Empowering technology for patient day care

Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCI & RC) have an ambitious mission: to prevent and treat cancer by providing affordable oncology care that meets international standards in India. 

A critical part of delivering comprehensive cancer care is the Day Care Centre. Until mid-2013, patients were facing long wait times – an average of 65 minutes. Bed utilisation hovered at 65%, largely due to unmanaged, non-value added activities into which the Day Care Centre team had little visibility. They needed to take action – their top priority was to reduce patient waiting times and improve bed utilisation. 

First on the agenda was a detailed process study that Day Care Centre staff, Quality and IT Department staff, and ThoughtWorks developers conducted. They identified key pain points plus the non-value added components and the need to control them. 

The team set about building a web application that would provide visibility to various stakeholders, including Day Care Centre staff, management, and patients. It took the team six months from start to final go-live.

“Now that we have a proper system for admission and discharge, we know when the next bed will be vacant, so we know when we can give the bed to the next patient. We can also send our chemotherapy medicines for mixing in advance, so this helps us save a lot of time – greatly reducing the turnaround time.” 

- Dr. Manika Sharma, Day Care Supervisor, RGCI 

About halfway through the project, the developers went to the Day Care Centre with the 2.5 month-old application (in which the major parts were built, but a lot of work still remained). The developers spent the day writing in the registers while the Day Care Centre staff used the brand new system. As it was so simple to use, there was no need for training to master the technology. 

The average wait time has reduced from 65 minutes to less than 45 minutes. Bed utilisation has gone up from 65–70% to 75–80%. The window of operations in the Day Care Centre has also reduced by one hour. 

At the recent Annual Healthcare IT Summit held in Hyderabad, the Day Care Management case study was presented by RGCI & RC's Chief Information Officer, Mr. J.P. Dwivedi, and was rated one of the best among all of the submissions – a testament to the disruptive thinking and empowering technology the ThoughtWorks team brought to bear on their challenge.