Doing Business in Covid 19 – To Start with What Hospital can do..?

Doing Business in Covid 19 – To Start with What Hospital can do..?

Let us accept it. Covid 19 is not going to off completely like how it surfaced. He is an “uninvited guest” ( ghost?) present here to trouble us for some more time! It is going to take a while for the medical community to come up with a Vaccine or a super drug that can make us to function and work how we worked before 2020. Ensuring personal hygiene, wearing a face mask or maintaining social distance are new normal situations from now on wards. Whether we like it or not we need to accept that. We also have to ensure we remain healthy to sustain and also ensure your neighbor, co worker, your companion, and everyone around your community remain healthy. We do not have a silver bullet answer for that but this is a new doctrine we all have to follow.

But life has to move on. We cannot afford to ignore these forever. At some point of time we need to come out of our comfort zone and start facing these challenges. This applies for everyone – who work in any industry today. Be it Academics, IT, Hospitals, Manufacturing, Services , etc – anyone who venture out to their work will have to follow these norms. Also, it is equally important we also get used to new norms which will be forced to us by external factors – be it customers, patients, students etc – who used our services before Covid 19. They may demand us to be ready for a virtual business environment wherein the same services or some of the services within the overall business should be made compatible to online platforms. We no longer can conveniently ignore these but we must be quick to embrace these newer tools and platforms

We could already see IT industry using the virtual platforms more than ever before during the lockout and ensuring the same efficiency and delivery to their customers cutting across multiple business verticals. We could see teachers using the platforms like Google Meet, Zoom etc for creating virtual class rooms for their students to take classes and conduct worksheet sessions. More industries will follow suit. It is not only the delivery platforms gone virtual – but even the sales and business development activities are done through digital platforms. In our office, we have increased the use of digital platforms to conduct customer meetings, review discussions, product demos and training and even sales negotiations. We have also used platforms like Linkedin and other social media platforms to reach out to newer customers.

So it all depends the agility that we show in we adopting newer challenges and how innovative in providing solutions to our customers ensuring the same customer delight so that customers stay with us. This helps us to ensure our top line does not dip in an alarming fashion. It is must that we adopt some newer technologies and also re-engineer some of our existing offerings to suit to the customer’s expectations.

For example, hospitals which are already reeling under low patient footprint in this Covid 19 period, can turn some of the strong revenue earners for them into virtual platforms. Pharmacy and Lab orders constitute good revenue streams for any hospitals. These new age platforms would ensure the sales/distribution streams are diversified in Pharmacy and Lab departments so that the virtual platforms can compensate for the revenue loss due to low footprint inside the hospital. Some of tools that can be deployed by hospitals without much investment on hardware or workflow modifications , include :

Online Consultation Platform – this ensures the same OP patients who otherwise cannot come to hospitals can take the consultation completely online through Telemedicine platform. This would ensure the patient stays with the hospital and his encounters are turned into business. This does not stop here. We need to ensure his entire experience is seamless through Online consultation that should result in subsequent touch points – be it medication, lab orders etc. A tighter integration with existing HIS and EMR is a must to ensure the patients are given the right consultation. This gives an added advantage to doctors to ensure clinical data continuity.

Online Pharmacy – Once the patient is diagnosed, obviously he/she is recommended some medications and the options should be provided by the respective hospital to order the drugs online. The pharmacy store is already part of the HIS which is available in Web/mobile versions and all that Hospital IT has to do is to ensure the commerce element is provided by the vendor of HIS system with e-com and payment gateway options. This ensures the patients do not have to get out of their house still gets their drugs delivered at home with ease. There is a close connection between consultation and pharmacy that can be established by IT vendors through online platforms.

Home Collection – Very naturally once the consultation is over, any lab investigations that need to be done and if any blood samples to be collected the same can be done by having a home collection option by the respective hospitals. The Lab technicians can visit Geriatric patients or patients with high risks of infection who are already diagnosed through online consultation or those who are due for regular check ups ( diabetic, BP patients etc) and collect the sample. Even the payment can be collected by cash or other digital wallets. This ensures the patients stay safe at home but the lab investigation is done which is appended to EMR platforms for doctors to see and advise. This platform ensures we do not miss out the business!

Patient Portal – A simple but comprehensive mobile application for patients wherein they can register, make payments, consult doctors online and even order drugs or lab investigations. This mobile app can also help patients to navigate the timeline of their visits to the respective hospitals and provide the complete vault of health data as a ready reference.

The idea is to engage the patients through regular notifications, reminders and announcements so that they feel comfortable to use the hospital services.

The above platforms are guaranteed revenue earners and all that hospitals have to invest is to buy the online tools and beef up the dispensing mechanism for order fulfillment. Besides, they can also invest on more automation such as robots for patient screening, etc. But that is more desirable feature!

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