Digital Healthcare

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Digital Health Is Inevitable

Digital Health Is Inevitable 768 487 Exist Software Labs

Like most businesses, the strategies adopted by hospitals and clinics seem self-serving.  Yet oftentimes, the one that successfully brings a good business return in investment, are those that put the customer both front and center. Despite reluctance, digital health is one of those strategies that will greatly empower patients and drive innovations as well.

Improving healthcare access remains elusive and the Covid pandemic has made it even more difficult. The demand for care services is unlikely to dip.  For healthcare providers, adopting innovative strategies like standardized digital practices can create efficiencies and improve service deliveries that will lead to savings which could help drive costs and make care more affordable. 

As if to belabor the point on the fragmentation that has long plagued healthcare, Reddy, and Jannsens write, “the Covid-19 crisis has prepared the ground for widespread adoption of digital healthcare solutions” that requires a fundamental rethinking in the use of digital platforms around key themes that include:

      • Information transparency.  The use of health registries to create a single source of truths for all stakeholders especially the patient reduces administrative burden as well as to enjoin patients in managing their medical care proactively.
      • Interoperability.  Holistic not siloed. Disparate patient records will remain an age-old problem as long as records remain in paper making collaboration and standardization of care difficult and costly. 
      • Claims processing.  One word. Fraud. Transparent systems that support faster validation make a whole world of difference for the operations of care providers.
      • Change from episodic to wellness-oriented care; from service-based to value-based healthcare.  These two healthcare ideals deserve an article of their own but to simplify, these are about preventive health maintenance (prevention cost way less than cure) and results-based care incentives (better, not unguaranteed, care outcomes)  both of which disrupt the payment model.

Overall, digital platforms will change care delivery models, like how telemedicine has abruptly transformed the patient visit.  The world is looking at unprecedented change caused by this pandemic and healthcare players will have important decisions to make if they are to survive, thrive, or perish in this new normal.

https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/digital-health-mission-a-200-billion-opportunity-ndhm-will-greatly-empower-patients/2095337/

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The Next-Level Gameplay in Healthcare

The Next-Level Gameplay in Healthcare 768 487 Exist Software Labs

The healthcare industry is experiencing an immense paradigm shift as the world battles against the global health crisis.

Such turn of tides pressed health institutions and other concerned parties to rethink how they will carry out their duties, both to achieve more efficient outcomes and to curtail the spread of the unseen virus. In Asia alone, governments are implementing measures differing from one another, which results in contrasting ramifications, both successful and unsuccessful.

The Philippines’ Department of Health recently issued the Administrative Order 2020-037 or the Guidelines on Implementation of Local Health Systems Maturity LevelsThe order aims to provide local health units with a health information management system that can support the needs of all health care providers in the Philippines during and even post-pandemic. Among the maturity indicators is an EMR system integrated with a telemedicine service.

An account wherein a person snip-snaps on the idea of consulting to a medical professional during this dire time in the health sector is not an untold tale. The pandemic sparked fear of going outside the house, more so, of going to health facilities possibly packed with infectious pathogens.

Virtual visits through telemedicine should now be an option, especially for patients with chronic diseases and those living with immuno-compromised individuals, babies, or senior citizens. Moreover, telemedicine also helps with real-time tracking and monitoring of possible asymptomatic virus carriers.

According to healthcareitnews.com, nearly 80% of cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, and respiratory physicians said that their use of virtual care technology had increased during the pandemic. More than half of which are not using telemedicine before the crisis. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of them said they would continue to use virtual care technology in the future.

The above data clearly shows how COVID heightened the demand for telemedicine services and will continue to support healthcare providers beyond the pandemic. It delivered on its promise of reducing person-to-person transmission, relieving the burden of the overworked care providers, and providing easier access to quality healthcare for patients who cannot meet their respective physicians.

