Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Madhubala Radhakrishnan, Founder and President, mCURA, Gurgaon, to understand the need and impact of IT in healthcare. Edited excerpts:,
Do you think healthcare industry especially hospitals have adopted technology at an advanced level?
Technology adoption is not upto the level expected. Why it is not adopted is the question and how are we going to address this “why” is the challenge today because IT adoption is not by having a billing system on your computer or creating inventory system in your ERP, IT should impact patients and the doctors and that is how IT is going to win in health care. If you compare any other industry to healthcare industry, IT penetration is much less in healthcare when compared to anything. This is because the stakeholders are not included in IT adoption today.
Doctors using computers at point of care is a big challenge as doctor-patient ratio is very less and the doctor has to see the patients in 3-5 minutes in which patient expects doctor’s full time, he can’t use computer or type something unlike in USA or UK where they have 20 to 25 minutes with the patient, take their history, record everything and come up with the diagnosis. So in such a little time how can we expect the doctors in India to use computers at that point of time and because of this reason IT adoption or the EMR are not growing in the industry at all.
How do you think technology can help the hospitals in providing efficient services?
It is very important to identify where hospitals can introduce technology. As a patient if I get into the hospital and if I need to meet the doctor for 10 minutes, I am spending my 2 hours inside the hospital, where I’m visiting multiple billing counters and the waiting time is too much. So can I get all this basic information available before entering the hospital and this is where technology can really play a role.
Secondly if the doctor is prescribing X- ray and MRI and medicine, I have to go to these counters and see when is the X- ray, how long is the waiting time, MRI and everything. This is a major problem inside the hospital. My concern is – can technology play a major role inside for that hospital and let you know the precise time that it will take. Even the doctors can be kept well informed if the patients are not turning up on time so that he can utilize that time accordingly.
How has mCURA smart OPD transformed the work flow of OPD?
mCURA is particular about the two major challenges in the industry today. One is work flow enhancement in terms of patient getting the right information at right time inside the hospital. This reduces the waiting time. Secondly is EMR adoption since I told you that doctor’s time with the patient is very limited and he cannot use 10 gadgets at that point of time so we are providing a clinical IT informative secretary who types everything and provides e-visit summary to the patients and the doctor signs on it so it becomes win-win for everyone as records are created, order is processed and from there the work load becomes very easy for the patient and the doctors. Also helps the management to see how many patients are prescribed, what is the turnaround time, everything they give and in the end of the day doctors carry the patient records anywhere they want.
How has it benefited patient and doctor?
We have introduced a tap and pay cash back method where hospitals can introduce as a registration card, patient can put in money they will just have to tap it on the tablet and pay the money. They don’t have go to pharmacy to lab, lab to MRI. Everything can be paid from the mobile phone or they can tap the card and pay that amount so it becomes easy for patients and for hospitals. It is a centralized collection system so they know everything in electronic payments is easy for the hospital to maintain and manage the collection.
How is it different from other players in the industry?
mCURA is not into lead generation or into aggregator business, we are specially concentrating on work flow enhancement and ERM adoption. In that way we are very different and we take responsibility of running this technology inside the hospital and not by just providing the technology. We also provide infrastructure necessary for its manpower and then technology put together, it becomes a service for the hospital so that way it is easy for the hospital to just adopt the technology by not adding any additional work to their existing resource.
What are the USPs of mCURA?
One is the tap and pay card method inside the hospitals where even an uneducated patients can make use of this card system. Second is the shortest service path inside the hospital which is reducing the waiting time at multiple counters. That way we have taken the responsibility to run this smart OPD in a way different from what others are doing.
How do you foresee the health- tech sector 5 years down the line?
Transformation is going to be huge in healthcare in the next 5 years. Not just through technology but even how the patients are treated. It has started to move from doctor centric to patient centric delivery and predictive analysis may soon come into picture. AI may play a major role in technology, but even for that we need to have the data which is currently in paper format.