Asclepius Consulting wholly owns a Charak suite of CIS/HIS software products. The product is developed uniquely keeping Indian health care requirements. A large team of doctors have provided input from across India. The software has been developed in conformation with HL7, DICOM and IHE. Charak is designed for high usability and easy to use & maintain technology.
Charak is completely configurable (you build your own workflow) and modular (you pick only the feature that are critical for you) in nature. Each module seamlessly integrates and communicates with other standard healthcare software in the industry. It covers all processes of clinical work flow including general physical examination, systemic examination, provisional diagnosis, investigation, management and follow up. The product addresses the specific needs of practices viz. Cardiology, Gynecology, Ophthalmology, ENT and General Medicine. Charak also addresses your need to be flexible on hardware interface and supports PDAs, pocket PC, Mobile phone, Graffiti Boards, Laptops, tablet PC, touch screens, keyboard & mouse.
Charak operates on a state-of-art thin client architecture leveraging ASP.Net technology for the front end. The product runs on Internet Browser – like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox etc. unlike the traditional client-server products.
The software is now installed centrally on a server – while all client machines access the software through a local IP address on a web browser. This significant change in technology makes a dramatic impact in the way hospital ERP solutions are managed.
It is easier to maintain the software as all upgrade/ maintenance/ modifications are required on the central server only – with no risk of virus attack/ poor usage on the client machines. Further, the cost reduces significantly in interconnecting a chain of hospitals, where the internet web-server can be used for database synchronization instead of expensive leased line/ VPIN network
Overall the total cost of ownership comes down significantly, as the client machines need to have a bare minimum hardware requirement which is sufficient to run any web browser – with or without any expensive operating system costs
User Centric Design
The software has been designed for higher usage – keeping simplicity as the core design principle. The UCD philosophy is a continuous pursuit in the team by spending time understanding hospital processes, cutting pharmacy bills, coordinating discharge activities, watching the doctor’s care area in OPD, Wards and OT, writing patient orders etc. This experience has helped the team design a product which is closer to the needs of the Indian hospitals – and ensure small nitty gritties which differentiate an ‘easy to use product’ for the Indian environment.
For example, the users tend to get lost in the product – so Charak is designed such that a user can navigate from any point to any point of the product in not more than two clicks!
'Built by the Customers’
Charak has been built by its Customers. At its inception, over 100 doctors/ hospital administrators contributed significantly to define the product contours and the product expectations. Each Charak screen has been designed in close collaboration with its customers – such as to ensure the relevance to the on ground processes. Such an effort requires a significant recalibration – especially for products carrying a Western world bias.
Charak has an unequivocal commitment to the Indian hospitals. The product vision has ensured the flexibility to adhere to the most complex of the Indian hospital processes with the simplicity to be executed by the least computer savvy staff.
90% Configuration, 10% Customization
Charak was conceived to be a product since inception and had to maintain the flexibility in design to be scalable across sites. The product has extensive configuration screens – which allow controlling even the smallest of process variations across the sites. Significant investments were made to provide administrative screens which allow process modification across sites without any change in software code.
The availability of the product configuration screens allows the hospital to change the software to mimic the change in processes without relying on any expensive and unstable customization. The product configuration screens are extensively used by the hospital to manage the process with minimal support from the Charak support team.
As an illustration, Charak allows for a bed status to be changed from Green to Red through multiple bed status – like housekeeping, soon to discharge, male/female ward, Exhausting Deposits, Corporate patient etc. A smaller hospital did not choose to have any of the multiple stages and wanted a red/green status only. Making this change did not require any code change, but just changing the configuration data through user designed screens – thus allowing the same screen to be used for the simpler processes at a 30 bed installation as well as the complex processes at a 800 bed installation.
Advanced Interactive Reporting (AIR)
The software adopts a unique in house reporting module – with no expensive third party components. The reporting tool provides multiple analysis– like filter, grouping, sorting etc. – within a single report; thus allowing the user to create multiple related reports in a single window.
