CX Speak

Boosting Patient Experience through Better Technology: an Exclusive Interview with Mr. Ishaq Quadri, CIO, KIMS Healthcare Management Ltd.

Customer Guru has taken this initiative of sharing the experiences of successful Customer Experience (CX) leaders across India to inspire and guide professionals in adopting and inculcating a customer-centric approach in their organizations. We believe that CX is the only way forward for Indian businesses to be more sustainable and successful globally. Hence, we are on the mission to spread awareness of how CX should be the number one priority for businesses.

In continuation of the series of interviews that we have had with top-notch CX experts across India, we have another gem of an interview with Mr. Ishaq Quadri. Mr. Quadri is the Chief Information Officer at KIMS Healthcare Management Ltd, a leading center of pioneering medical work and research in India. The objective of this hospital chain is to evolve a single point model where all possible kinds of treatments and care services can be made available. With an experience of over 20 years in the Information Technology (IT) industry, Mr. Quadri has engaged himself in focusing on providing better healthcare through IT. Owing to his expertise in IT Strategy and Project Management, Mr. Quadri led an initiative at KIMS for entirely digitizing the patient management system.

In this candid interview with Customer Guru, Mr. Quadri talks about the inception of the project, the challenges that his team faced during and after the adoption phase, and the solutions that were used to overcome each of these challenges. He shares the impact that technology can have in making a patient’s experience smooth, and thus, delivering great CX.

We invite our readers to comment and ask questions on similar challenges that they might be facing in their organizations when it comes to setting up such projects in order to deliver a great experience to the customers. This article is framed in a question-answer format; please feel free to share your feedback on the article too.

Please tell us more about the Electronic Medical Record project that you successfully executed.

The project was about digitizing patient health record by way of total adoption of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) for Inpatient care and using Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) for Drug Administration by Nursing. This called for overhauling our entire infrastructure and making the EMR accessible in the remotest part of the hospital. It also involved transforming our manual workflows to automated ones, training all the clinical staff extensively on every little detail, and readying the system to pave the way for a smooth transition to online recording. KIMS is arguably the only Multi Specialty Tertiary Care Center in India where the drug administration is also happening on the system.

To ensure a smooth adoption of the digitization process, an exhaustive set of activities were pursued. In terms of technology, a successful implementation of wireless technology was adopted and 105 wi-fi access points were enabled. Further, around 120 laptops on trolleys were made available. Extensive training sessions and comprehensive training videos were provided to around 1000 clinical staff to enable them to use the system effectively. Around 25 nursing forms were created that mapped to 200 paper-based forms. As a supplementary endeavor, all the old physical patient records, numbering 1.4 crore pages, have also been scanned and digitized. Moreover, the performance improvisation of the system, both load time and clinical summary improvisation, were monitored.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in making this project a success?

There were numerous challenges we faced cutting across technology, to data, to process, to procedures. But the biggest challenge any IT project faces, especially in a hospital environment, is the user resistance to adoption of technology or the trust deficit between IT and clinical users.

The main concerns quoted by doctors on being averse to the complete adoption of CPOE were the paucity of time for the patient load they handle, the safety of the patient, non-user friendly solutions, and inadequacy and incompatibility with the workflow of medical practice. The concerns being raised were all valid and were seen as an opportunity to make the system more robust.

Adoption of technology is critical to the success of any project. How did you ensure that the users adopted this technological change?

All concerns that were raised by the doctors were addressed. A list of activities was undertaken to ensure that the transition was not difficult. For instance, the infrastructure was beefed up to address the concern of accessibility and availability of systems. The entire workflow was mapped to the digital platform to make the use of the system easy. Effective communication and extensive training, coupled with a solid management made the system more convenient. Finally, pilot usage and testimonials by Champion Users (doctors) helped to adopt CPOE smoothly.

What role do you think technology has to play in delivering a good patient experience? How has your EMR project helped you in this endeavor?

Technology has penetrated and permeated into every aspect of our lives. It has come a long way from being a mere support tool of some data crunching to being the business itself. What has happened in the case of the healthcare sector is that the customer is IT enabled and demands more transparency and a better and timely service. The benefits of the IP EMR project from a patient’s perspective is that their trust in the brand improves when they see accurate, consistent, reliable, and timely information being shared. The staff’s ability to communicate with the patient and bystander improves with speedy access to critical information – be it care related or lab results; movement of files between departments is a thing of past now.

One of the most unhappy experiences patients have in a hospital is when they are leaving and the discharge is delayed. However, IP EMR addresses this area by way of speedy documentation of Discharge Summary.

What would be your word of advice for a brand which is looking to embark on the journey of customer centricity?

My advice is simple – revisit and redesign all your workflows and processes from a customer/consumer perspective. Brands that are looking to become customer-centric must focus on two aspects.

The first is customer engagement. This includes very effective exchanges happening throughout the customer lifecycle. All encounters and transactions need to have an aspect of listening and reaching out. This can be achieved by training staff to be courteous, listening to the customer with an objective to help, reaching out, and seeking feedback.

The second is customer convenience. The includes improving the overall experience by way of cutting down process time, culling away unnecessary steps/approvals and reducing the manual effort. Overall, it is imperative to make the customer’s journey highly comfortable and very convenient to the customer.

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