Well-planned waiting spaces

Well-planned waiting spaces

Lobbies must be designed with much of the seating oriented perpendicular to the exterior view and the reception area, enabling patients to maintain visibility to the check-in area

By Manu Malhotra

Healthcare experiences are made up of more than moments of care—they also include the time spent in transition between those moments. One of the first spaces patients and families encounter, the waiting room is traditionally considered a necessary element in every hospital and medical facility, yet it rarely drives the planning process and seldom is subjected to a rigorous review. These transitional spaces where patients and their families wait are often uncomfortable and unappealing, increasing feelings of stress and negative mind sets.
Beside typically following codes and/or guidelines to determine the number of seats per whatever unit of the area it serves, and then trying to accommodate these particular physical needs of the population who will use it, we also need to see and understand waiting spaces from patient point of view which is often irritating, stressful, full of nervousness, anxiety and unease mainly caused by overcrowded nature of the space with little privacy, too much noise, lack of sightlines to information sources, minimal support for personal devices, uncomfortable and unappealing environments with few positive
distractions.

Create inviting spaces that reduce stress
Create inviting spaces that reduce stress We have been designing comfortable settings and hosting amenities by incorporating soothing materials, textures, colours, lighting, and views, along with a space for items such as bags, personal devices or beverage. It is important to understand and take care of people’s preferences for varying levels of noise and other stimuli, and create quiet zones where people can retreat from sources of noise as well as conversation areas where families can be together without any negative distraction. The lobbies must be designed with much of the seating oriented perpendicular to the exterior view and the reception area, enabling patients to maintain visibility to the check-in area, while also enjoying the views of nature.
One must critically analyse and select the style, material, and colour of the furniture to reflect the healthcare practice brand. Art galleries should be planned within the waiting spaces to display the artwork of local people and school kids and space for hanging community bulletin board should be incorporated that includes flyers about local hikes, flea markets, and other activities.

Provide for productive transitions
In order to design ideal waiting spaces one must understand its character as waiting spaces in a healthcare facility vary with departments such as – OPD waiting, IP waiting, ICU waiting & OP/ surgery waiting. While designing a healthcare facility, one must design a range of waiting spaces appropriate for varying activities, durations, organisational needs and to provide the required levels of privacy. Besides varying waiting types need to cater to varying age groups as well.
The seatings are planned with clear sightlines to doorways, clinician entrances, and information desks. One must critically analyse the duration and select modular and flexible furniture which allows for changing design and configuration and support the activities and postures appropriate for the duration of the wait.
ICU Waiting: ‘Vigil’ saps families not only of their energy but also their ability to make intelligent decisions, therefore ICU waiting shall be designed in order to allow the users to cope up with the experience. One should create a user-friendly comfortable and calming environment for the family within the maximum possible proximity to patients to easy access and at the same time give enough privacy to doctors and staff so that they are not disturbed. Apart from comfortable recliners one must provide additional spaces such as lockers for the personal belongings of family, blanket issue area, prayer area to provide spiritual support as well as a lounge area to provide social support and provision of café for overnight stays.
OP/ Surgery waiting area: Even routine surgeries can take several hours. For families, this waiting space is being designed with a variety of activities such as workstations, lockers for storing and retrieving personal items, social settings, consultation cum counseling rooms/ bays with the surgeon located just outside the surgery corridor for sharing visual information.

Make waiting active – Integrating different age groups
Patients often miss work for their appointments and helping them be productive can alleviate stress and reflect that the organisation value their time. Therefore beside providing free WiFi, one must make provision for individual desks or work tables and charging stations in the design. Also, one must design a variety of seating options such as – a cluster of chairs around a coffee table, a quiet space for professionals, and a child-friendly corner to keep kids entertained without bothering others. With 600 million people, nearly half of population under the age of 25, India is a country with maximum youth percentage and in order to cater the needs for the millennial, the waiting spaces are designed to facilitate working on laptops and do con calls in enclosed cubicles.
Organisations are measured and reimbursed on how well they deliver the patient experience. In an effort to increase their scores, many organisations are not only focusing on renovation or redesign of patient rooms or clinical spaces but on transition spaces as well. This has led the healthcare planners to rethink on waiting spaces in order to design to its maximum efficiency. By providing more choices and supporting a range of postures and activities, we are redesigning waiting spaces as adaptable and productive environments that provide better healthcare experiences.

