healing and rehabilitation of patients, but also to bring positive psychological feelings to the people in it.

The so-called medical process design refers to the graphic design made under the condition that according to the functional requirements of the builder, it must meet the requirements of the medical regulations and at the same time conform to the architectural design and interior design regulations.

In terms of the scale of construction, many hospitals lack a scientific grasp of the urbanization process of local urban and rural residents, resulting in hospitals that have not yet been completed or have just been completed and cannot meet the growing medical needs of local residents.

Patient needs influence space design

The functional requirements of the hospital, that is, to clarify the attributes of the hospital, such as a general hospital or a specialized hospital? Among the specialty hospitals, is it an eye hospital or a maternity hospital? Afterwards, target the audience.

With the help of daily outpatient volume expected by a hospital, basic data such as the hospital’s waiting hall and medicine collection hall, as well as the number of beds, can be inferred.

If it is a 100-bed high-end obstetrics and gynaecology hospital, the medical group it faces has a certain spending power, and it has a completely different positioning model, service model and medical space design from public hospitals.

Clarifying the positional relationship of various departments and setting them reasonably is a characteristic of medical technology, and it is also a difficult point.

The medical process design is like a butterfly effect. The failure to consider the preliminary design will inevitably lead to various problems in the follow-up work.

Familiar with the attributes of facilities and equipment

After understanding the functional space requirements of the hospital, the medical process design work has not been completed, and the humanized design of the space should also be considered before construction.

For example, if windows are installed on both sides of the building and the ward is set up, the corridor in the middle will become dark. The corridor should be illuminated regularly, which has a direct relationship with the materials on the ground and the lights on the top.

And this is why, it is important to contact hospital consulting firms in India before building or renovating your medical centre or hospital.

Introduction Of New Technologies For Patients At The Planning And Design Stage

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Today’s buildings are often more bizarre versions of the architectural models of the 1960s with a lot of technological equipment that was simply shoved inside.

In an environment consisting of several wards or separate units, the patient is moved from one place to another to provide care, instead of providing the full range of care in one place.

When designing, architects and designers focus on patients and health conditions, but it often happens that the newly built environment is not patient-oriented.

Technology is an area where patients’ attention is often forgotten. Designers spend time analysing the health benefits of daylight, improving treatment outcomes for patients and installing handrails that prevent falls, but “technology” is based on the fact that they are dealt with only by the departments of information technology and biomedicine.

The use of “technology” as a key element by the hospital consulting firms in India significantly improve building design and patient treatment outcomes. Architects and designers can really save lives by changing their vision of design technology.

Modern people are getting more and more susceptible to illness, because the improvement of the living environment “smudges” people’s physique and reduces exercise, and the good temperature and humidity environment of the workplace and living environment provides a “greenhouse environment” for people.

Limited budgets, complex health structures, rapid advances in medical technology, increasing demands on economic efficiency, competitive situations and patient-oriented care are the parameters by which a modern hospital must be measured.

Thinking outside the traditions

The COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged the community of healthcare designers to think beyond traditional design. In one year, the pandemic forced the use of new technologies and accelerated their implementation, which could take a normal period of five years or more.

Hospital consulting companies in India approve the rapid adaptation of the industry and the improvement of processes, and this will not be stopped.

Medical office and hospital projects should take into account the positive factors that the latest technologies can bring, including patient safety, improved treatment outcomes and overall return on investment.

Virtual care, building systems integration, infection control dashboards, predictive analytics, remote monitoring, mobile medical facilities, technology carriers, fall warning systems and real-time location solutions (RTLS) solutions are often overlooked or excluded from design as too expensive or futuristic.

Helping organizations incorporate them into the design process improves results by taking into account the proper clinical workflow, real infrastructure needs, and space requirements that are not taken into account.

Familiarity of medical organizations with current trends and opportunities helps them to think not only about how they provide care, by making informed decisions and comprehensive developments.

Technological strategies

It is believed that “form follows function.” This design philosophy is applicable to the technologies that underlie healthcare today.

