Call Centre for Hospitals- An m-inclusion initiative by JPN Apex trauma Centre, AIIMS
In another first for India & possibly the world, an integrated Telecentre started operations for JPN Apex Trauma Centre on 2 January 2010 (TeleCenter number: 011-40401010). Although Telecentres are common in commercial industries like telecom, the concept has been alien to hospitals. Hospitals usually have reception desks which manage general enquiries and appointments. An integrated telecentre on the other hand manages extensive backend administrative chores and services besides providing a host of patient related activities on a common platform. In public funded hospitals like AIIMS, an integrated telecentre can provide immense cost savings besides revolutionizing healthcare management and delivery. Due to the presence of a mature computerized hospital information system (HIS), JPNATC was in a unique position to leverage the advantages of a traditional outsourced telecentre and innovatively wrap a multitude of healthcare services around this model to provide unparalleled benefits in patient care. Why was the project started: 1. Lack of support and follow up with trauma victims: There is no support structure in place to provide information and continuity of care for trauma patients even in cities like Delhi Also, patients with trauma usually come from far distances to the hospital for specialized treatment and it is a major socio-economic burden to come for follow up visits. 2. Lack of accountability in governmental hospitals: There is a general lack of accountability in governmental health care delivery including hospitals. This has a cascading effect on quality of heathcare delivered Target group: All trauma victims/ general public as well as patients treated/ being treated at JPN Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS CHALLENGES: 1. Acceptability of the concept: Acceptability of the concept of a telecentre for hospitals was low, especially as in its present scope, this was without precedence. A major challenge was to convince all stakeholders about the feasibility and potential of the project. 2. Changing the work culture: In the present form, there was lack of accountability in the system and having a system where every process step was documented was not easily accepted by people. 3. Quality of patient databases: As the whole system of telcentre depended on accuracy and completeness of patient databases, especially in respect to mobile numbers, maintaining consistent quality and accuracy was a major challenge in the implementation of the project. To ensure accuracy, multiple checks were introduced in the system. 4. Integration of various databases: As JPNATC has various dipartite databases such as EMR database, biometric attendance database, registry databse, administrative database etc, integrating them into a common fronend was a major challenge which was successfully overcome. As our project shows, in public funded hospitals like AIIMS, an integrated telecentre can provide immense tangible & intangible benefits’. This model can be replicated in all public or private hospitals and can revolutionize healthcare management and delivery. The beauty of the concept is that it is completely scalable right upto the national level. One central telecentre can provide all patient related and back end activities to a group of hospitals right upto the national level providing huge economies of scale as well transforming health care delivery
What we deliver?
Content: Schedules, appointment time, approximate wait times, Intermediary for doctors, helpline, backed operations (see below) Services: reminder service, appointment booking, universal 24 X 7 call centre support
Why is the project unique?
Yes: 1. Patient services: With the main thrust on improving the quality of patient care, the telecentre will manage all appointments and follow-up of patients for the whole of JPNATC. The telecentre will also answer queries on all admitted patients and will provide information on all diagnostic & therapeutic services available, the procedure and pricing of getting a specific service or test done at JPNATC and the approximate wait times. This information may help in empowering the patients coming to JPNATC & obviate the need to approach anyone physically for information. 2. Completely outsourced and scalable: This frees up valuable real estate at JPNATC besides potentially decreasing the overheads like electricity, parking and toilets which an on-site facility would use. Being completely scalable, the telecentre can quickly ramp up operations in line with increased demand and in case of disasters. 3. Professional operations: The telecentre will provide best-in-class service to clients with quality control at every stage and 100% call recording for auditing and quality purposes. 4. Research: Research is one of the key mandate of AIIMS and the telecentre will facilitate research by ensuring follow-up of patients, administering surveys and ensuring authenticity of data. 5. Personnel job responsibility management: Job responsibilities have been defined for all staff in computer facility as well as technicians in department of Neurosurgery, JPNATC. The telecentre will administer a checklist telephonically to the above employees at the end of each shift (shift hand off) to ensure compliance and accountability. 6. Centralized help desk & support: The telecentre will take over the responsibility of logging & initial troubleshooting software & hardware problems all over JPNATC and this will help in providing professional 24 X 7 support services at JPNATC 7. Inventory Management & support: It is envisaged that the telecentre will act as the single window for all civil, mechanical, and equipment related issues for JPNATC. The telecentre can provide completely audit trail for any breakdown or even and follow up with the vendor and end user to ensure optimal utilization of resources. 8. Network & Security management: The telecentre will actively monitor JPNATC’s local area network (LAN) and po-actively detect any threats and events in the network. 9. Biometric attendance management: All Casualty (ER) staff, computer facility staff & sulabh employees at JPNATC are under mandatory biometric attendance system and the telecentre will manage the biometric system remotely to ensure compliance and accountability. To ensure access to the system, the telecentre number is being advertised on every discharge summary/ transfer summary of inpatients. Also, around 18 vandal proof phones have been placed all over JPNATC in public areas so that patients and relatives can avail all the services comfortably.
JPN Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS
Dr Deepak Agrawal