Different countries around the globe have seen how telemedicine can help in reducing the threat/effects of COVID. Indonesia, for example, declared a shortage of protective gears and medical practitioners, with only three (3) doctors for every 10,000 Indonesians, and limited healthcare facilities. The government of Indonesia then directed its citizens to telehealth firms who can offer verified medical guidance, provide consultations via telephone or text, and prescribe medications and have them delivered to the patients who need them.

Vietnam, one of the few Asian countries to manage the COVID threat, also launched its first official telemedicine application as part of its valuable tools/gears in fighting the pandemic.

These case studies show how technology, particularly telemedicine, serves an important role in the global health battle. It is no longer just a band-aid solution but an inevitable future, that although in-person visits have their fair share of benefits, embedding telemedicine as an integral part of healthcare is a must-have level up – an upgrade that all care providers must consider.

 

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2020 09 28 telemedicine p2 blog 768x487 1

What You Need to Know: Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages

What You Need to Know: Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages 768 487 Exist Software Labs

If you are not aware yet, the practice of medicine is in the midst of a reckoning forced by a global pandemic with every response designed to reduce the risk of viral transmission. While telemedicine has been around for quite some time, only now has it become less of an option but more of mandatory service. Read below to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of telemedicine for patients as well as providers.

Telemedicine, or telehealth, is medical care that you can receive digitally often via video conferencing that replaces seeing a doctor in person.

Benefits to Patients 

      • Convenience and Access: The benefits of telemedicine include reducing geographic barriers, improving access to care, cutting down on travel time, and preventing the spread of illness. Even if you live near a doctor, telemedicine can be more convenient than traditional office visits. It eliminates travel time, cuts down on waiting rooms, and allows for more flexible scheduling outside of regular office hours. Telemedicine improves access to medical care especially those with limited mobility, such as people with a spinal cord injury or neuromuscular disorders.
      • Prevents the spread of infection or illness: More people are opting to use telehealth services now because it limits potential exposure to infection. This can be especially useful for those who are considered high risk, like the elderly population or people with pre-existing medical conditions
      • Telemedicine allows for easy management of chronic illness: With remote patient monitoring, some chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can be more easily managed. For example, some patients can use at-home devices – like blood pressure cuffs, digital scales, and blood glucose monitors – to record vital data that can be digitally transferred to your doctor.

Benefits for healthcare providers

      • Keeps business of providing medical care in business: It’s not just the commercial establishments that are bearing the brunt of a business downturn during the pandemic. Even care institutions are negatively affected by COVID19.  Having to deal with the surge in patients in reference to the adequacy of personnel is well documented. But other than treating infection cases, the need for other medical specializations services plummeted.  Telemedicine enables these providers to continue the medical practice. Providers who offer telemedicine services may incur fewer overhead costs. For example, they may pay less for front desk support or be able to invest in an office space with fewer exam rooms.
      • Additional revenue stream: Clinicians may find that telemedicine supplements their income because it allows them to provide care to more patients.
      • Less exposure to illness and infections: When providers see patients remotely, they do not have to worry about exposure to any pathogens the patient may carry.

However, telehealth can’t completely replace in-person visits for chronic or special medical conditions. Someone with diabetes will still need an annual in-person eye exam and patients who just had surgery will need to be personally seen to check for progress.

Telemedicine has limitations and may not suit every person or situation. Compared to traditional care methods, a doctor cannot “feel” the patient (think abdominal examination), which is why traditional office visits must not be abandoned, but rather supplemented through telemedicine.

The following sections look at some disadvantages for patients and healthcare providers.

Disadvantages for patients

Not all patients can be a good fit for telemedicine. Some drawbacks of this include:

      • Securing medical data: Increased chances of hackers and other criminals to be able to access a patient’s medical data, especially if the patient accesses telemedicine on a public network or via an unencrypted channel.
      • Urgent Care delays: When a person needs emergency care, accessing telemedicine first may delay treatment, particularly since a doctor cannot provide life-saving care or laboratory tests digitally.