Often, designers in the field of health care try to change the technology, rather than accept it as it is, so it is necessary to introduce a new approach, and consider the following areas.

Evaluation of existing technologies for additional security features. Healthcare facilities often have pre-installed technologies with capabilities that can be configured to maintain patient safety and safety protocols. Nurse calls, cordless phones, physiological monitoring, electronic medical records and equipment tracking systems are just some of them.

For example, integrating a nurse call system with medical equipment alarm control on caregivers’ cordless telephone devices can provide faster response times and avoid adverse events.

Inclusion Of Patient Safety In Hospital Design

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Informing healthcare organizations about emerging trends is a great way to get them to think about what they are doing. The inclusion of technological patient safety objectives in the design process at each important stage helps to ensure that they are not missed.

Technologies that ensure patient safety often seem expensive at first glance, but analysis and evaluation, taking into account the cost of re-hospitalization due to patient injuries, infectious diseases associated with medical care and other illnesses, usually show a rapid return on investment.

A comprehensive patient safety technology strategy should be developed at the beginning of the overall hospital planning process and continue throughout the project.

This approach will help explore new ideas for health care, such as the creation of a new “patient care centre” and a “health-oriented campus.”

The sharing of technologies, clinical operations, and patient experience functions needs to be explored. All this can be done by contacting top healthcare consulting firms in India.

Developing a secure ecosystem that brings together people (patients, families and staff), the environment (buildings and the space between them) and technology (leading to a constant flow of real-time data) can invent new operational methods that will provide better clinical performance and increased patient satisfaction.

It would be a mistake to assume that today’s buildings can cope with each and every need of the patient, and the question arises: how long will the health care industry wait before it abandons the modern design of health care facilities and reformulates its development?

In the near future, it could happen that sensors will be used to send patient health data in real time that will need an intelligent chip to monitor their well-being. It does not matter where the patient will be: behind the wheel, at home or in the hospital, because the flow of data about his health will be continuous and uninterrupted.

Ultimately, these strategic changes will affect the nature of the health care organization in its usual sense. This rethought environment will have the following characteristics:

  • It will no longer be called a medical office building or a hospital. For example, it could be a “wellness centre” with mobile medical clinic stations for those who can’t get to the building.
  • The place where patients will get before they get sick. For example, a wellness and training centre where patients can register (in person or virtually) to keep their digital counterpart.
  • An environment without standard departments will be developed, where narrow groups of specialists will work together. It will also be complemented by technology to interact with the patient during home treatment.
  • A place where patients do not wait. Technology will allow you to plan a visit in advance so as not to waste time.

Constant transition from personal to virtual

This includes a new virtual care module designed to give physicians more opportunities to provide virtual care to patients, rather than just cameras and microphones that are added to examination rooms.

For example, the addition of telescopic digital modules for individual lessons and larger spaces for medical teams to simulate rehabilitation measures.

Creating interiors that can be reconfigured at any time without destroying the construction infrastructure is a must and for giving advice on this topic top hospital consultants in India are here for you.

Health Infrastructure Planning: Identifying Project Requirements

The process of creating optimal hygienic conditions in medical institutions is determined by the peculiarities of land planning and development, arrangement and internal planning of buildings, their sanitary and technical improvement, as well as the sanitary condition during operation.

In planning a hospital, getting accurate data is crucial. There are no right solutions for everything and only from a deep understanding of the context, demographics, population served, the necessary medical disciplines or the already existing facilities of the environment, will it be possible to predict and develop an adequate functional program.

Different realities need different hospitals. The design of a centre in a rural environment or in a large urban agglomeration involves different issues, and designing for different countries will involve knowing the different realities of the local context.

In each country, it is possible to identify those common diseases or the most necessary treatments, which will help us plan hospitals that focus on the most serious local health challenges.

The architecture and planning of a hospital are of crucial long-term importance for proper patient care and functionality. They form the basis for optimal work processes and, in turn, minimize the workload of the hospital staff.

