Project for capacity building of Healthcare workers in Information Technology
Dr S B Gogia
Low Cost Solution for High End facility
Introduction and Background
Doctors in India are overworked. Not only are they seeing too many patients, but they do not have enough supporting staff who could small jobs of counselling and documentation of their patients history, examination as well as reports. Computers can make their job easier and more efficient
IT in Healthcare so far has not succeeded as much as it can. One reason for this is the lack of suitable personnel who know both (Computers and usage of specialized medical software as well as are familiar with Medical terms and workflows.).
Doctors would like that the non essential and repetitive part of their work like documentation, maintaining the register, filling up forms with the patients name, age, sex etc to be taken over by secretarial staff. Ideally each form for a specialized test like X Ray or Biopsy (ie histopathology) needs to be accompanied by a detailed history and examination. However in practice, this is rarely done due to time constrains. A good and efficient EMR software e.g. Medic Aid which our sister organization is providing - can do that. But knowing what to click on and when has to be learnt for all the screens it provides and many of them are for use by a particular speciality or situation. Thus initial training and orientation to its use is required which again the doctors do not have time for.
SATHI has now taken the lead in bridging the gap through capacity building. We introduce Vocational Training for IT in Healthcare. Our efforts are targeted at youth from less privileged areas. Once the work force is ready in quantity and quality the growing gap will start filling
Many NGOs are working in urban slums and rehabilitation colonies to provide various types of vocational education to the local young crowd in an effort to make them employable. Two such NGOs we recently came across were EDUCAN at Madanpur Khadar in South Delhi and SAKSHAM BHARTI in Raghubir Nagar in West Delhi .
Among other very impressive activities, both are already providing computer training to the locals at extremely low rates.
We believe that this is an opportunity whereby we use the existing strengths of these organizations – in the form of availability of suitable facilities, staff and computers in a location team with youth from colonies which are yet to fully experience the fruits of development.
SATHI already has a panel of staff who can train the students already undergoing computer training at the above facilities. Just a little push to Medical Software is required. Since the persons are unwilling to pay, we are providing them the training at existing low rates. As and when a job offer comes, we shall charge a small amount from the employer and provide them these persons.
The SATHI Plan
In briefly, we are restating that : -
There is a genuine need to train personnel as supportive staff which shall work with doctors. This will help bring efficiency and reach of doctors to concentrate on their core ability to provide care. The supportive staff shall man their computers, provide counselling, and look after the front office etc.. A genuine need for such staff has been expressed by many doctors who are keen to use computers to aid their practice but feel it problematic. Although the software will make their work efficient, some training is required to get the best results and the initial learning curve to reach that level may actually interfere with care provision.
Providing training in medical software – that which the healthcare facilities shall utilize is part of SATHIs capabilities, matching with its vision and goals.
Such a training will increase the employability of teenagers and young adults in rehabilitation colonies and might wean some of them away from less desirable activities like sex, violence and drugs which are fairly prevalent in such areas.
Once a person is trained, he or she shall be assigned to a manpower pool which will be assigning them to various clinics and hospitals to wrok as data entry operators with the better ones – who have a good knowledge of English and conversation abilities can work as receptionists. Some of the others can upgrade to other fields in computer software and hardware.
Our Training program
We have taken students who have already undergone previous 3 months training in the basic course at the same venue. We are not charging any extra fees from our side but shall be paying our own staff extra to provide the training. The charges shall be partly recouped by deducting from the first one or two salaries of the personnel as and when they get employment.
Certificates shall be provided at the end of the training program with the certificates being mandated by Indian Association for Medical Informatics (IAMI – see www.iami.org.in). A small cost for the certificate – part of which shall be reimbursed to IAMI.
Training of the first batch of 10 students has already started on a thrice a week basis. More are expected. However our initial test to check their basic knowledge of computers showed some weakness which means that we shall have to work harder to get the desired output.
Based on this the course plan is : -
First month – reinforce the basics so that they have an understanding and capability to use Medical databases. The emphasis her would be on knowledge of Networking and Internet, Medical Databases, user logins and privileges, Installing software, troubleshooting and hardware maintenance.
Second Month – Introduction and use of Medic Aid ( www.amlamed.com/medicaid.html ) – how to register a patient, take history and examination, Search a record.
Third Month -means for better and faster data entry, understanding medical terms. Directed and one to one sessions will be given to working with the customized and special screens for a particular speciality say Ophthalmology for those who are desirous or already working with such facilities.
What do we need support for ?
1. Some funds to provide for
2. More staff
3. Internet facilities and better computers at the location
4. Help in marketing the program through
6. Inform doctors that such a facility exists
7. Reaching to other places in Delhi and later across other towns through sister organizations and NGOs