The pandemic has shone a spotlight on hospitals. As frontliners battled to stave off infections, years of antiquated systems and processes were forced to transform nearly overnight.

Thailand’s healthcare IT and primary care are the top three sectors most in need of innovation, according to the Ministry of Public Health’s eHealth strategy. But how can healthcare providers monitor costs without keeping a lid on innovation?

Thiam Hwa Lim, Healthcare Director and Industry lead for SAP Southeast Asia, discusses how data can help organisations enhance patient care while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Monitoring costs

Hospitals typically use multiple systems to capture costs, from electronic medical records to lab systems, says Thiam. Such systems often suffer from duplicate data, making it difficult to monitor, track, and allocate costs.

Some healthcare providers are copying and pasting data from these systems into spreadsheets, then use a formula to calculate granular costs, he adds. The process is “time-consuming, prone to human error”, and makes it difficult to trace datasets back to its source.

A data management platform that supports data integration and analytics will help healthcare providers monitor costs, Thiam says. SAP’s Business Technology Platform aggregates data into a single location – making it seamless to analyse costs.

Mercy Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the US, saved USD$30 million in implants and surgical supply costs over 3 years with a data analytics tool within the platform.

SAP’s Profitability and Performance Management platform also provides cost analysis at a granular level. It helps hospitals determine the cost of a hip replacement surgery, for instance. Hospitals can then compare that cost between surgeons and eliminate unnecessary or expensive consumables used without impacting patient outcome.

Collecting patient feedback

There are multiple touchpoints in a patient journey – from setting an appointment to post-treatment follow-up, says Thiam. Hospitals can capture data from these touchpoints to understand what’s working, and what needs to be improved.

SAP’s Qualtrics Experience Management platform engages patients and families at every step of the journey. It captures feedback from these engagements, and AI-powered analytics transforms it into actionable insights.

HealthScope, an Australian private healthcare provider, has used the platform to redesign how it collects patient feedback. Patient feedback is collected via digital surveys and compiled into a real-time, interactive dashboard. Acting on these insights has helped the company improve patient experience and reduce the number of complaints.

Staff training

Healthcare employees – from front-facing roles like nurses, to IT staff – play a key role in a patient’s journey.

SAP Litmos, a corporate e-learning platform, helps organisations train employees in compliance, medical terminology, and finance. The platform has helped Ingenios Health’s in-person, paper-based classes go digital. Employees are reminded to complete any outstanding classes, ensuring training stays on track.

Covid-19 has been a defining time for healthcare, forcing organisations to pivot and adapt to challenges. Data will help hospitals keep track of costs, collect patient feedback, and train staff to take on a new era of patient care.