Hygiene, flexible work options and cost optimization play an important role in the design of workplaces, but they are not the only factors that play a role: patient and staff satisfaction is also key.

Arrangement and organization of treatment and prevention facilities, in accordance with hygienic requirements, make it possible to:

  • Create the best environmental conditions for patients;
  • Contribute to the introduction of treatment and protection regime;
  • Prevent the occurrence of nosocomial infections;
  • Facilitate the medical work of medical staff;
  • Promote the fastest recovery of patients and provide optimal conditions for the activities of health professionals.

After all, without proper hygienic conditions, therapeutic actions are powerless. As science and technology, including medicine, medical technology, and sanitary technology, are constantly being improved, deepened, and scientifically developed, hospital buildings are constantly being rebuilt and completed.

Investment costs for a hospital are unpredictably high. In rational business planning and economic field program, operating and personnel costs should be taken into consideration first, and all this could be done with the help of hospital consultants in Delhi NCR.

In the first phase of business planning, the builder, architects, expert planners and the hospital administration should meet together in order to minimize incorrect investment decisions and unfavorable operating expenses.

It is important that the architects cooperate with the administration and specialist engineers (hospital planners, hygienists) in dissertation.

The basis of business planning consists of equipment planning for construction, form, installation and construction system, medical technical requirements and equipment.

Hospitals are institutions that provide treatment and care for patients with severe and chronic complaints. Hospitals differ in the type, scope, area of ​​expertise and the size of the treatment equipment.

While hospitals were planned as medical surgical institutions in the past, it is emphasized that the institutions are made suitable for human beings with the new trend today, all thanks to healthcare management consulting in India.

Top 10 Telehealth Benefits And Challenges Concerning Hospitals

As hospitals look towards the “post-COVID-19” doom, they are shifting their focus to increase operational facilities and immediately create additional cost and workflow opportunities. The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” holds true now more than ever before.  

Patient care decision, dictated by necessary safety measures, has obligated hospital leaders to completely recalibrate how they address healthcare visits, pushing mobile-based solutions such as Telehealth, Home Monitoring, Virtual Waiting Rooms, and Virtual Visits; the list goes on and on.

As telehealth proves to be a cost-effective and safe beam of hope for the patient that would otherwise not receive care, it is also a solution for hospitals to give and deliver care amidst overwhelming public concern due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expanding access to care through telehealth seems to be a promising option for hospitals. Despite this benefit, however, there are still several concerns with the efficiency and implementation of a hospital virtual care program or Telehealth.

While there are many advantages to implementing telemedicine, there are some sound concerns as well as several misunderstandings. In this article, we will provide solutions to the top 10 concerns of hospitals considering telehealth maneuvering. The primary goal of this article is to provide resources and solutions to common telehealth challenges. 

  1. Patient comfort, adoption & retention concerns

A common myth among experts is the concern of an impersonal patient experience due to the virtual environment of a telehealth visit. It is often believed that because patients and providers are communicating through a video screen and that visits are smaller than your traditional in-person visit, a virtual visit will lack a feeling of human contact and cause issues with patient satisfaction. This is a myth; patients often have minor feelings of human connection during an in-person visit than during a telehealth visit.

According to studies, during an in-person visit, 64% of primary care physicians did not ask why a patient came in, and when they did, patients were interrupted within 11 seconds. But, virtual visits – especially those used in telemental health – often compel patients and providers to look each other in the eye. As well, the telemedicine platform can improve synergies for patients who aren’t comfortable seeing a doctor in person.

While there is surely a distance barrier and looking at a monitor can feel less human, there are a few practices that will help your patients feel as though they are speaking with a person and not a computer. 

