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SIX Sigma in Healthcare

Improve Process:
1. Define the problem - that is wait time and the high number of non-emergency patients
2. Develop a solution - in an emergency room situation, this can include adding beds by expanding the department or decreasing the size of current rooms; outsourcing certain testing and radiology services; and/or adding an ‘express care’ program to deal with non-emergency patients
3. Form a plan for improving the process, measuring improvements to the process, and reducing deviations from the goal - many hospitals have found that Lean Six Sigma practices are a particularly effective way of identifying and dealing with the challenges and problems inherent to health care . How Six Sigma help reduce Medical Errors: Six Sigma is a process improvement method that focuses on eliminating defects by reducing variation. It relies heavily on statistical analysis of data and strong problem-solving techniques. For more than a decade, companies such as GE, Motorola and Toshiba have used Six Sigma …

Smart Cards and Usability

What is a smart card and how is it used?
A smart card is a card similar in size to today's plastic payment card that has a chip embedded in it. By adding a chip to the card, it becomes a smart card with the power to serve many different uses. As an access-control device, smart cards make personal and business data available only to the appropriate users. Another application provides users with the ability to make a purchase or exchange value. Smart cards provide data portability, security and convenience. Smart cards help businesses evolve and expand their products and services in a changing global marketplace. Banks, telecommunications, computer software and hardware companies, and airlines all have the opportunity to tailor their card products and services to better differentiate their offerings and brands. The combination of applications available on smart cards also may help them to develop closer relationships with their customers.
What is the potential for the smart card bus…

Health Cards called "Smart Cards"

Recently received a mail from one of my Friends Senthil asking more about smart cards and their implementation in Indian Health care Scenario. Here I am describing the use of smart cards with the technology that is usually deployed for the same.
Components of Smart card SystemSMART CARDS CARD READERS CLIENT SOFTWARE SERVERS WITH HARDWARE SECURITYADMINISTRATOR PORTAL WEBSITE PATIENT PORTAL WEBSITE CAREGIVER PORTAL WEBSITE PDA & LAPTOP SOFTWARE .VISUAL BASIC & .NET TOOLS HL7 MESSAGING SERVER

What all these components do?

SMART CARDS - Securely hold patient information.

CARD READERS- Work with any PC and are branded with your logo.

CLIENT SOFTWARE -Upgrades the web browser on the PC so it works with smart cards and card readers

SERVERS WITH HARDWARE SECURITY- Host and protect private information.

ADMINISTRATOR PORTAL WEBSITE- A web application that lets administrators issue and manage cards.
PATIENT PORTAL WEBSITE- A web application where patients view and update their information.

CAREGI…

Ehealth- The Competitive Advantage

Defining e-health - where are we?

E-health is health's version of e-commerce: that is, conducting health business electronically. E-health is the combined use of electronic communication and IT in the health sector, both at the local site and at a distance for clinical, educational and administrative purposes (Unstoppable rise of e-health, 1999).
E-health is a broad, encompassing term that envelops information technologies and telecommunication technologies. Telehealth, the provision of health at a distance using telecommunications, is subsumed by e-health.
Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion about this new field and some vendors are getting onto the hype bandwagon by adding "e-" to old solutions. Many new initiatives remain unproven, and, like modern art, time will tell which shall endure.
Users' strategic goals and end users' needs should drive solutions and not the vendors or suppliers’ business models. However, sometimes the users' needs are latent and …

E-Health India - Case Study

To understand the Barriers Better, Am sharing with you various Case Studies for the Same.The first case study involved a company that was primarily in the business of selling prescription drugs online. This was a pure Internet startup, rather than an existing pharmacy that added an online channel.
ePharmacy focuses exclusively on the sale of (1) prescription pharmaceuticals, (2) over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals, (3) vitamins, minerals, supplements (VMS) and herbal products and (4) related healthcare products. The Company has invested over $10 million in state-of-the-art technology and facilities including fully automated pharmaceutical dispensing equipment that enables the company to fulfil customer orders rapidly upon receipt of the order via the Internet. ePharmacy began selling OTC pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products through its website in May 1999 and began sales of prescription drugs and providing healthcare information in late October 1999. With respect to prescr…

