Covid-19 and emergence of new-age asset light healthcare models reform hospital operations in India

Covid-19 brought a wave of change, right from shifting the way people think about their health to how the healthcare sector approaches healthcare. The pandemic clearly highlighted the gaps in our healthcare system and the pressing need for quick changes to prepare us for the future. Currently, even though the number of instances of Covid-19 have reduced, hospital management norms have been permanently altered and are now supported by a robust healthcare system that has been strengthened by increased testing, digital consultations, and social distancing norms.

Some of the most significant changes include regular screening, setting up of Covid response teams, increased education of healthcare workers, personal infection control protocols, video consultation and telemedicine, infection control practices, Covid-19 testing, physical distancing, proper disposal of hospital waste, stricter entry protocols, and training of visitors.

At present, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other technologies have transformed traditional healthcare into a smart ecosystem. Innovative systems have allowed medical professionals to better diagnose and treat patients’ conditions while reducing wait times and spreading infections.

Tech-driven insurance processing

Improving infection control protocols is dependent on reducing the amount of time patients spend at the hospital. Consequently, implementing tech-driven, online patient insurance processing systems goes a long way. When a patient’s insurance is processed online, it makes the patient-discharge process faster. This reduces the amount of time they spend in the hospital and increases the hospital bed turn-around time.

Initiation of video consultation and online appointments

Another interesting change that Covid-19 has led to is video consultation and appointments. People and caregivers alike use video consultations for primary healthcare, mental health-related issues, post-hospital discharge consultations, and post-surgery follow-ups. And, as we enter an era of tech-enabled, new-age healthcare, online consultation, appointments, and payments have become a lot easier.

Sample collection and medicines delivered at home

With the introduction of online pharmacies, medicines can now be delivered to a patient’s home, which translates to a lesser crowd at hospitals and pharmacies and speedier processing of requests. Also, buying medicines has been made a lot easier since patients can source them from pharmacies, not only the ones they have physical access to. Further, with the start of home collection of laboratory samples, the process is now quicker, with sterile collection of samples, and helps cut down waiting time significantly, preserving sample viability. Tech-enabled platforms have made getting medicines and collecting samples much faster and easier.

Training medical staff and visitors alike

Healthcare facilities have started training their staff about preventive measures and visitors about how infections are spread. This training also includes educating people about their responsibility in breaking the cycle of infection and the steps they can take to prevent it. With tech-enabled, asset-light platforms, training and upskilling healthcare personnel have become easier and faster.

Ensuring physical distancing

Physical distancing protocols have also been put firmly into place to ensure safe healthcare facility operations in the post-pandemic era. This includes all healthcare facilities having markers to indicate a distance of 6 feet in all areas that are likely to get crowded. This practise has also been put in place at healthcare facilities that provide COVID-19 vaccinations.

Proper disposal of hospital waste

The disposal of hospital waste has also become a major factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other infections. As a result, every healthcare facility is now tasked with the proper and safe disposal of medical waste. This includes following CDC guidelines and state government rules for waste disposal. Also, all pieces of equipment are fully sanitised in the CSSD.

Implementation of regular screening: 

Regular and thorough screening at all entry points to healthcare facilities has become imperative in the recent past. This includes temperature checks for everyone entering the hospital, including doctors, nurses, staff, visitors, and patients alike. These measures are especially important to ensure that the virus does not spread. Healthcare facilities have also started keeping a keen eye on staff showing signs of infection and isolating and treating them. These measures have helped limit any potential infections and aid in detecting, isolating, and treating infected patients. Regular screening also helps limit the exposure of people within the healthcare facility and prevents the facility from becoming a potential place for the spread of the infection.

Improved infection control protocol (IC)

Another aspect that has been put into action is infection control protocols, which include having 

this, healthcare facilities also ensure that all medical equipment and fomites (commonly touched surfaces) are completely sanitised throughout the hospital, including a complete clean-up of the facility throughout the day. When it comes to personnel, hospitals have deemed it necessary for all healthcare workers to use personal protection equipment (PPEs) while caring for patients, especially in sensitive areas such as the ICU, ERs, and OTs. With the emergence of new-age healthcare, more stringent standards for infection control protocols have been set. right from ensuring all IC protocols are followed at every step to following best-in-class practises within hospitals.

With the dawn of new-age healthcare models in the recent past, newer, more robust standards for hospital safety protocols have come into play. And with tech-enabled, asset-light platforms, conforming to the highest standard of sanitization and infection control protocols has become a seamless process.

Today, with the changing face of hospital operations, even last-mile hospitals have the benefit of staying on course with safety and operational protocols with the help of new-age technology platforms that help them adhere to the highest safety standards with ease. And, with further advances in healthcare on the horizon, the future looks exciting.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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