  • Providers can build rapport with their patients by communicating with them. A simple question, “How are you doing?” can go a long way in building a human connection through a computer. Asking patient-centered subjects about their goals for care at the beginning of the visit can open a healthy discussion between provider and patient. If the patient is fresh to the virtual visit experience, providers can educate them by discussing the aspects of the visit and virtual care.
  • Making direct eye contact, actively listening, and not interrupting when the patient is speaking can all enhance the patient experience during a virtual visit. In addition, building a welcoming virtual care environment with quality telehealth-appropriate cameras, natural lighting, and room aesthetics can also improve the patient experience. 
  • If the patient is less familiar with initiating a telehealth visit, which is a common barrier for elderly individuals, providers should take special care to create an inviting environment and anticipate their needs, especially for individuals who lack proficiency with technology. 

By following these practices, you will make a considerable positive influence on patient engagement and the success of your virtual care program.

  1. Diagnosis & exam difficulties

While telehealth is suitable for a wide collection of care needs-from treating the common cold, flu, UTI, insect bites, sore throats, post-op check-ins, remote monitoring, and more. But, some situations require an in-person examination.

According to a study examining the effectiveness of consumer electronics within a telehealth exam, elements of the physical examination that are easily observed show great concordance, while posterior structures and elements that are difficult to observe using consumer communications technology limit the utility of the telehealth exam.

  • Providers should use their best knowledge and follow protocol to determine when and how to schedule an in-person exam. The clear advantage of a hospital- or clinic-implemented telehealth approach is the readiness to schedule an in-person visit when necessary. 
  • To lessen the impact on patients, providers should also be prepared to schedule the exam during the telehealth visit. Hospital- and clinic-based telehealth programs should develop a protocol for in-person exams, including scheduling, coordination, payment, and a contactless check-in. 
  • Providers will need to describe the aspects of the exam that will take place, follow-up considerations, and other preparations. For example, if a patient is coming in for a urinalysis to test for UTI, the provider might collect payment and any other information ahead of time to expedite the visit. 
  • Considering COVID-19 and other Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) exposure risks, clinics should also encourage patients to bring a mask and wait in their vehicles if their room is not available upon arrival. 

While translating a telemedicine visit to an in-person examination is not always perfect from a patient perspective, full communication about the scope of care and easing the check-in process will drastically minimize any negative impact.

  1. Quality of care & linking concerns

The top patient concern regarding telehealth is the low quality of care. There is not enough evidence to suggest that the quality of care given is lower for telehealth other than what may be derived from limitations of care. Given that telehealth improves access to care through lower costs and by meeting patients where they are, virtual care advances health care consequences. 

However, lack of data for care continuity has the potential to add risk as patient records may not reflect outcomes, treatment plans, and diagnoses from outside telehealth providers. This lack of platform unification between providers is common.

However, adding telehealth options within hospitals and clinics where patients receive primary care can eliminate this risk through interconnectivity within the Electronic Health Record (EHR). By using a platform that integrates with your EHR, you can record your practiced workflow and ensure your patients’ e-visits are properly documented and updated for future visits. 

In cases where this circumstance is unavoidable, the best solution is to request details of your patient’s latest visit and attempt to access their medical records to eliminate misdiagnosis and treatment risks.

  1. Clinician burnout

One of the top concerns for telehealth is physician burnout due to lack of face-to-face time with patients and increased time updating the patient’s medical records in the EHR. With packed days, high demand, and increasing burdens and complications caused by COVID-19, clinician burnout is certainly a major concern for healthcare systems and physicians. However, the rate of burnout is primarily a result of workflow inefficiencies. 

Telemedicine Reduces Provider Burnout, 42% of providers experience clinician burnout leading to poor performance, which can lead to medical errors. Telehealth can create greater versatility and day-to-day variety through telehealth days. Providers can see patients from their office or their home. This allows them to telecommute and save the total travel time. It proves to be a nice break from daily hustles. 

  1. Medicare & Medicaid reimbursement concerns

This is cited as a top challenge for telemedicine programs. The applicability of telehealth has been suppressed for years due to state and central reimbursement restrictions. 

Though there has been much improvement in recent years, before the COVID-19 pandemic, federally run Medicare coverage had many limitations on how coverage could be applied. Earlier, for instance, Medicare billing requirements mandated the telehealth visit must take place within a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and at an authorized originating site, such as a physician’s office, hospital, or skilled nursing facility.

