New Delhi, April 5, 2022: Notable names from the healthcare sector came together to discuss improving healthcare facilities in the country at the Healthcare Infrastructure Summit 2022, hosted by Voice of Healthcare recently.
The event saw participation from Prof. (Dr.) R. Chandrashekhar (Former Chief Architect of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India & Chairman IGBC Green Healthcare Rating), Dr. M. Wali (Padma Shri Awardee; Former Physician to three Indian Presidents; Senior Consultant- Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi), Dr. B. K. Rana (Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Quality & Accreditation Institute (QAI)), Mr. Neeraj Lal (COO - Gujarat Region, Apollo Hospitals International Ltd) and Dr. Yash Paul Bhatia ( Managing Director, Astron Hospital & Healthcare Consultants Pvt. Ltd).
In light of COVID-19 pandemic, the event highlighted urgent priorities to improve healthcare facilities, including reducing hospital acquired infections (HAIs) through advanced infrastructure design. The critical aspect of infection spread through commonly touched surfaces was brought up by the experts. In this context, Dr YP Bhatia added “Our outlook for the longest time has been-design follows function, but we have to understand that our healthcare outcomes are dependent upon the hospital design. There are more than 100 surfaces in a patient’s room which are touched and become the biohazards of Hospital Associated Infections. The bioburden of commonly and highly touched surfaces, is least looked into and is the most problematic area of this time.”
The speakers emphasised the importance of space planning while designing hospital frameworks, spreading care networks and testing centres at expedient locations, the trend towards speciality hospitals that will accelerate infection prevention and user-friendly hospitals, adoption of hygiene practises by transforming mindsets and habits, laying down clear processes – systems – protocols (both behaviour and clinical), increasing resources, prioritizing training and adopting an innovative problem-solving mindset when it comes to reducing the bioburden of our care ambience.
Adding on, Prof. (Dr.) R. Chandrashekhar, Discussed the significance of antimicrobial surfaces such as antimicrobial copper & also the significance of space planning during the course of hospital infrastructure planning. Dr Chandrashekhar said ‘While doing hospital planning, space planning is very important. Limiting the space in the waiting area and testing of diseases should be done from home or through wellness centres to avoid closed contact. The screening should happen at more locations and only critically ill patients should come to the hospitals”.
Emphasising the developments in healthcare technology & the way forward, Dr. M. Wali took the platform to envision the future of healthcare with telemedicine, robotic- surgery and the way it can reduce the bio-burden in the hospitals, He stated, “In future, the doctors would manage patients from their chambers via the use of telemedicine to reduce the bioburden of HAIs. Tele-surgery would also be enhanced using remote robotic arms thus minimising human movement across the hospitals.”
While our experts deliberated on the need of bringing antimicrobial surfaces into use while planning the hospitals, Dr. B. K. Rana specifically highlighted the need of increasing the resources in order to prevent HAI’s and the way antimicrobial properties of copper can fill in the gap. Dr Rana said - “Changing clinical practices, behaviours, clinical protocols, increasing the resources in terms of preventing the infections, controlling them and also antimicrobial properties of copper really need to be looked at and how they can shape the healthcare facilities to help us give the optimum results for infection prevention and control.”
During the discussion, the speakers also pointed out the post-pandemic behavioural change in the patients in terms of hand hygiene. Mr Neeraj Lal said “COVID has taught us the importance of hand hygiene. Minimising touch, promoting training and awareness on control of infections is the key to minimising infections. If we do these two things and use various AI tools to monitor our practices”.
During the entire course of the summit, our speakers very well pointed out the swift change in the behavioural change of patients ( in terms of precautionary hygiene practices ) , the dire need of focusing on increasing the resources to prevent HAI’s ; whilst highlighting the antimicrobial properties of copper, and also the future of tech-driven healthcare & the way it can minimize the HAI’s. The summit was concluded by Dr. Yash Paul Bhatia as he stated - “The trends are changing, the practice of healthcare is changing, and transforming into how it can be done as remotely as possible, so that ultimately the bioburden of being touched or being close is being reduced, and that we move towards being a healthy community altogether” .
The virtual Summit - powered by APCO Worldwide – witnesses enthusiastic participation from a rich cross-section of dignitaries hailing from the health infrastructure space.
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*This article is published by VOH team.*