Contactless and Digitized – The Future of Hospitals in the Times of COVID-19 All of us know Covid-19 can spread from contact with an infected carrier and this infected carrier could be anyone, not necessarily the patient. The answer to tackling this is simple, minimizing contact and the way to achieve it is leveraging digital technology to go contactless
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In the last couple of months, we have been a part of quite a few doctors' gatherings. While there have been different themes during discussions, there have always been questions around creating a safe practice environment during these times, and there is no straightforward answer.
Let's take a step back in the journey. All of us know Covid-19 can spread from contact with an infected carrier and this infected carrier could be anyone, not necessarily the patient. A hospital has multiple staff, nurses, doctors, and patients. Any of them could potentially be infected and the infection could spread from one to other, albeit only by contact.
Digitization is the way to Contactless
The answer is simple, minimizing contact and the way to achieve it is leveraging digital technology to go contactless. Digitization inside the hospital would minimize human and surface contact and would go a long way in telling patients about a safe environment in a clinic or hospital. Interaction with different stakeholders inside a hospital shall be done only if necessary and surfaces such as pen and paper should be used sparingly. There are multiple modalities of digitally communicating with each other and maintaining adequate notes and records.
If digitization could yield so many benefits, why doesn't it get accepted widely across healthcare organizations. The challenges are multiple.
The Myth: Digitization Means Complex Technology Solution
Think Digitization; What comes to your head? Is it a complex solution involving months of integration?
Even in the smartphone era which we are in currently, we put an exorbitant price to technology; some of it is driven by the technology providers and some of it by the hospitals to whom digitization means nothing less than a scene straight out of a science fiction flicks like The Matrix!
The Myth: Technology should drive Behavioral change
In this process of bringing even more inherent complexity, we forget the end users – our caregivers. You rarely come across people asking – "Would the technology be easy for the doctor to use and adapt?". If the user does not adapt technology, we might be setting it up for failure.
Thou Shall Not Change
And finally, with all leverage offered by technology, there will always be people, ready to hijack your digital agenda for reasons best known to them. You must have seen caregivers inside the hospital who would rather prefer listening to news or prefer watching video forwards rather than trying out new technology.
So now reimagine digitization,
Think and focus on one problem at a time
Design the simplest yet effective solution
Involving minimal behavioral change from the end-user.
Now apply these principles to that one problem that can create the biggest impact. The power of focus and solving specific problems at hand with digital tools will create out-of-the-box innovative solutions driving user adoption organically.
A live case study to make sense of whatever said earlier.
The problem at hand
In these times, physicians and healthcare providers are our first line of defense battling this pandemic.
Going contactless is the mantra and digitization might be the key to reduce the stress on the already stretched thin manpower. How does one do that in a simple yet effective way with minimal change?
Design the simplest yet effective solution
Think smartphone at the core of the solution. Imagine a scenario where your smartphone could digitize your notes, without even touching it multiple times.
Involving minimal behavioral change from the end-user
The solution is digital, contactless, and inexpensive and with minor behavior change at the caregiver's end.
You have now designed a simple way to digitize doctor's notes, track patients, and ensure better care delivery than even the pre-COVID world.With some of these technologies, the world would be infinitely more ready to "create a new normal' instead of "adapting to the new normal'.