This has completely destroyed any advantage of telehealth as a home option, virtual care visit, and reimbursement was only applicable to specific Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes.  

 With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily expanded Medicare reimbursement and applicable services to expand telemedicine options. This expansion allowed Medicare to pay for visits regardless of location, including within a patient’s home and allows for a wider range of providers to offer virtual visits. 

Medicaid has been less limiting. While most states do reimburse for live telehealth, relatively few states cover store-and-forward or remote patient monitoring telehealth. It is a good idea to check your specific state laws and policies. 

  1. Telehealth limitations & regulations

Today, health care providers may, in good faith, provide telehealth services to patients using remote communication technologies, such as commonly used apps – including FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Skype – for telehealth services. Furthermore, the established patient with a physician requirement is no longer required, which means a physician can see a new patient and still receive Medicare reimbursement during this public health emergency. 

  1. Privacy & security concerns

As telehealth is a virtual bidirectional interaction between providers and patients sharing health information, there is an understandable concern regarding potential privacy breaches, particularly for patients. Providers should ensure patient-provider trust by maintaining strict standards in safeguarding patient privacy and security. When communicating electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI), it is critical to use a system to monitor these conversations and prevent breaches.  

 Providers should seek a compliant communication platform that will have encrypted data transmission and allows only authorized users to access ePHI. It is essential to consider all potential threats to the integrity of ePHI, particularly virtual environment changes or end-user risks.

For example, if a provider or third-party contractor is working from home, connected to a hospital network, it is important to ensure that they are fully protected against potential cyber-attacks. 

According to studies, VPNs are one of the most common, secure, and strong methods for connecting remotely to an enterprise network. However, organizations have been failing to patch core vulnerabilities found in some of the most recommended VPNs, despite repeated warnings and available patches.

For patient end protection, consider executing two-factor authentication to add more protection against cyber-attacks and have a detailed plan to address security and privacy concerns and take measures to protect patient security and ease potential apprehension. 

  1. Program awareness Affairs, Sustainability & Growth

Growing efforts and sustainability are both top concerns for any new hospital venture; however, there are some strategic practices to consider before beginning a successful telehealth initiative.

The best methods to establish a virtual care program in an existing hospital includes placement within a specific area of the building, such as near the ER or out-patient check-in, to positively impact the promotion of the virtual care program through physical exposure, shared responsibilities among the providers, care managers, nurses, front desk staff, and schedulers in actively promoting telehealth as an option to current patients.  

  1. Technical Training & Restructuring Obligations

Restructuring and learning new methods and processes in preparation to implement telemedicine within a hospital is a labor-intensive endeavor.

There is a need for the characteristics and roles of a clinical telehealth champion who pushes the implementation and virtual care program forward.

The four distinct core components and roles of each telemedicine team: Core, Leadership, Advisory, and Implementation are also needed. Within Telehealth Staff & Care Team Roles & Responsibilities, there must be five cross-compatible roles among existing clinical staff to structure your new virtual care team. You must know the methods to prepare your team and evaluate your program to ensure a smooth patient experience. 

  1. Hospital Integration & Implementation Concerns

Implementing and integrating a virtual care option within a hospital may seem a daunting process. However, proper structure, planning, and alignment with the organization’s purpose will facilitate implementation within a tighter timeline.

Providers can start by creating a business plan that outlines the scope of the project, helps determine its efficacy, and steers the next steps. It is important to impersonate your business plan to key stakeholders and discuss the elements and challenges ahead to gain buy-in.

The providers must ensure to discuss their service plan assessment, financial plans, marketing, and optimal placement strategy, organizational structure, security, patient satisfaction concerns, and training framework openly to address any potential gaps and gain momentum.  

While there are still some limitations on telehealth, many healthcare providers are innovating to solve these issues and improve their patients’ access to quality care. Now that you know some solutions to the concerns of telehealth, you’re ready to start thinking about how your practice will approach this booming healthcare trend.

What Are Challenges That Organizations Often Face When Preparing For Accreditation?

