A good hospital management system has become the need of the hour for the healthcare industry. With the rapid advancements made in recent times in the area of information technology, particularly in the healthcare sector, the move from archaic paper-based systems, to digital health solutions, is not just inevitable, it is crucial.
Current trends in healthcare indicate that more and more patients prefer going digital, rather than staying with time-consuming and error-prone manual hospital management processes. By implementing hospital management systems, both medical professionals as well as patients stand to benefit from faster processing times, markedly decreased error and better access to information.
What is a Hospital Management System?
A hospital Management System (HMS) is a web-based application that automates all the activities of a hospital’s workflow, enabling easy capturing and tracking of data. Some of the processes that an HMS manages include clinical, administrative, legal and healthcare records. A hospital management system also integrates modules across the workflow, allowing for easier flow of critical information from one department to another.
The digitization of hospital records results in a massive reduction in paperwork, while the automation of hospital workflows reduces the manual effort on hospital staff, improving productivity while at the same time reducing the possibility of error. The overall result of this is that healthcare professionals can focus their attention onto patient interaction and improving the level of service given to patients.
What are the Main Features of an HMS?
Developers of a hospital software solution should bear in mind that there are two specific types of audiences who will be using the HMS, namely:
- Hospital staff (including doctors, nurses, administrative and support staff) and
On the hospital management side, an HMS needs to ensure the following features:
- Allow for doctors to plan schedules online, with the option of sharing this information with patients
- Provide integration with other modules, such as pharmacy, laboratory and radiology, for better flow of information across workflows
- Provide a single-screen view of patient information from across modules, such a lab reports, diet charts, drug information, enabling physicians to take data-driven decisions
- Enable planning and tracking of management activities online, such as ward management, OT scheduling etc.
- Enable tracking of utilities online
- Allow for multiple branches of the hospital to be managed through a single interface
From the patient’s perspective, the following features would be of primary importance in a hospital management system:
- Ease of capturing patient data: the HMS should allow for patients to be able to register with the hospital and capture relevant details for maintaining the patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
- Notification to patients: about appointments, medication schedules, billing etc.
- Information about pharmacy: availability of medication, option to order a drug in advance etc.
A good digital health system will need to consider a variety of features to be included in the hospital software solution. However, at the basic level, every HMS will need to ensure the following factors:
- User-friendly interface: The system will have to ensure that information can be captured through an interface that is not complicated to use, and which is convenient for hospital staff as well as patients
- Data security: of critical importance to any HMS, maintaining the confidentiality of digital health records captured, and preventing unauthorized access
- Processing capability
Paying careful attention to these features at the time of implementing a hospital software solution ensures that both hospital employees and patients benefit from streamlined processes, better accessibility to information and overall increase in productivity.
Must-Have Modules in a Hospital Software Solution
For the efficient administration of a hospital, a hospital management system must include some basic modules, such as:
- Registration and Appointments Module: This module helps to capture patient information and display doctor availability so that appointments can be scheduled conveniently. By allowing patients to schedule their own appointments, the hospital software solution can cut down on call wait times and reduce the burden on hospital staff, in scheduling appointments manually. With the appointments module, patients as well as doctors can receive notifications about upcoming appointments, with the facility to reschedule, if necessary.
- Laboratory and Tests Module: The ability to view laboratory results and other test reports (such as radiology records) online is a game-changer for physicians, who can then take decisions based on the data available from these tests and reports. The inclusion of a laboratory and tests module speeds up operations and leverages the capability of digital health by serving test reports in real-time, on any device, ready for the physician’s use.
- Billing and Insurance Module: A major productivity booster for any hospital, the billing and insurance module can cut through mountains of paperwork and slash processing times, thus rendering the benefit of effort and time saved to both hospital staff as well as patients. Having digital health records online ensures that there is no loss of bills and data, while maintaining data security. The billing and insurance module effectively manages registration and consulting fees, pharmacy bills, in-patient billing and laboratory bills, while the insurance module makes the process of insurance claims seamless and error-free.
Besides these modules, there are a number of others that support the effective running of the hospital. Prioritizing the modules relevant to the hospital is a crucial part of the planning process while considering a good hospital software solution.
Benefits of a Good Digital Health Solution
The benefits of an efficient hospital management system are manifold. Besides the marked increase in productivity on account of process automation, there are also the following advantages in implementing a hospital software solution:
- Better Inter-Department Communication: By integrating modules across departments in the hospital, the HMS ensures transparency across departments. Digital records captured from one module (such as laboratory report) can be made available to another module (such as the patient appointment screen), thus facilitating inter-department co-operation, ensuring optimization of resources, and resulting in fewer bottlenecks and less paperwork.
- Enhanced Patient Experience: Through notifications on upcoming appointments, the facility to order medication online, view digital health records (such as laboratory tests or radiology reports), and optimized billing and insurance processes, the patient experience at the hospital is greatly enhanced. The automation of processes frees up a significant amount of time, and transforms the hospital into a patient-oriented institution, giving doctors and staff more time for patient interaction, and thus resulting in better patient care.
A good hospital management system elevates a hospital from a mere dispenser of treatment to an institution that provides patient care, while ensuring that the needs of both patient and hospital staff are recognized and addressed effectively through digital health systems. Implementing the right HMS can radically transform the operations of a hospital and help pave the way for better healthcare.