The interactive reports are designed based on the extensive consulting experience of the team – where it anticipates the information needed by the senior management, the mid management and the patient-facing operators. The reports are designed with inbuilt analysis tools to generate information towards making decisions than leaving heaps of data left for the user to interpret.
Asclepius Consulting is a leader in Designing hospital dashboards which follow rules of exception based reporting – allowing the CEO to focus on red-flags and high priority performance indicators and not sieve through hundreds of MIS and miss the relevant data.
Remote Monitoring and Diagnostics
The thin client nature of the product allows the software to be accessed remotely on the web server. Additionally, if the hospital chooses to provide access, even the local server can be made available to the central support team. The support team can remotely access the software usage, monitor performance and proactively anticipate concerns with software installations.
Specific software diagnostic tools are deployed to review usage and understand performance concerns. Further, if any maintenance/upgrades are required, remote tools can be deployed to improve the software. Given the single installation thin client architecture, client machines need not be connected/ monitored for software maintenance issues through these unique RM&D tools.
‘Mind your Business’
Asclepius Consulting extends its management consulting expertise to understand and review the hospital, interpret the hospital MIS and identify relevant insights to the senior management. Offered as a Lifecycle Management solution, the company is provided a monthly database backup- on which Asclepius reviews the hospital operations in the area of billing, pharmacy, inventory, purchase, clinical compliance, data quality etc. and prepares a consolidated summary of the month highlights to be provided to the management.
While any hospital MIS team provides standard reports every month for information purpose, the Mind your Business solution specifically looks at lead and lag indicators which have a strategic impact to the business. The management consultant analyses the monthly data and defines specific imperatives for the senior management.
This is particularly useful service offered to the hospital promoters/ investors – who may not find the time to interpret the MIS, but need specific red flags from an external/ unbiased perspective
Charak is built on a robust infrastructure module called Workflow – which attempts to mimic the flow of information, documents and decisions through the hospital. Hence every event in the patient care cycle – creates a corresponding task on the relevant players in the patient care process.
For example, the moment the discharge advice is created by the admitting doctor, relevant tasks get assigned to the lab, pharmacy, nurse, billing clerk, PRO, housekeeping etc. to initiate the discharge activities. This framework significantly reduces the cycle time and effort going in coordination and follow up.
Further, the tasks can be prioritized automatically or on authorized access – thus creating the backbone of the scheduling modules. The priorities could be linked to the scheduling algorithm, patient condition, urgency etc. and hence appears at the top of the To-do lists. Also, different type of tasks – e.g. for a nurse the tasks could range from order creation, medication administration, charting etc. – are managed as task groups, with a clear user/ time stamp to track the cycle time of every task and map it to the patient care event.
Charak is built on a robust infrastructure module called Workflow – which attempts to mimic the flow of information, documents and decisions through the hospital. The workflow modules keeps the patient data, financial data, material data, reporting data etc. cleanly compartmentalized on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. Hence the software has a strong role-based access provided to specific screens, buttons, reports, patient information and relevant tasks/ instructions.
Based on the Indian workflow, Charak provides for different access for Saving a PO, Sending it for Approval, Approving the PO and Sending it to Vendor – given the different individuals expected to carry out these activities in a hospital. Of course, a single user can be given two-or more roles, thus simplifying the process for smaller hospital – just by a small configuration effort.
Such an access control framework is compliant to the needs of patient privacy/ HIPAA guidelines and is extensible to the backend – where the access to patient data through the database is limited by privilege.
Hospital Chain Integration
Charak is one of the few hospital management solutions to have successfully integrated multiple hospitals across multiple physical facilities across the country. The software operates on a thin client architecture and adopts a unique online-offline model which allows the software to run on the internet without the risk of internet outage. Each of the site – big or small – are assigned a local server which are synchronized with the central server on a periodic basis.
Hence all corporate wide data – patient information, financial data, stock data etc – is available across the sites; but in case of internet outage, each site operates as a standalone hospital. Use of internet has significantly reduced the total cost of integrating vis-à-vis the expensive WAN / VPIN network.
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