For any healthcare organization, getting accreditation means getting recognition for its performance standards, by a national accreditation body (NABH) or international accreditation organization (JCI).

It means that the organization has managed to meet the stringent standards at various levels set by the body, which is an independent external peer.

Accreditation is a testimony to a healthcare organization’s commitment to improve the safety and quality of patient care, ensure a safe care environment for patients, and continually work towards reducing risks to patients and staff.

The following are the challenges needed to be successfully overcome by the team to achieve accreditation.

  1. The dearth of Core Team

The core team must include the representatives of Clinicians, the Nursing team, Quality, HR and training, Engineering, microbiologists, Housekeeping, Front Office, F&B, MRD & Pharmacy, etc. The detailed gap analysis across various departments concerning the objective factors of accreditation standards is to be carried out by the core team, in tandem with functional heads. The core team shall get the full support of the higher management to accomplish the tasks & achieve desired standards for the organization.

  1. Procrastination and Inconsistent Processes

Most departments do not have written and practiced SOPs. Before beginning on the journey to accreditation, the core accreditation team needs to overcome the major challenge to break the inertia and ensure that the SOPs must be prepared on time by each department. There must also be a Cross-functional team for audits of each department to check the compliance with the SOPs. Implementation of the SOPs at the ground level is the key to the success of getting accredited which is achieved by intradepartmental training.

The audit observations, gap analysis, and gap closure are linked to the key result areas of a department & to ensure minimum non-compliance. 

  1. Unsafe Environment

The organization must work on improving the hospital infrastructure to ensure a safe environment for patients and staff.

  • The adherence to national building codes on fire norms.
  • The bilingual signages should be reworked.
  • The air condition, laminar flow in OT shall be reworked; HEPA filtration & OT direct excess should be controlled.
  • The air-conditioning design shall be for negative pressure in the isolation room.
  • Patient safety devices like nurse call units, care of vulnerable patients need to be tested for their functionality before submitting an accreditation application.
  • Patient Safety Goals should be achieved.
  • The organization must host proper meetings of all the relevant committees with precise documentation.
  1. Improper Documentation

The major issue to be worked on is the mistakes in documentation, like unsigned treatment orders, incomplete discharge sheets, and medication orders. The top administration needs to understand the sensitivity of the problem and address the issue. The resident medical officers play a critical role to reduce these errors. The checklist must be created to check patient files and a team of medical officers must facilitate the activity both at the ward and medical records office. 

Also, the fortnightly/monthly CMEs for clinicians can be conducted to emphasize documentation and capturing of conflicting events, near misses, and sentinel events.

  1. Untrained Staff for Emergency Preparedness

The training department must identify both, hospital-wide (FIRE, BLS, Patients Rights & Responsibilities, etc) and department–wide (e.g Nursing –BMW, Hand Hygiene, NSI, Spill management, etc) training needs. The trainers for each activity need to be identified and mapped in the training calendar. Classroom training and hands–on training for emergencies shall be conducted, and feedback of the same must be critically evaluated and presented to the core team. 

The biggest hurdle is to get employees to attend training sessions during duty hours. The challenge becomes intense when occupancy increases in the hospital. The constant motivation from departmental heads and the HR team can help overcome this challenge.

The mock drills on fire, community disaster, code blue, and spillage of bio-medical waste involve a team effort. The cohesiveness in the team shall be achieved after repeated mock tests.

  1. Lack of acceptance of Data-Driven Approach

Accreditation pushes a healthcare organization towards a data–driven approach as quality indicators/metrics like surgical site infection and patient satisfaction index are captured and analyzed by committees. The challenge is to capture correct information regularly, undiluted by human interference. 

As in many cases, the acceptance of data and arrangement to work towards the betterment of metrics by functional heads is a challenge. The top management initiative in quality improvement activities can help the hospital to move towards the journey of perpetual improvement.

  1. Partial implementations of Laws and Regulations

The list of regulatory compliances includes obtaining and renewing pharmacy, lift, and blood bank licenses before accreditation. Also, before filing for accreditation, the hospital needs centralized tracking of all these.     

