Saturday, 11 July 2015

Electronic Health Record - A change that needs to be adopted

The world is day by day drifting towards the electronic and digital media. Almost everything that we currently have is available online and that too with reviews. So this makes our life a little easier and provides us with varied options to choose the best available goods online. Well call it change or revolution but it's all good.

This so called change is not just applicable to the ever growing e-commerce industry but its even applicable to the healthcare sector. The change that is coming up in the healthcare sector is the storage of records which means that the hospitals have now started storing the records the electronically. It all started in US in 1985 when the Department of Veterans Affairs already had the automated information systems in its medical facilities. They had the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program (DHCP) which had the functionality to assist the extensive clinical and administrative capabilities. The system was further enhanced with the introduction of Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) in 1997.

What was known as DHCP in 1985 is now known as Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture or VistA or more commonly called as Electronic Health Record (EHR). The EHR at this point in time has become a key feature in United States as it has been mandatory by the US Government. So what exactly is an EHR? Electronic Health Record is a digital platform that collects all the patient data (no matter how many times the patient has visited the hospital) at one place making it easier for the hospital administration to track and seek assistance. The patient record includes the demographics, the vitals such Blood Pressure and or Pulse Rates, problems that a patient suffers from, past medical history, lab tests and radiology reports and immunizations. It also captures the medications given by the treating physicians, the name of treating physician(s) and many more. So ideally this becomes a one stop platform for the concerned physician and the patient as well. So no matter how many times the patient has visited the hospital and no matter what number of patients have visited the hospital EHR stores the data in one place and is easily accessible.

However when we talk about India, EHR has yet not gained that much of popularity. There are many reasons for it but what I can think of is that the hospitals having a larger bed size (> 500 beds) have their own inhouse team to develop the software where-as the hospitals with lesser bed size (<200 beds) does not need it as they are satisfied with the HIS system. So there is still a segment that the EHR Vendors can target to sell off their software. So what technique should (specially) the vendors follow to achieve the sales of software. Let me help you out .

First you need to understand the fact that India as a market is not ready to adopt the electronic change or reform in the healthcare sector. On the other hand I would also add a point that there are certain hospitals that have adopted the change. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has this software implemented in 3 of its branches (Bhopal, Raipur and Delhi). Similarly Max Healthcare has also brought about this change. But still there are hospitals that are not ready for it. So in order break that barrier follow these tips -

  1. Right Approach - As a software vendor one feels that its best to approach the IT Department of a hospital but then that's a myth and the right approach is the Top-Down approach. You need to meet the top level leadership to showcase what you got. It's then the responsibility of these top level executives to convey the message to the rest of the hospital administration that this is an organizational reform and priority and will be a transition for the entire organization. if you think that the top level wouldn't understand the nitty-gritty of EHR then you have lost the battle because they are fully aware of the functionality of EHR. It's also imperative for a vendor to make sure that when they are meeting the higher management staff, there has to be someone from the IT Department of the hospital and from the vendor side. This will make a two way communication and product understanding will be clear.
  2. Completed Software - As a vendor it is always difficult to commit a date when the software will be complete. And it is better not to commit anything if you have already spoken to the hospital. Tell about what you have however I would suggest not to focus on sale of the software the moment you have started to work upon it. Ideally complete all the modules of the software and give the hospitals a customized version suiting their needs. Once the software is ready its better you do some research about your competitors and research about their software. You can get the complete list of companies dealing with EHR by clicking here
Most widely used EHRs
These two tips are for the vendors who fail to sell their software in the market that is not ready however when it comes to hospitals its a bigger challenge. No matter how complete the software of a vendor is there are hospitals that do not agree. So here are tips for the hospitals that will help them embrace the much needed change:
  1. Right Leadership - As mentioned above this is the most important factor not just for the vendor but also for the hospitals. There has to be a Top-Down Approach for inculcating any change. ideally the change will start from the board but it should also include the other members of the organization addressing the fact that the this change is for the smooth functioning of the hospital.
  2. Define the vision - The administrative staffs need to share their vision with mid level employees. It should be made clear that with the adoption of EHR the human error is reduce to a great extent with actually results in increased safety of patients. 
  3. Proper Engagement - You just cannot hire a vendor and kick start the use. You need to engage the physicians and nurses who will work in collaboration with the IT Dept to learn and understand the requirements. 
  4. Adequate Resources - The hospital needs to ensure that they have adequate resources such as finances, technical infrastructure and manpower because installing a software is not the end of it. It is a continuous learning process. The clinicians should be supported everytime they design a workflow or training.
  5. Effective Training - Installing a software does not just mean installing it. Before it goes live in the hospital systems there should be proper training given to the staffs to attain a free hand on this complex software. It is advisable that the hospitals should seek help from the Vendors as they are the subject matter experts.
  6. Engage with the Right Vendor - When installing EHR in your premises you need to make sure a) it follows the ICD-10 compliance b) complies with the Meaningful Use. The Meaningful Use of EHR is basically improvement in quality of treatment, safety of patient, keeping the friends and families of patients engaged which will eventually result in better outcomes for the hospital in all fronts. So you need make sure that the software matches these two main aspects as well. 
So I guess these two aspect of two different community is actually needed for the successful implementation of EHR. However it is time now that the hospitals in India should actually adopt this change which will help the better functioning and reduces the health hazard to the patients. The fact is human error is reduced to a great extent because the software itself will prompt you about any adverse affects a medicine can have on patient. Or it can even tell you or give you a prompt whether a particular patient needs to undergo a particular test or not.