Health Market Potential and Strategies- A Study

Current Utilization
General use of the Internet for health points to a great demand for health-related information. For example, almost half the Internet users in 1997 reported looking for health information or support (FIND/SVP, 1997). A survey of 2,000 Internet users estimated that more than 24.8 million people sought online health and medical content in 1998, an increase of 44% from 1997 ("Double Mastectomy," 1999). E-health web sites have enjoyed growth that has outpaced general Internet use. For example, in 1999, general use of e-health sites grew 176% to almost 11 million (Media Metrix, 2000). According to Newsweek, the Web is currently a source of health or medical information for more than 50 million Americans. Patients and their families do more actual web surfing than investors, students or people who purchase online (Watson, 2001). Data from Forrester Research (Yonish, Ranguelova, Shrier, & Broadben, 2001) indicates that women are twice as likely as men to visi…

Issues E-Health strategy can address

The eHealth strategy aims to address a number of issues currently being faced by people who provide care to patients and those who support them. The key issues can be summarised as follows:
• Improved ability to access information that is integrated and accurate
• Better support for clinicians and care providers from across the health system to interact more efficiently and effectively with each
• Support for clinical and managerial decision making
• Greater capability for managing patient flow through improved planning and scheduling
• Support for location-independent health service delivery.

Principles of Implementation:

The principles for the implementation of the eHealth Strategy are:

• Build on what exists today and re-use viable capabilities in place
• Establish solid functionality and information, and then build new capabilities
• Introduce new and extended capabilities in phases, and realise benefits incrementally
• Identify solutions that improve quality of care and patient outcomes,…

E-health and E-learning

Resource generation
The growth of e-health services has given rise to the need for a new breed of healthcare professionals, healthcare administrators and healthcare technologists.
This industry needs people who can understand any two of healthcare, business and technology. Historically the healthcare industry has been the last adopter of technology, the same has been the case with healthcare education. Even till today, many of the medical, dental, nursing, pharmacology and other healthcare degrees do not have courses on information technology; ecommerce is only a far cry from reality. Courses in hospital and health administration have increased in the last 5 years or so. When the e-health services industry started about 3 year ago, companies relied heavily on people already employed by hospitals and on people employed by other similar companies. The industry has grown to such a size that people from non-healthcare backgrounds are being recruited and trained. Interestingly, a lot of youn…

Health care players and their key information needs

PatientA patient can be defined as a person who receives medical examination, treatment, guidance or care from a health care professional. The contact between the patient and the health care services initiates the process of care. The patient is therefore the most important party in the health care system. A patient needs knowledge about basic health issues, access to information specifically relevant to his/her condition, awareness of health system and the options available.
PractitionerThe practitioner is any healthcare professional and is distinguished from a provider. The patient gets in touch with the physician (general practitioner or specialist) for consultation, which may include medical investigations, treatment or supervision of the plan of care. In e-health, it is practitioners who are engaged with clients or other practitioners in the delivery of health care. A practitioner needs access to best, up-to-date medical knowledge available pertaining to their patients.
ProviderIn…

The Inside Story- e-Health

The scale of e-health services in India has been very small so far, mostly limited to health awareness through portals, telemedicine and customer service using the internet. Even with such a small scale of operations, some significant changes are being made nationwide that will strengthen telemedicine initiatives and the healthcare industry as a whole. The most important initiative being, the standardization of exchange of health information between different entities within the healthcare sector.
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology are jointly creating a national health information infrastructure, for easy capture and dissemination of health information. To support this infrastructure, necessary steps are also being taken in creating a legally safe environment that will protect the privacy and confidentiality of health information. Steps are also being taken to educate various stakeholders of the healthcare industry…

If you are a Health Professional - Which EMR to buy?

Your degree is in medicine, not computer science. Why then are so many physicians finding themselves focused on software these days? Government, payers and market forces are all pushing physicians to consider an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) strategy. As if practicing medicine weren't challenge enough, now you need to adopt a new layer of technology infrastructure…

At the same time, the value in going digital with your patient records is increasingly clear and the technology has come of age. Just like a practice management system optimized your patient schedule and improved your receivables, today's EMRs promise to automate your clinical workflows. An EMR can reduce time spent charting, provide more efficient patient visits and help meet regulatory requirements.