The legal department should take initiative to put systems in a position to track all regulatory compliances. The departmental heads shall start sharing all documents with the legal department and management on priority.

  1. Inconsistent Work

The timeline is very essential to attain accreditation. There is a fixed duration to correct the non-compliances after the pre & final evaluation by the accreditation body. There must be a hunger and enthusiasm to do the perfect quality work on time in all the employees of the healthcare organization. The core team shall continuously support the employees to move ahead in this process.

  1. Having Misconceptions regarding Accreditation

 All stakeholders must know that Accreditation benefits them all.

  1. Patients get benefited because–
  • Having a high quality of care and safety.
  •  Services are given by credential medical staff only.
  •  The rights of patients are respected and protected.
  •  Patient satisfaction is regularly evaluated.
  1. Staff is benefited due to continuous learning, good working environment, leadership, and above all ownership of clinical processes.
  2. Health care organizations get benefited due to stimulated continuous improvement.

Accreditation also demonstrates a commitment to quality care. It raises community confidence in the HCO services. It provides the opportunity to the healthcare unit to attain the benchmarks and an objective system of empanelment by insurance and other third parties.

Accreditation also provides access to reliable and certified information on facilities, infrastructure, and level of care.

10. Inadequate Inventory Control Measures

Considering the large number of stores across the healthcare organizations, and drugs and consumables kept in each sub-store and patient areas, it is a major challenge to identify expired and near expiry drugs. The joint audit from the central store and user department on regular basis must help reduce the error. 

Overcoming these major challenges besides others like sustenance of facility/equipment, medication management, and nursing care, is essential & may help the hospital secure accreditation.

This is possible with the commitment of all stakeholders – the management, the team members, and the out-sourced employees. They must understand and know what the accrediting body is looking for, how to read and interpret the accreditation standards, and know what are the benefits of getting accredited.

This will help them to work towards it with better focus and enthusiasm. If you prepare well and have adequate project management you should be able to avoid these challenges and secure your accreditation.

Why Health Care System Planning is Important in Healthcare

health care equipment planners

As the demand for healthcare is increasing, the importance of health care equipment planners and health system planning is also increasing. However, the healthcare industry is quite complex to understand because it’s always changing because of technological advancements or government mandates.

Therefore, hospital space planners play a crucial role to provide success in the healthcare organisation. They help you make various effective strategies plan in healthcare like: 

1. Strategy Planning

Strategy planning in healthcare allows organisations to envision their future and to prepare accordingly. With the help of strategic planning, hospitals can expect certain unfortunate scenarios before they occur and take necessary precautions to avoid them.

A strong strategic planning in healthcare can be proactive rather than merely reacting to situations as they arise.

2. Prospective Strategy

Most of the large health care organisation develop through plans to prepare for the future issues that could affect their facilities and the health care field at large. The prospective strategy potential needs additional resources, such as capital and personnel. It allows flexibility in case of unforeseen developments occurs in the health care sector. 

3. Emergent Strategy

To run health care successfully involves a restrictive analysis of events to make better decisions in the future. To do so, there is a demand for implementation of the emergent strategy of new health care policy, swings and prescription drug prices and the outbreak of epidemic diseases can cause health care market inconstancy that needs provides to continually experiment and adapt. 

4. Functional-Level Strategy

The functional-level strategy develops strategy at every level and aiming at increasing health care services during the facility’s expansion that consider the additional hours for current staff members who need to work before new professionals can be hired. In simple terms, if administrators plan to engage more resources to a different department in a health care facility.  

5. Advance Strategy Planning

The advanced level strategic planning in health care organisations helps health care to achieve objectives and optimal standards of patient care. The strategy provides a better understanding of health care strategy to help design, analyse and implement that may need advanced education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

A well-thought-out health care system planning with proper execution can improve teamwork, build employee engagement and develop performance liability. All levels of strategic planning help to achieve the long-term goals of the organisation.