To know more about EHR click here.

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

All you need to know about Windows 10

I am no techie but its just that I am fond of technical stuff and specially gadgets. Ofcourse I wont deny the offer if someone gifts me an iPhone however the fact is, and that's what I believe even, that you should be loyal towards the things you have been using as it is attached to you. So I have been using Windows Phone for about 2 years now and I am pretty much satisfied with it. So today lets talk about the new feature that Microsoft is about to launch on July 29th.

If the facts are to be believed then Microsoft is all set to launch Windows 10. Yes that's correct they have skipped number 9 and have went straight up to Windows 10. There are some really cool features that will catch your attention. So what are these features lets have a look -

1. The Start Menu -

Microsoft makes amends to their biggest mistake of Windows 8 by giving back the Start Menu to its deserved spot viz the bottom left corner of the desktop. But that's not all. Once you click on the start menu you will be able to see the tiles like it appears on Windows 8 and you can even turn it off if you like.

2. Windowed Metro Apps -

Those flayed Metro Apps from Windows 8 have not been removed by Microsoft, however they have been revamped to fit the desktop. When you open a Metro App in Windows 10, it will take you to a new window instead of keeping you in full screen App. Although its better than Windows 8 but you cannot cut and paste a text from Metro App to Normal App.

 3. Action Center Notification - 

Be it Android or iOS or even Windows, I believe that notification tray is one of the coolest features. It gives you all the information just by sliding it. Same is the case with Windows 10. Cortana has been integrated with Windows 10 in a much better way so you will see Action Center as a safe house of important information. 

4. Cortana - 

This feature of Microsoft is the best reply to iOS's Siri. The intelligent digital assistant of Windows 8.1 now moves to PCs and Laptops. Now that its launched for Laptops and PCs, Cortana will need your credentials or information on her Bing powered cloud smarts to fetch the information that you are looking for. Using you natural language's text or voice commands Cortana will help you find any information online. 

5. Project Spartan browser - 

Now just forget about Google Chrome or Mozilla and definitely about Internet Explorer(which used to exist in dinosaur's age). Now is the time for Project Spartan Browser. This is the flagship of  windows and is just too awesome. Things you can do? Okay so you can search pictures or any other document or articles or just anything but staying where you are. Simply open the Microsoft Edge tile on the Start Menu or search for Project Spartan. With Cortana now being introduced in Laptops, Project Spartan will help you with locations as well.

6. Revamped Mail and Calender Apps - 

The Windows 8 email and calender features have been completely changed and now look much much better than its predecessor. They are speedy and have much more information to be given to the user on the screen. The Mail App feature now has a swipe functionality to make it easy for the user to use or access their inbox more effectively. It also has a POP Mail support and Google Calender.

7. Virtual desktops - 

So what on Earth is this? Have you seen multiple Windows features on the Mac? Well Virtual Desktop comes as a fitting reply to Apple. To create a Virtual desktop what you need to do is to click on the Task View Button on the Task Bar and create as many desktops as you want. For people who are more comfortable using keyboards these shortcuts might be of help: 

  • WIN + CTRL + LEFT/RIGHT: Switch to previous or next desktop
  • WIN + CTRL + D: Create a new desktop
  • WIN + CTRL + F4: Close the current desktop
  • WIN + TAB: Launch task view
Features include the following:

  1. Give you more desktop space to group related windows
  2. Help you quickly locate and switch to any window or group of windows
  3. Let you easily re-organize your groups and move windows as tasks evolve
  4. Keep you in control of the degree of separation between your grouped windows
Well that was impressive Microsoft.

8. XBox App - 

This feature will impress the gamers. The center of the app gives you the activity feed which shows the which is populated by your Xbox Live Friends’ activities. 

Now you get better graphics and gaming experience. You can now also record your gameplay with the new Game Bar because XBOX One comes with Game DVR functionality that helps to record games. 

