Smart cities are built on the three key pillars of people, intelligent technology and efficient operations. They’re able to leverage the convergence of all three to improve infrastructure and civic amenities. A key ingredient of a smart city is its aware residents, who aspire to a better quality of life. This involves smarter solutions to everyday problems of people, who are connected to each other as they have never been before.
“Highly engaged customer experience” is necessary for smarter cities, which are positioned by smart generation of consumers who are more connected, more informed and who make decisions based on personalized service experiences. But rapidly rising costs, expensive treatments, poor or inconsistent services, yet upbeat competition, and changing consumer behavior pulls down healthcare industry low in desired service scale. Riddled with the new needs and a challenging environment, healthcare industry is faced with just two choices – invest in disruptive technology, or perish.
Use of Technological Advancement in Healthcare
Imagine a scenario where you walk into a hospital with your smartphone, and by the time you reach the front desk, the hospital staff knows about your presence in the premise and greets by your name and relevant staff is already aware of your medical history. You no longer need to wait for long hours before you see the doctor, or keep track of past records.
Hospitals are considering Wi-Fi Infrastructure and RFID to build unique personalized ways to connect with their patients and to improve patient clinical care, safety and administration in business processes such as business flow management, critical asset/equipment management, patient and staff identification, access control and security.
In the critical environment of healthcare, the need for a particular medical device for a patient at a critical time and location is impossible to predict on a real time basis. This is where RFID technology plays a role in tracking life saving devices which are constantly being moved around the hospital to ensure timely availability for patient care.
Customer Centricity: Basis of Smart Healthcare
A smart healthcare system always places the customer at the center, and addresses all the touch-points that work together to deliver the best patient care. Today, the knowledge interface that includes medical research, pharmaceutical development, biotechnology etc, is well-organized.
The actual patient care touch points such as doctors, hospitals, clinics etc are fragmented, restricted and very seldom user friendly. In addition, security concerns combined with the need to restrict access to medicines, predicting locations of patients and equipments within the hospital premise and sensitive data stores which hospital administrators and the staff need to take care are challenging interfaces in patient care.
Traditional ways of tracking patients, instruments, personnel and medicines have become inefficient and cannot support today’s demanding needs of both staff and resources. Each of the patient-care touch points in healthcare should work in tandem, and should be accessible via personalized, convenient and secure interfaces and should deliver on the objective of customer centricity.
Mobile interface and new technological advancements in connected devices space are openings gates for immense opportunities for healthcare to provide personalized healthcare services. It can translate such new technical discoveries to uniquely connect with the customers and result into incremental value for patient-care services. Moreover using RFID tags and readers for business operations, hospitals can track patients, personnel, medical equipment, medications, access to restricted areas and gain easy retrieval to procedure and patient records.
The author is vice president, ITC Infotech
(The article was published in PCQuest June 2014 issue)