Pandemic and new technology
The article of Peter Konovalov, Director of Doctor Eleks, for Lviv IT Cluster
2020 has been marked by dramatic changes in the world economy.
IT is one of the lucky industries. With remote working processes already in place, it’s one of the few sectors that was relatively well-prepared for the pandemic. Remote work and reporting processes had already been streamlined, so the day-to-day wasn’t all that different when global lockdowns kicked in. In the IT field, teams often work in different cities, so they’re used to collaborating remotely. And, although the transition to 100% remote working was a little challenging, we’re pleased to say that we managed to do so without any significant issues.
Once quarantine was introduced, Doctor Eleks immediately began exploring ways of helping customers make the most of our software. Product innovation followed lengthy team discussions – the first of which resulted in the development of a solution for online consultations.
Online consultations offer a safe means of communicating with patients and continuing to provide medical services during the lockdown. The solution was quick to connect and integrate with Doctor Eleks’ existing processes and, as a result, a physician can now conduct online consultations through a phone or a PC. And there is one more convenience for a patient, he can not only consult remotely but also pay for a consultation just from home with automatically generated payment link.
Summarizing, Doctor Eleks solution was aimed at achieving two objectives:
⚪ To save patients time. In many cases, follow-up consultations at a physical practice are A physician could just as easily provide straightforward case advice online. Skipping the visit to the doctors means that patients don’t have to change their schedules, postpone work meetings or cancel evening workouts. They can even receive medical advice while they’re not in the country.
⚪ To manage doctors’ schedules more efficiently. Doctors can normally receive calls and messages at any time of day, but it’s vital for them to be able to maintain work/life balance. Our app allows a patient to book an online consultation according to the doctor’s working hours.
Through developing online consultation functionality within the Doctor Eleks solution, we managed to tick both boxes.
Of course, this functionality isn’t always appropriate depending on the specialty of a practitioner and the nature of a condition. But a number of specialists have successfully provided diagnosis and treatment plans to patients from the comfort of their own homes. So, by innovating the Doctor Eleks solution we’ve been able to help both medical staff and patients follow self-isolation and social distancing guidelines.
Pre-lockdown, we’d implemented a project for online medical certification. This proved extremely useful for medical staff in Lviv and the wider region since, beforehand, the process was time-consuming and complex – requiring a person to be physically present at an institution to submit the application documents.
We implemented the project in conjunction with the Department of Health for the Lviv Regional State Administration and, thanks to this initiative, since the start of 2019, medical staff in the Lviv region have been able to easily apply for certification online, through the Doctor Eleks portal. This relatively simple idea has saved time and enabled people – even in the midst of a pandemic – to feel safe.
INFORMATISATION OF PUBLIC HOSPITALS
Public health institutions are now actively leveraging technology, and healthcare reform has provided a strong impetus for informatization. Healthcare institutions can now purchase equipment that enables them to work with medical information systems, thus, patient information management and reporting can now go online. This isn’t an instant or straightforward process, but it’s a necessary means of modernizing the medical industry.
Doctor Eleks was proudly among the first to develop the functionality required by this new healthcare reform. Last year, primary care hospitals began operating in a new way, and this year, secondary and tertiary care clinics have adopted new ways of working.
The most important thing we’ve realized is that, for medical informatization to work, we must maintain constant communication with healthcare professionals – i.e. provide them with instructions, explanations, and information about deadlines. Public healthcare employees have a lot to overcome with the transition to a different mode of working, and it’s our job to help them navigate the process quickly and effortlessly. As such, Doctor Eleks’ support service provides each and every healthcare professional with on-demand advice – via a phone call, email, or message.
To enable us to provide the most helpful service, we have also surveyed over 35 000 users and collected feedback and suggestions on how to optimize functionality. In doing so, we’ve been happy to hear mostly positive feedback and constructive suggestions and we’re thankful for the time and effort that our users have invested in sending their suggestions to us. Doctor Eleks’ development team is currently working on implementing user suggestions within the Doctor Eleks solution so that we can develop software functionality in line with medical reform requirements and user expectations.
TRANSITIONING TO 100% REMOTE WORKING
The task of informatization kicked off in spring this year, which meant that all work had to be completed remotely. And, since we’re not yet out of the woods, Doctor Eleks continues to encourage its team to work from home, which has had the positive byproduct of increased productivity.
The Doctor Eleks team works from four cities: Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil, and Dnipro. Thus, remote communication is nothing new for us. During the early transition to remote working, each small team had an online meeting each day for the first two weeks and a meeting involving all employees once a month. It proved very efficient in helping us reorganize workload.
In the later stages, we reduced the number of meetings and our team members were able to efficiently organize their workspaces and processes at home.
A comfortable home workspace is crucial in terms of productivity. As such, team members were able to take their office chair, computer monitors and laptops home with them from the start of the pandemic. ELEKS also hosted workshops and lectures on how to get the most from remote work – and how to navigate lockdown. Since the beginning of the outbreak, our people haven’t been left alone in dealing with it. The whole team has been kept informed on company changings, and any external factors which might impact them.
QUARANTINE AND CLIENTS
Doctor Eleks believes in mutually beneficial cooperation. When the quarantine was introduced, we provided each client with access to additional temporary licenses for free. Most of them took advantage of this offer, which allowed a percentage of healthcare sector employees to work remotely.
Product implementation and the training of clinic specialists was conducted online. However, we let our clients decide how they wished to receive support. Once quarantine was weakened, our specialists visited medical institutions upon request but, of course, all on-site visits were conducted in-line with public safety measures – i.e. a private room was set aside, public transport was avoided, and other hygiene and safety precautions were observed. Moreover, any Doctor Eleks specialist, who was asked to conduct a client visit, was only encouraged to do so with their full consent.
ADVANCED PREPARATION AND ADAPTABILITY
Doctor Eleks working practice that has helped us effectively organize work under lockdown is a system of technical support. Thanks to years of experience, these new conditions haven’t affected our support processes in any way. Every user of HIS Doctor Eleks, who has a technical support agreement, has a number of ways of getting consultation or help. Our clients have access to an issue management system, the support is given through the whole week – on both weekdays and weekends. We have group-chats with clients for consultations and immediate requests.
We have the call-center as well. Where we observed the huge growth of calls right with the start of the quarantine, which doubled compared to the last year.
As I mentioned, we also conducted a survey at quarantine time in order to get feedback from users. It helped us not only in adding improvements to the system but also in understanding which information is lacking to the users. After that we added video-instructions for the users, we planned the series of updates basing on propositions from the survey.
UNITED IN ADVERSITY
Doctor Eleks is a part of the wider ELEKS group – a large international firm that has managed to adapt to quarantine and the unfolding global economic crisis with no impact to its customers.
The company’s management team has kept a firm focus on the health and wellbeing of its employees during this time, making every effort to keep the team up to speed through regular meetings, workshops, online morning yoga classes, and lectures in the evening. At the outset of the pandemic, each team member was provided with masks, gloves, and disinfectants, to help them stay safe during the lockdown. What’s more, all ELEKS employees are eligible for corporate health insurance.
The steps taken here have helped team members find a sense of calm. Our people feel truly cared for and, in such strange and challenging times, this has been absolutely crucial.
Original source: https://itcluster.lviv.ua/en/itid/itid-lviv-12-reloaded/