9. Continuum 

Microsoft has been very thoughtful about the current generation who are more into the use of Touchscreen. Microsoft has come up with a dynamic feature called as Continuum that will help enable the user to the Laptop as a Laptop or as a Tablet. "Continuum is about being able to transform your use of a device into mobile scenarios that give up no compromises in your use of input device or screen size," says Microsoft's Joe Belfiore. Connecting a Windows 10 mobile device to a larger screen allows you to utilize your phone as a PC. Now this is what I call awesome.

10. Settings Menu

 This part of your system gets a new look and better than its predecessor. The options that you get in the settings menu are: System, Devices, Network & Internet, Personalization, Accounts, Time & language, Ease of Access, Privacy, and Update & recovery. Its more resilient and of course better than 8.1. Now going to the Control Panel and finding a particular advanced setting is easier.

So that's all about the newer Version of Windows. I believe that with these interesting features it will definitely give a tough competition to its rival Mac. But you need to wait until July 29th to see whether its actually worth it.

Image Courtesy

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Apple Watch: New release new features

Apple is now on a revamp and update spree. It will be launching iOS 9 later this year and it has also announced the update to the Apple Watch. If you are someone who is fond of this beautiful masterpiece by Apple then be ready to be amazed. Unlike it's earlier version this one is a bit more powerful and comes with many more new features. In the recently commenced Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Apple did gave the highlights of new features of Apple Watch. Its called as watchOS 2. It was a power packed 2 hours and 30 minutes WWDC keynote and it was full of information for the new developments. 

So come let me tell you what you can expect out of this new roll-out. 

1. New Watch Faces:  

 You can now use all the images / pics from your photo gallery to be seen on the dial of the watch. Everytime you will raise your hand to see the watch screen the image will change automatically.

2. Updated Watch Kit: 

The updated WatchKit gives developers access to important hardware like Digital Crown, Watch's in-built mic and speakers, accelerometer, Heart Rate Sensors and Taptic Engine. As shown in the Keynote the video playback has been enabled as well with Vine. Volkswagen users can now get the feedback whether there car door is locked or not and WeChat now gets the audio messaging feature with the help of microphone.

Apart from these two updated features the other new features included in this newer version are:
  • Nightstand Mode: This turns the watch into a clock and the Digital Crown and the side button serves the purpose of snooze and alarm turn off buttons.
  • You can even check the charge left on your electric car. Or if you are about to catch a flight the watch will tell you the details of the flight such as the time of Arrival of the flight and whether it is the right time for you to leave.
  • The new Time Travel feature allows you to go ahead of current time or go back. Literally? No well this feature helps you to see the agenda for you for the rest of the day. 
  • You can use Apple Pay via the watch as well. You can use the card info stored in Apple Pay.
  • If you are a fitness freak then this watch a must buy as workouts from third party fitness apps will now contribute to your Moves and Exercises for the day.

  • The transit feature that appears in the iOS9 is also available in this watch. You can now get walking directions, transportation maps and schedules. 

The WatchOS 2 is supposed to be delivered by September but Apple again proves that its always worth it to wait for things that are worth waiting.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

All you need to know about iOS 9

Apple has always been updating its products. This becomes the reason why Apple was able to sell nearly 800 million devices by June 2014 and there were new 130 million in the time period of 2013-2014.

What I feel that if you have launched a product or a commodity then it is important for you to continuously update the product so that the end users should not feel monotonous with the look and feel. This was where Nokia lacked. They were running on the same Symbian Platform where there competitors like Samsung or HTC entered into the Android Versions.

But talking about Apple and the products. The reason for success is constant improvement in their technology. Now Apple has come up with a newer version of the software, iOS 9. So what's in it for we the users? Come lets have a look.

1. New features and capabilities of the virtual assistant Siri - It will now let the users to set voice reminders which will be provoked when the phone is connected to a car or when the user arrives at home. You can even request Siri to show you images from any country of the world or even from your photo gallery. Siri can now proactively tell you about your location.

2. Spotlight Feature - This is a support functionality that will help users to find within the apps.

3. Apple Pay - This feature will be available in UK from July onwards. This will also have the support of merchants and by using the phone or watch customers who are located in London will be able to make payments. Customers can also use their rewards card using this feature. 

4. Wallet App - This is the new passbook application launched by Apple.

5. Revamped in-built Notes - To compete with Evernote and One Note, Apple revamped its in-built notes app. It now includes checklists and rich formatting and images.

6. News App - I find this one very apt for users and specially those for whom news is an important part of morning and the rest of the day. We all get sick and tired of seeing unwanted news in newspaper. But with this News App you can customize it. The app receives requests from users regarding their favorite publisher and topic and the app gives the news pertaining to the same

Having such power packed features in a phone requires a lot of space. Well it's the other way round. As compared to iOS 8 this new software update will require on 1.3GB of free space. The update will launch at later this year so till then the users can enjoy being a part of this legacy which will continue forever.