Adapting to a new normal – Contactless and Digitized Hospitals in the future

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Covid-19 can spread from any kind of contact with an infected carrier and this carrier does not necessarily have to be a patient. In order to tackle this problem, we need to minimize contact and the way to achieve it is by strengthening the digital technology to go contactless.

During the last couple of months of doctor’s discussion gatherings, there have always been questions around creating a safe practice environment, but there has been no straightforward answer yet.

Let’s recap: What we know about Covid-19 is that it can spread from contact with an infected carrier and this carrier does not necessarily have to be a patient. A hospital comprises of multiple staff including nurses, doctors, and patients. That would assert that any of them could potentially spread the infection from one to another, if infected, albeit only by contact.

Digital Technology will pave the way

In order to tackle this problem, we need to minimize contact and the way to achieve it is by strengthening the digital technology to go contactless. Digitization inside a hospital would minimize human as well as surface contact and would go a long way in educating patients about a safe environment in a clinic/ hospital. Only if necessary, interaction with different stakeholders shall be done inside a hospital and objects such as pen and paper would be used sparingly. Multiple modalities of digitally communicating with each other as well as maintaining adequate notes and records are possible.

Why doesn’t digitization get accepted widely across healthcare organizations, albeit yielding so many benefits? The challenges are numerous.

Myth: Digitization = Complex Technology Solution

Consider Digitization; what crosses your head? A complex solution involving months of integration? Even in this smartphone era, we put an outrageous price to technology; some of it is determined by the technology providers and some of it by the hospitals for whom digitization means nothing less than a something straight out of a science fiction movie like The Matrix!

Myth: Technology could drive Behavioural change

In this process of adding more than the inherent complexity, we forget the end users aka the caregivers. You rarely come across people enquiring “Could the technology be easy for the doctor to use and adapt?” But if the user cannot adapt to technology, we might be setting it up for failure.

User Shall Not Change

With all leverage presented by technology, there will regardless be people, ready to hijack your digital agenda. You must have sighted caregivers inside a hospital who would prefer listening to news or watching video forwards rather than trying out new advanced technology.

Let’s reimagine digitization,

  1. Thinking and focusing on one problem at a time
  2. Designing the simplest yet the most effective solution
  3. Involving negligible behavioural change from the end-user

Now let’s apply these principles to the one problem that can create the largest impact i.e. the power of focusing and solving specific problems at hand with available digital tools that will create out-of-the-box advanced solutions driving user adaption organically.

A live case study to break down the point:

The problem statement:

During Covid-19, physicians and healthcare providers are undoubtedly our first line of defence.

Going contactless is the secret mantra and digitization is the key to reduce the stress on the already stretched manpower. How does one do that in a simple yet effective way?

Designing the simplest yet most effective solution

Think smartphones as the core of the solution. Imagine a scenario where your smartphone could digitize your notes, without you touching it multiple times.

Involving negligible behavioural change from the end-user

The solution is digitized, contactless, and low-cost and with minor behaviour change at the caregiver’s end.

Congratulations, you have now successfully designed a simple way to digitize doctor’s notes, track patients, and ensured better care delivery than even the pre-COVID world.

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