The Magic of Breakthrough Technology: A Case of Disrupting the Pediatric Space

The Magic of Breakthrough Technology: A Case of Disrupting the Pediatric Space

By Abhinav Shashank, CEO and co-founder, Innovaccer.

Children have entirely distinctive needs as compared to adults. Care is delivered to them in a manner entirely different than adults by care teams that hardly ever double-up as providers for the elderly.

Abhinav Shashank

In
fact, we hear numerous stories of organizations that transformed their care
delivery by fabricating children-specific strategies and have been really
successful in doing so. However, very few experts ever discuss how little
thought we put when it comes to developing healthcare technologies tailored to the
specific needs of pediatric organizations.

Do pediatric organizations have the
technology to succeed?

By
2017, more than 95 percent of hospitals had certified EHR technology. However,
these EHRs are heavily adult care centric and may not include measures that are
specific to pediatric populations. In fact, in a recent research piece
conducted on 9,000 pediatric patient safety reports, it was found that about 36 percent of reports were related to EHR
usability issues.

EHR
usability has been one of the underrated issues that we need to address if we
are to build an efficient pediatric landscape. This can be attributed to the
fact that even a slight misjudgment in comprehending the information stored in
EHRs can substantially increase the chances of errors and adverse events. The
issue is all lot serious for pediatric organizations where patients are
extremely sensitive to the care provided to them at any given point of time.
Complicated EHRs can do no good to neither children nor pediatricians.

Why is the EHR usability valid ask for
pediatricians?

Infants
born prematurely have different needs as compared to completely healthy
infants. A 5-year old kid faces problems that a 13-year old teenager does not.
Vaccination once missed can prove costly in the future. A child with Type 1
diabetes may require care plans entirely dissimilar to other children.
Theoretically and practically, each child is unique: from a prematurely-born
child weighing less than a kilogram to an obese 105 kg 14-year-old. The EHR
should be able to ingest all such details with perfection and should provide as
many measures that pediatricians may require.

Consider
twin siblings born on the same day, having an identical vaccination cycle, and
same last name. However, they may react differently to various treatments and
have different weight or gender. If they need some medication, they might be
given different mg/dose prescription. Amidst all this, the care teams have the
onus of ensuring that each exercise is taken care of with utmost precision. For
that, they need powerful EHR systems and alert systems, among other things. In
other words, organizations need advanced decision support systems, an ask that
is only valid to deliver value-focused care.

Doctors need reliable EHRs to understand
the complete picture

More
often than not, there are only two sources of information during any given care
episode — data stored in the EHR and patient’s own words. However,
pediatricians cannot expect much support from their young and very young
patients. For infants, it gets all lot difficult since it gets even harder to
comprehend their symptoms.

For
such patients, EHRs need to tell the complete picture each time lest errors are
bound to happen. Goes without saying, children are more vulnerable to such
errors as compared to any other patient population. Ideally, pediatric
organizations need to have extremely robust, agile, and accurate EHR systems.
However, the situation is far from ideal even at this age and time.

Pediatric organizations need custom-made
EHRs and IT infrastructure

To
begin with, EHRs should have an extremely user-friendly interface, support for
adding or converting charts locally for specific syndromes, extremely precise
dosage range, and capabilities to identify missed or pending vaccination. They
should strictly have a pediatric-specific threshold for each symptom,
treatment, or trait, while also having a feature for identifying copied and
newly-added records. Alerts, as discussed earlier, for potentially wrong data
entry should also be a default feature.

Coupled
with a layer of advanced analytics system on top of their EHRs, pediatricians
can successfully navigate the challenges as they come their way. If pediatric
organizations have a system in place to send regular immunization and wellness
visit reminders, they can both increase adherence rates and reduce potential
risks.

Role-based
access to sensitive patient information and automatic triggers for varying
health trends can further play a substantial role in making care more efficient
for the young. All such steps combined can help us in realizing the dream of
creating the “Internet of Healthcare,” where every stakeholder is connected
with each other and there is a seamless exchange of information at all places
in real-time.

The road ahead

As
we embark upon the journey of creating an “Internet of Healthcare” where
everyone would be connected with everyone, we first need to have quality IT
infrastructure that can make this possible. EHRs are the building block for
such a system. It’s time we add the human touch to such technological
solutions, and take the first step in the direction of reinventing EHRS.


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