Disadvantages for healthcare providers

Healthcare providers may also face some drawbacks associated with telemedicine, including:

      • Technological issues: Finding the right digital platform to use can be challenging. Also, a weak connection can make it difficult to offer quality care. Clinicians must also ensure that the telemedicine program they use is secure and fully compliant with privacy laws.
      • An inability to examine patients: Providers must rely on patient self-reports during telemedicine sessions. This may require clinicians to ask more questions to ensure that they get a comprehensive health history. If a patient leaves out an important symptom that might have been noticeable during in-person care, this can compromise treatment.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/telemedicine-benefits#disadvantages

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Telemedicine is House Call 2.0

Telemedicine is House Call 2.0 768 487 Exist Software Labs

It used to be that doctors were the ones doing the consult visits and by the patient bedside performing a medical consultation.  In modern times, these were replaced with the patient’s going to doctors’ offices and interaction was now happening across the desk. Factoring infection risks and patient comfort, telemedicine provides a necessary alternative — one which may soon become the norm.

The trip to the doctor, a rather uneasy experience for most people, suddenly turns to be a thing of the past.  The threat of COVID has put everyone on alert that even periodic out-patient visits have to be second-guessed in light of the risks. Unsustainability and population growth have put an end to doctors doing house calls in the same way that the threat of infection prevents people from showing up in clinics or hospitals.

Regardless of one’s attitude towards the use of technology, it is without a doubt that it has been part and parcel of the way that the practice of medicine continues to evolve.   Lab equipment and imaging machines aside, medicine and technology go hand in hand and would continue to do so. Right now, it teams up once again to bring the patient and the doctor together via a screen display.

While there are certain situations where a personal visit is warranted, the use of telemedicine presents a valuable tool in limiting the risks, especially in today’s pandemic.  Though talking to a screen would seem to replace the warmth of face-to-face interaction, the cold reality is that telemedicine provides each participant with a level of comfort by being in familiar surroundings.  Truth be told, it is probably not telemedicine that makes this interaction awkward because talking virtually with friends is certainly something most of us would look forward to.

Whether face to face or virtual, logic dictates that people heighten their guards when discussing serious topics, and talking about a health issue does fit into that category.  A smoker would certainly feel less comfortable being visited in his home by his pulmonologist because it exposes the reality that despite the advice, evidence at home would probably present more of an embarrassment.  For years, the privacy of a doctor’s office serves the patient more than the doctor.  Using telemedicine, a peek into the patient’s environment seems possible – which yields more valuable information (eg. senior citizens and home hazards like stairs, etc.) but only for those patients who have developed stronger relationships with their providers.

“In essence, COVID-19 has allowed us to lower our psychological barriers to the adoption of technology,” Professor Vishall Ahuja says. “All of a sudden, we realize we’re not as inflexible as we thought we were. We’re not as tech-adverse as we were. Necessity is the mother of invention.”

 

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Wolters Kluwer, Exist Highlight Evidence-Based, Decision Support in Healthcare IT Webinar

Wolters Kluwer, Exist Highlight Evidence-Based, Decision Support in Healthcare IT Webinar 768 487 Exist Software Labs

As an important step towards its ultimate goal of improving the quality of care and support the frontline healthcare providers make better evidence-based decisions, Wolters Kluwer, a global provider of professional information, software solutions, and services, teamed up with Exist in the healthcare IT webinar entitled “How Reducing Variations is Key to Improving Patient Outcomes (and defeating COVID-19)“, held last August 13, 2020.

Exist Vice President for Sales & Marketing; Director of Healthcare Solutions Mr. Willex Perez and Partner Business Lead ASEAN Region at Wolters Kluwer Clinical Effectiveness Ms. Amanda Tay were the event speakers.

The following are among the key takeaways from the event:

      1. Reduce risks in treatment errors, and its Financial consequences
      2. Provide Consistency in Quality of Care 
      3. Get the latest clinical evidence-based treatment 
      4. Improve patient monitoring, safety, and reductions in adverse drug interactions 
      5. Increase inpatient consultations and avoidance of unnecessary tests.