The Blockchain Disruption

The Blockchain Disruption

How the technology can revolutionise healthcare by ensuring greater transparency and enhanced data security

By Team HR

The world is in the midst of a revolutionary technology: Blockchain. Invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, today blockchain technology has VCs investing over $1.4bn in the technology in the past three years. The World Economic Forum estimates 10% of the global GDP is to be stored using blockchain by 2027.
In simple words, blockchain technology is a technology that creates immutable and distributable data records which are shared peer to peer between networked database systems. Blockchain relies on established cryptographic techniques to allow each participant in a network to interact without preexisting trust between the parties. The financial and healthcare sectors are expected to greatly benefit from blockchain. The banks that use this technology save $8–12 billion annually, point out reports.
In healthcare, blockchain can be leveraged to revamp the sector and make it more cost effective, ensure data security and reduce cost. A paper “Blockchain: Opportunities for health care” by Deloitte Consulting LLP, describes blockchain as a new model for health information exchanges. This technology could provide new models for healthcare business.
Says Dr Harish Pillai, CEO – Aster Hospitals & Clinics, India, Aster DM Healthcare, “Till date, 40% of healthcare data is unrecorded or are filled with error that misleads the information, whereby blockchain will help you to solve all these issues to un-scattered patient crucial data, streamline overall managerial process, provide easy access to information, remove outdated system with the latest technology. Some of the key advantages of block chain in healthcare are:
Data security: Blockchain ensures security of patient data. Says Mohua Sengupta, EVP & Global Head of Services, 3i Infotech, “While no technology is 100% secure, blockchain is definitely more secure than the other technologies we use today. Blockchain prevents unauthorised individuals from accessing patients’ confidential data.”
Patient updated data: With blockchain technology, patients are able to upload their data and store it securely for future use without being worried about data security or without having to overwrite the earlier data, since all data is time stamped in blockchain.

Mohua Sengupta, EVP & Global Head of Services, 3i Infotech

Sharing data and provide consent to share: In the world of connected healthcare, patients can easily provide their consent to share personal data with various stakeholders as they deem fit, and sharing across nodes is also easy.
Says Dr KM Cherian, Chairman and CEO, Frontier Lifeline Hospital, “Each member in the blockchain network has a secret key and a public key cryptographically linked with each identifier. The private key would enable each member to unlock the details relevant to them. Important information is exchanged between different systems in health sector, the current system meets failure often when it has to handle the data efficiently and to provide the required data to clinicians and patients when they demand.”
Direct billing: The blockchain system enables the corresponding accounts and finance department to do direct billing and secured money transactions without the involvement of any third party.
Claim processing simplified: Claim processing involves multiple parties, including third parties, and hence clearing a claim securely takes time. With blockchain technology, multiple stakeholders can be connected as separate and secured nodes, making approvals and validations easier and hence claim processing is faster and simpler.
Sharing public health data even across borders: “Today when the world is struggling to address the cross-border movement of communicable diseases, blockchain comes as a much-needed solution to address the matter securely, without having to compromise patients’ confidentiality,” says Sengupta.
Drug traceability: During the launch of a blockchain-based 360-degree ecosystem for healthcare, Ritu Tyagi, Head of Global Marketing, Healthureum, said, “Drug traceability is a major issue and we believe blockchain technology will keep a track of every stage of supply chain system and easy drug traceability.” With the help of blockchain, it will be easier to track the transaction nodes between the key participants like drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists, medical representatives- thus securing the product information, combating the problem of counterfeit drugs, thus contributing to overall drug traceability on the smooth road.
In the long term, a nationwide blockchain network for electronic medical records may improve efficiencies and support better health outcomes for patients.