The good news is that selecting an EMR doesn't require in-depth technical knowledge. Instead, you simply need to roll up your sleeves and run a disciplined selection process - knowing what criteria to consider i…

Understanding E-healthcare Better!

Recent polls show that more than two-thirds of online health consumers would prefer to obtain healthcare information from those they know and trust, namely their physicians and hospitals




Services what we need and Deal with in E-health:



Internet strategy and return on investment analysis
Inter/Intranet site and application design, development, and hosting
Health content integration
Physician find and referral databases
Customer relationship management systems & Human resources management systems
HIPAA privacy & security system analysis and development
Dynamic systems: news & events, content authoring,
personalization
Database integration
Secure patient document imaging systems



What are Meaningful Returns?




Healthcare marketing
To date, analysis of healthcareƕs primary focus on Internet consumer marketing leaves little to be impressed with. As healthcare organizations review their expenditures in web technology against their expectations of attracting and converting web users to patients, …

PDAs in Healthcare -Passe or in Vogue

The PDA is a very small and portable, handheld computer, which has many more functions than a calculator, and the capacity to store information much like a Personal Computer (PC). Basic functionality available on most PDAs includes an address book, schedule, calendar, note pad, and e-mail. The PDA is convenient to use in clinical and field situations for quick data management, and the information can be synchronized with a PC . By means of a wireless network, information can be exchanged anytime from anywhere to and from a PDA, and the network will provide immediate access to all kinds of necessary clinical and administrative data .
Health care professionals need access to information several times a day, and the PDA has the potential to provide this. For the PDA, there are numerous documents and medical software applications available, with a wide variation in quality. A large number of medical students take advantage of the PDA for educational purposes and patient care with great sat…

Conclusions- Ehealth Practice and Application

Well, offlate I received a Huge amount of Inputs from the readers on my blog, Thanks to Didar, Ajay, Pankaj, David, Nitin and all of you. I am hereby drawing certain conclusions out of those Case studies which I received and studied.



Steps required for Such Conclusions:



(1) Create a framework for country studies.


(2) Identify focal points – regional and national (WHO and Member State).


(3) Set up an interdisciplinary and interministry expert group.


(4) Select/appoint a national consultant.


(5) Carry out research on the basis of the framework.


(6) Monitor, review and finalize the study.


(7) Identify gaps.


(8) Build capacity.


(9) Devise strategies.


(10) Establish task group to carry forward initiative.



High-quality infrastructure is one of the most important prerequisites for fostering the growth of the e-health industry. (The main determinants of the e-business environment for health are technology, connectivity, bandwidth availability, telephone charges, power supply and real estate.)



India is awa…

Challenges to Healthcare on Internet

The use of technology to assist in the delivery of quality patient care covers a vast area from biomechanical devices to robotics to the electronic medical record to email. Sometimes, the term "E-health" has been used very loosely to include any electronic healthcare-related activity. Points to be considered are:

1. E-health is not a surrogate for the clinician. It does provide the means to extend the reach of the provider beyond a face-to-face patient encounter, with the advantage of expanding the delivery of limited resources and expertise. For instance, using electronic images and pictures, diagnoses may be made from a remote location, either within or outside the facility.


2. E-health provides delivery of useful medical information via the Internet, kiosks or other electronic means that may facilitate patient education and provider decision-making.

3. E-health facilitates collaboration between providers and other caregivers through file sharing, email and electronic medi…

E-Health - Data incorporations through Technology

Delivery of healthcare is critically dependent on access to data, however much of this data resides across many data repositories and organizations, and is often highly protected and private.

The Environmental Drivers

Restructuring of the Health System (world wide) to meet the demands of ageing populations (major economic impact)

Funding agencies driving multi-disciplinary research initiatives and solutions to healthcare priorities and data sharing needs

Increasing pace of growth of the scientific knowledge base (e.g. genomics data) increased need for linking data across disciplines

Development and application of high-cost medical technologies and need for Cost/benefit analyses (global benchmarking)

Declining availability of specialist skills and thus improving productivity through advanced systems becomes a priority

Private-sector healthcare providers taking over more routine procedures from Public providers and data access issues

How do we answer a Health Query?

Identification of the …