With the banner theme of providing the best evidence to make harmonized decisions, Ms. Tay presented valuable data from studies conducted by researchers all over the world, indicating the shortcomings in providing quality patient care, and prevalent medication errors occurring around the globe.

She elaborated on how healthcare solutions bring clinical effectiveness and improve the overall patient journey. Moreso, how their solutions, UpToDate and Lexicomp, are the top providers of world-class clinical decision support at the Point of Care.

She also highlighted that what sets them apart from other support systems is that these applications are backed by experts in the medical field performing continuous and updated reviews. 

These two build up a network of thousands of clinician experts, pharmacists, specialists, and more all actively contributing to the contents of the applications. They are the ones who will help you scour through all journals, and clinical studies to provide the synthesized and summarized content so that you don’t need to read every single resource,” she said.

Mr. Perez also expressed his appreciation for the event participants. 

We hope that this learning session has helped the frontline healthcare community understand that unwanted variability in care brings inefficiencies and provides negative impacts on the quality of care that the patient receives,” he stated. 

“Also, we hope that we were able to show how extensive the coverage of UpToDate and Lexicomp is, and why it is preferred by clinicians all over the world for being an unbiased, evidence-based clinical decision support resource. The things that set it apart from other resources in the rigorous editorial process that is being updated constantly, the graded recommendations for diagnosis and treatments, clinical pathways and lab interpretations, and the wide range of access, including mobile devices.” Mr. Perez said as he ended the online event.

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How Reducing Variations is Key to Improving Patient Outcomes (and Defeating COVID 19) Webinar Highlights

How Reducing Variations is Key to Improving Patient Outcomes (and Defeating COVID 19) Webinar Highlights 768 487 Exist Software Labs

Speaker 1: Mr. Willex Perez | Exist Vice President for Sales & Marketing; Director of Healthcare Solutions

Our current situation right now is like the rug pulled under our feet. We were forced to transform, and ultimately, change how we will be doing things moving forward.

This can be related to two buzz words we may have been hearing for about 3-5 years already.

The term “Digital Transformation” is felt (more pronounced this time as the use of digital platforms has become ubiquitous. We have heard about this term, but what does it really mean for the organizations that we belong to, and what are the challenges that they encounter? 

Digital is not just a computer and a network connection. While it is true that computers enable us to adjust to this situation, “digital” really means:

      • The ability to take physical work by a person at a place, and be able to take it to a virtually
      • Automating the work to be done by anyone or anything (machine) anywhere. These services are given to the clients to address their needs while providing better convenience and customer experience

Transformation, on the other hand, is predominantly used in Economics and Sociology as this is people-driven. It touches the very infrastructure and the people surrounding it from each socio-economic class. Transformation or change involves people, businesses, and organizations as well as the workforce and the customers, bringing change into new ways of how we conduct our work into our lives using digital platforms.

The biggest challenge for organizations in implementing a digital strategy is providing leadership—a leadership team that understands and is ready to face the challenge. While a lot of resources are being poured towards this transformation, many are failing. A winning team needs to keep its eye on where the ball will be and not where it has been. The question that you may ask is: Are you investing in the future or are you still working on what you currently need? But Technology is only as an enabler. To wield its great potential, great leadership is needed to get the most out of new opportunities it brings, and avoid the dangers that come along with it.

Here are some examples of adoptions of digital solutions that we may, or may not, be aware of, either by force or by choice:

Like mobile Banking, for example, which we take for granted.

Our banking experience is way different compared with that of the previous generation. To transact nowadays, we need not go to a physical bank. Banks will do well to target clients, not just by managing their physical branch but improving their online services which impact how they maintain their presence as well as managing their operational expenses.