However, there are various factors influencing the slow adoption of block chain in healthcare.
Major cultural shift – “Although the healthcare sector is slowly getting digitised, healthcare companies still rely on paperwork for many processes. Therefore, it would be difficult for the companies

Dr K M Cherian, Chairman and CEO, Frontier Lifeline Hospital

to shift to electronic health records on a short notice. For any industry, altering consumer’s behaviour and changing their routine functions is challenging,” says Dr Pillai.
Healthcare is distributed – At present, insurance payers and healthcare providers are not in sync when it comes to handling records. Therefore, it would be very difficult for them to adopt blockchain technology.
Unwillingness to disclose data- There are several cases where the hospitals are not willing to share their exact cost data with insurance companies. “The prime reason for this is insurance companies charge different rates for different patients,” says Dr Pillai.
Only when multiple organisations use it: “It is not just in healthcare, like any new path breaking technology, blockchain is taking its time to be centre of any business. Also, using blockchain technology is advantageous only when there are multiple organisations on the blockchain. This is making the adoption of blockchain even slower. Unlike most new technologies that ensure a first mover’s advantage, blockchain doesn’t,” says Sengupta.
It is only when multiple stakeholders are on a blockchain or on related blockchain, even from different sectors, that the advantages of blockchain technology can be unlocked. For instance, if we take claims processing as a use case, then maximum benefit can be unlocked only when multiple hospitals, health insurance companies, banks, TPAs are all on the blockchain and talking. And it’s a challenge for multiple organisations to take the leap at the same time.
“We expect to see more active participation from the regulators and the Government into the blockchain space to define regulations and provide some impetus for organisations to jump on to blockchain bandwagon,” says Sengupta.
According to Hyperledger’s survey, 42.9% of healthcare organisations suppose that the interoperability of electronic health records will help for faster blockchain implementation; with 28.6% of respondents ready to use this technology in care settings today. There will be increasingly more opportunity to deploy blockchain applications in healthcare. “However, there are also merits to centralisation, including speed, privacy, and more. Knowing when to opt for centralisation vs. decentralisation will be the key,” says Dr Pillai.

MTaI welcomes ‘National Medical Devices Promotion Council’

Medical Technology Association of India, which represents leading global research-based medical technology companies, has welcomed the central Government’s decision to set up a National Medical Devices Promotion Council (NMDPC) and boost the medical device industry in India.
The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, has pointed out that the NMDPC, would achieve convergence as medical devices were previously being covered under various Ministries.

HealthAssure launches a new business unit

HealthAssure , one of India’s foremost aggregator of primary health-tech services, has announced their expansion into the B2C market to build a high-quality network ecosystem in the primary care sector for the consumers.
HealthAssure brings a deep understanding of the Indian healthcare environment and provides solutions that bridge the present gaps in primary care services prevailing in India. In the past seven years, the company has successfully positioned its flagship services in the corporate and insurance sector and hence realises a great potential in the B2C space as well. To speed up its growth and drive sharper focus, the company is creating two verticals – the insurance business and the consumer products group with individual business heads and P/Ls.
The insurance business which includes PPHC, tele MER claims will be headed by Ninad Raje, Director & CIO, HealthAssure. And the consumer business including corporate products, insurance OPD, B2B2C alliances and Direct to Consumer (D2C) retail products will be headed by Ankush Chatterjee, as Director, HealthAssure in addition to his responsibilities as the CMO. And Delly D’Souza takes on a bigger role as the Chief Network Officer.

A new cell culture facility for research on cancer cells

A new cell culture facility for research on cancer cells

As a part of its stated focus on research, SRM AP, Amaravati has launched its first new cell culture facility to pioneer bio-medical research on cancer cells. This facility will house the latest equipment for related to applications like cellular culture, drug delivery, cell imaging and cell cytotoxicity.
Dr Anil K Suresh, Principal Investigator of the Cell Culture Laboratory, and an Associate Professor at the Department of Biotechnology, spearheaded the acquisition of lab equipment such as the Type 2 biosafety cabinet, CO2 incubators, cell counting machine, inverted and upright microscopes, table-top centrifuge, – 20 and 4 degree refrigerators and cellstorage facility. The equipment was procured and funded through the “Early Career Research Award’ grant of the Government’s Department of Science and Technology in response to a proposal submitted by Dr Suresh.
“At this facility the higher end epi-fluorescence microscope will in particular facilitate diagnosis and cure of several life threatening diseases like cancer (solid tumour) and leukemia,” said Dr Suresh, adding, “This is possible because the filters along with engineered nanoparticles pinpoint abnormalities and assign treatments with greater accuracy and efficiency.” These technologies with current limitations are not yet available for medical and pharmaceutical use because further intensive research is required before practical applications emerge. In such a context, research facilities like the one set up at SRM AP will help to bridge the gap between technology and actual implementation.

