Sunday, February 5, 2012

The prelude

It's been a few weeks since I've been doing a bit of pencil pushing and sitting down with all concerned parties regarding a project that would entail the use of digital technology in improving the delivery of health care services between the patient, the pharmaceutical industry, the healthcare business, and the health care providers. Because all these segments are linearly related and cross paths at different angles, it makes sense in providing a business solution at addressing the gaps encountered in the efficient delivery of better, optimum and quality health service and information to all the parties at stake. After all, the healthcare industry, while complex in nature, is the most vital of all services we all seek. There is a price we need to pay for staying healthy, and a greater price we pay for being sick.

For one, it is time that we professionalize the process and services of patients whom we provide health service to on a pay-for-fee basis. We can improve the relationship between the health care provider and the patient by making patients more accessible to doctors to address their needs - from having to queue at the clinic, to responding to requests for information even when we are out of the office. I am sure my friends will agree with me that most of us are selective to whom we give out our mobile numbers to. While we are justified at keeping our private lives less accessible to patients, the latter may have serious concerns that will require our attention after they have consulted us in our clinics. Unfortunately, if there is no regulation at the text messages sent to the doctor, this problem escalates to being simply ABUSED ending in a scenario where patients text messages anywhere from inquiring if you're still in your clinic to asking for a diagnosis or a prescription based on an MMS photo sent as a diagnostic challenge to the physician.

On the other hand, as physicians, we need to provide patients with efficiency in the delivery of our services to them as well. When we say our clinic begins at 9AM, we must at most times, start on time. Unfortunately, many of us would make patients queue till forever because we don't want to wait for them or we would prefer that they're all there already when we start our clinics - which is unfair for the patient who also has other things to attend to or whose time is equally important to them as it is to us.

The age of digital technology has changed the landscape of creating a more productive relationship between patients, the pharmaceutical industry, the healthcare industry and the healthcare provider.

From Apps designed to providing electronic medical records to designing programs where patients can access their health records and linking to pharmacies where they can easily pick up their prescriptions paperless, to having their labs available real time - there are countless ways at improving the interlocking grid of the healthcare industry.

Two decades ago, Pocketbell or the paging system became the defining line as a business solution to providing more efficient service through prompt communication to all. In less than a decade, the advent of mobile phones replaced the paging system. Today, digital technology has literally changed the way we live - from eating to breathing, from fine dining to shopping, from selling to promoting - we have become entrenched in the power of the internet. It has served as the portal for many successes and solutions to improving every imaginable service.

No one can stop an idea whose time has come.

At the end of the day, by putting order in this chaotic complex healthcare system, it becomes the avenue for efficiency so that we can all lead more productive, healthier lives.

Virtually at our finger tips - we can make the healthcare industry work to the advantage of all stakeholders.

My Virtual Health Care's about time.

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