Entertainment is enjoying the greatest hit of all industries at the moment with leading providers distributing their multimedia content globally online through streaming platforms such as Netflix.

With the threat of infection, education is now forced to shift online, too. 

Our days begin and end consuming news and information online from our preferred digital platforms. But with the prevalence of fake news nowadays, we are careful about our sources of information and realize how important it is to do fact-checking.

Doctors like yourselves face the same dilemma. As you may observe, doctors (especially clinicians) need a reliable resource to help them as they are always pressed for time to diagnose and treat patients.

Why is your source — for the latest evidence-based medical information to update your medical knowledge and answer your clinical questions important?

The importance of getting reliable information affects the high occurrence of medical errors. This ability to get hold of evidence-based information helps in assisting the doctors at the point of care. When a clinician experiences fatigue and information overload in making a clinical decision.

 

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This study highlights that medical error is the 3rd biggest killer in the United States.

Yet in 2019, medical errors are about as prevalent as in 1999. “To Err Is Human” was an uneasy read; so is a September 2019 report on patient safety from the World Health Organization.

Among WHO’s findings:

      • Globally, hospital-acquired infections afflict about 10% of hospitalized patients.
      • Medical errors harm some 40% of patients in primary and outpatient care. 
      • Diagnostic and medication errors hurt millions and cost billions of dollars every year.

– TIME BY KATHLEEN SUTCLIFFE NOVEMBER 5, 2019

Things haven’t changed much. Medical errors harm 40% of patients in primary and outpatient care.

The good news is this handling this error are:

      • It is preventable
      • There are tools and digital platforms available, such as UpToDate, wherein information is
            • Evidence-based 
            • Updated regularly by a team of over 6,000 doctors
            • Comes with Graded recommendations
      • Affordable to countries in Asia, especially in the Philippines wherein UpToDate is already being used by numerous clients

UpToDate is the best online resource being used by over 34,000 medical institutions and hospitals with over 1.3 Million doctors across the world. Evidence shows that UpToDate is proven to result in better hospital performance and improve patient outcomes.

Speaker 2: Ms. Amanda Tay | Partner Business Lead, ASEAN Region at Wolters Kluwer Clinical Effectiveness

How we can help and support your institution in delivering the best clinical decisions support resources to enable you to improve patient outcomes as well as improve patients’ safety?

There are studies that support the idea that patients only receive about half of the recommended processes involved in care. This is due to imperfect information flow, different skill sets across the organization, patients who are able to determine what type of treatments they would like to go after as well, and of course inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the approaches that they take, which is apparent in the current day context.

But this also translates into prescribing errors according to this issue of BMJ Quality & Safety. This study shows that 43 million adverse drug events related to medication errors, drug screening misses, or else occur each year around the globe. It’s very appalling to think about what’s the impact on patient outcomes then.

With all these inconsistencies and unwanted variability in care, up to 30% of global healthcare spend is wasted on unnecessary costs on healthcare annually and that’s about $1,700 per person each year. 

With all of these evolving things that are happening around the world, are we in the right position to tackle such unwanted challenges?

Wolters Kluwer’s healthcare team has already started working with their editorial team, making sure that our support allows our frontline healthcare community to be well equipped to handle and tackle challenges like this pandemic.

In January, Wolters Kluwer already released their first COVID19 topic. From then on, there have been countless contributions to the creation of new topics as the pandemic develops.

As they deem this very important, they provided free UpToDate access for two (2) months in March to support the frontline users and non-users, allowing them to access to clinical decision support resources during this sensitive time.

Since January, all the way to July, they consistently contributing evidence-based clinical contents, making sure that it’s credible and well supported. These contents are immediately available to users which is important in providing assistance to healthcare providers in tackling their uncertainties during their in-depth journey. As of now, there are over 500 updates regarding COVID19 topics alone.

UpToDate became the predominant resource when it comes to COVID19, with millions of views of their topics that have been recorded since the spike of cases.