Fujifilm organises ‘Together Against Breast Cancer

Reinforcing its commitment towards being a socially responsible brand, Fujifilm India Pvt Ltd, a leader in the development and application of imaging and information innovations to healthcare technologies, conducted Amulet- TAB (Together Against Breast Cancer) that aims to trigger behavioural changes and to build awareness on the fact that early detection of breast cancer can increase the rate of survival.
The conference acted as an interface to enable an intellectual session focused on the following topics: Breast cancer in India, Future of imaging, role of AI and journey of hope. It also brought together experts from the healthcare industry as well as breast cancer survivors.

Motherhood Hospital attempts Guinness Book of World records

Motherhood Hospitals, a network of women & children’s hospital, has joined hands with Spherule Foundation (an NGO that works on various development and educational programme for women -empowerment and health) in attempting Guinness Book of World Records by taking the initiative of educating adolescent girls on the importance of menstrual health and hygiene at Kendriya Vidyalaya. Around 1,700 people was the largest group of adolescent girls, boys, men and women present under one roof to gather awareness on menstrual health and hygiene.
Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, gynecologist & obstetrician from Motherhood Hospitals, Kharadi, Pune, addressed the importance of menstrual hygiene, breaking myths that accompany menstruation for 38 min 8 sec. This initiative will be the Guinness Book of World Records for largest group of adolescent girls, boys, men and women present together for awareness of menstrual health and hygiene.

Siemens Healthineers introduces Cios Fit

Siemens Healthineers introduces Cios Fit

Cios Fit-a multidisciplinary mobile C-arm ready for demanding environments, was introduced recently by Siemens Healthineers, setting a benchmark in mobile C-arms. Cios Fit is designed to help in improving quality of care, achieve efficient workflows, and profit from high uptime; thereby reducing avoidable costs. It is built for the tough job in the OR where the equipment needs to deliver high quality imaging, be simplified in its usage and robust to last for long; while ensuring price point is not exceeded.
With Cios Fit-powerful imaging technology, the surgeons are able to maintain consistency with crystal clear images of anatomical structures, implants, screws and devices resulting in accurate treatment and thus improving patient experience. Dr Nanjappa KM, Cauvery Uroderm Center, at Kalyan, near Mumbai, where Cios Fit was recently tested shared his experience while performing an endo-urology procedure. He mentioned, “Cios Fit has an exceptional image quality. The touch screen display and the printer with the machine is a good add on feature for documentation. Moreover, the pulse mode of the machine is so well integrated with the software, that the dynamic images in this mode are very smooth, without any ghosting and lags.”

ILBS & FIND kick off capacity-building activities

The Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) has recently convened an orientation workshop for the HEAD-start (Hepatitis C Elimination through Access to Diagnostics) project. With support and guidance from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, ILBS and FIND are preparing to implement the Unitaid-funded HEAD-Start project in the NCR area.
The HEAD-Start project to enhance availability and accessibility of hepatitis C testing will be executed in a phased manner across five hospitals identified by the DGHS: Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Maharshi Valmiki Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. A physician and a microbiologist from each hospital have been nominated as nodal officers for the project.

80% rise in students aspiring for medicine abroad

The number of students who applied for the mandatory eligibility certificate from the MCI to study medicine abroad almost doubled in the year 2017-18 from 2016-17. This is being backed by the official data in response to an RTI filed to MCI in October 2018.
The number of applications received in the year 2017-18 were 18,383. as against the number of applications for eligibility certificate received by the MCI in the previous year 2016-17 which were 10,555. “The key reason for this is the lack of medical seats in India. There is a total of approximately 60,000 medical seats that is being offered by Government and private colleges for medical aspirants. Also, higher awareness levels of the overseas colleges, more affordable fees compared to Indian private colleges, curriculum aligned to international standards and better global growth opportunities are other reasons why students prefer to study MBBS abroad,” said Saju Bhaskar, President & Founder of an overseas MCI recognised medical university, Texila American University.