Being a pathology consultant, I've been consulting diagnostic laboratories for years to help them improve business operations by optimising the usage of technology & automation the right way. However, I personally understood the importance of such robust systems at the time of coronavirus pandemic.
These times also highlighted the importance of home collection services. So you must know why it is important to solve challenges at home collections and how it has a great scope for diagnostic labs in the future as well.
The lockdown caused a lot of limitations for pathologists since working wasn’t on the regular basis and patients were unable to visit the lab. This is where cloud-based systems helped to approve reports sitting at home.
Patients didn’t want to come to the lab because of COVID-19. So, the home collection became a part of a broader audience. Despite home collections, which were a rare part of lab operations then, did not cause a financial integrity issue for the lab. This was due to an all-in-one lab solution since it took care of registration and billing for such remote services as compared to the previous days where home collection management could cause financial leakages (especially when phlebos use handwritten bills).
How does home collection service with system automation help?
With system automation at labs, invoices, billing, the information exchange was smoothly manageable. It ensures no one overcharges patients and enables better control over finance. There was no mismatch of information at registration or billing when we used it during the lockdown. Registration & billing details are immediately sent to the patients to verify (the list of tests booked) if it is as per their request.
If you are interested to know about Home Collection Tracking for both the lab centre and collecting person (phlebotomists). Check Here.
Why do you think Home Collection Service is Important?
Initially, the reason to do home collection was due to lockdown. Then we realised a new trend - we go shopping, or to a restaurant or a grocery/fruit market every week, now we have everything available on the app to shop, get food delivery or buy groceries online. Similarly, we can implement this for labs, where India’s demographic population is very young.
Today since the majority of the population is working & earning, they do not have time to go to a lab. We have to take a half-day leave to give a blood sample, come back home - losing a half-day. Many working people cannot afford that. Even if a family member like your wife, or mother requires a blood test, you are required to take leaves or half days for it. This is where a home collection-based service helps - prevents leaves, prevents patients to step out of their house, and rather book collection online at a convenient time & day.
Challenge associated with Home Collections
What’s challenging here is that labs still require training their staff to be efficient for this service. If collection requests are taken using WhatsApp, you cannot schedule a phlebo for it, but if you have a LIMS vendor that offers a mobile app, a schedule for phlebos can be easily made. He/she can get all the details to manage through the app itself.
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When a phlebo manages the collection traditionally, he only handles collection, he doesn’t provide an invoice or bill but such a system allows sharing the same with the patients immediately. So everything is contactless yet quick and convenient. And, report delivery options through mail or WhatsApp have led many labs to stop giving physical copies to patients.
The Home Sample Collection Advantages
The working population is hugely picking up on this trend and within a year or so labs wouldn’t be walk-in but driven by home collection. If the price for lab visits & home collections is the same, people will prefer home collections.
On the other hand, you can be one step ahead of your competitors. If your competitor is providing a service that patients find inconvenient, adopting the digital approach of lab management can keep us one step ahead in the market.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or requests, drop them in the comment box.