To tackle unwanted variability in care, the improvement in patient outcomes is determined by the quality of care team decisions, and how it aligns across teams. It is also dependent on the care team behavior, and care team alignment.

When you look at care team behavior, you’ll think of doctors with varying experiences, and different team members with different temperaments and personalities. Would they use software to support their clinical decision making? This also determines how efficient they make decisions, and how accurate it is, and they pass it on to their care team in the pharmacy department to proceed with the drug orders, to the patient ward, and others. It is not a one-man effort. It is across various departments.

How do you put everything together to ensure that you are leaning on a consistent, evidence-based resource? At every step at every point in a patient’s journey, you have to make a decision. That is why it is very important to have evidence-based content that is very credible. It is important to think about what other resources can you consider to ensure that you are well supported with an integrated playbook.

Imagine having that across every step of the journey, with different types of tools and resources that play different parts in supporting your care team.

UpToDate is a global leader for evidence-based clinical decision support. It is now upgraded to support physicians by having interactive pathways that can help them in the decision-making process. Laboratory interpretations feature were also added to help the physicians assessing the software to understand the types of scenarios that might occur.

Lexicomp, on the other hand, is a drug referential resource, with a huge drug database that is accessible for the users, which can certainly reduce medication errors as well using the tools available in it. Thousands of hospitals and retail pharmacies lean on Lexicomp as the key drug resource.

What could UpToDate and Lexicomp offer?

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UpToDate and Lexicomp provide the ability to go into complex cases and go into recommendations. It is graded, thus signifies that it is supported with evidence-based, and unbiased and neutral clinical studies. These two build up a network of thousands of clinician experts, pharmacists, specialists, and more all actively contributing to the contents of these two applications. They are the ones who will help you scour through all journals and clinical studies to provide the synthesized and summarized content so that you don’t need to read every single resource which will save you some time, especially at the point of care.

UpToDate and Lexicomp provide harmonized care decisions throughout a patient’s journey. Information is easily accessible to users at each department. It ties everything together. The whole clinical healthcare team across all the departments are able to lean on a synthesized and integrated playbook, a single source of truth that can support all departments. They get consistent information and have a good discussion with each other through these two.

Japan did a retrospective study across hundreds of diagnostic reports prepared by doctors against a group that did not use UpToDate versus a group that uses UpToDate. What they found was extraordinary in that for those using UpToDate, the diagnostic error was 2%, as compared to a 24% diagnostic error for those who were not. Imagine the impact on the patients who could have benefitted if the doctors referred to UpToDate, ensuring that not many medication errors occur.

In a recent Hospital Insights Asia interview with Asian Hospital’s Dr. Ana Maria Jimenez, she stated that by using UpToDate for two (2) years, there has been a decreasing trend in their ICU mortality ratio.

Meanwhile, The Medical City’s Dr. Rafael S. Claudio said that UpToDate is comprehensive and authoritative with an extensive list of clinical topics available that is easy to use for its simple interface. This supported his physician team on their journey to treat patients.

Also, Wolters Kluwer’s Clinical Information Drug Surveys show that the impact of Lexicomp is definitely broad and overwhelmingly positive.

Another consideration that you might have is if it is recognized/accredited.

 

rsz screen shot 2020 08 14 at 13930 pmSee full list of accreditations.

It is understandable that training and education is one of the key areas that healthcare institutions focus on. How do you make sure that everyone is well-equipped, and is continuously upskilled? That is why you should consider what other resources are available to support you on this journey. With our efforts to get UpToDate recognized in PRC, we offer continued professional development support.

In summary, these solutions that we offer provide:

      • A harmonized approach to help you support and improve your quality of care.
      • Reduce diagnostic and medication errors to help you treat your patients fast 
      • Quicker and more efficient flow to shorten their length of stay so that you can help more patients
      • Improve patient education and engagement

Check out our healthcare product, MEDCURIAL, and see how it helped some of the biggest hospitals in the country provide better patient outcomes.