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MantraTalks Podcast with Parag Sharma: Delivering Digital-first Health Experiences for Patient Care in the New Normal

6 minutes read

The healthcare industry took the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning. It was, and still is, a humongous task for hospitals to deal with the rising number of COVID patients as well as handling the regular consults. 

To delve deeper into the state of healthcare in the COVID times, we interviewed Parag Sharma, CEO, Mantra Labs Pvt Ltd. Parag shares his insights on how technology can help in delivering digital-first health experiences for patient care in the New Normal.

Parag is a product enthusiast and tinkerer at heart and has been at the forefront of developing innovative products especially in the field of AI. He also holds over ten years of experience working in the services line and has been instrumental in launching several startups in the Internet & Mobile space. His rich domain expertise and innovative leadership have helped Mantra climb to the top 100 innovative InsurTechs in the World – selected by FinTech Global. 

Catch the interview:  

Connect with Parag- LinkedIn

COVID-19 and Its impact on Healthcare Organizations

Considering the COVID situation, according to you how has COVID-19 impacted the IT & service operations among healthcare organizations?

Parag:  Since the onset of COVID-19, the healthcare sector has been deeply impacted. Institutions are facing a serious crunch in manpower. IT support systems which were usually manned and managed by a large team of IT professionals are not available in the same strength. Resource allocation’ is one of the biggest concerns due to physical and mental exhaustion of the healthcare workforce. 

Hospitals are facing issues such as operational disruption due to staff quarantine, supply-chain delays and sudden decline in patient footfalls, difficulty in sustaining fixed costs, etc. People are not comfortable getting out of the safety confinements of their homes due to the rising risk of getting infected with the virus. Hospitals will have to reassess their future strategy and budgets in light of the uncertain economic situation.

Preparing for the Future

What can hospitals do to ensure the continuity of their customer-facing operations in the wake of a second Pandemic wave?

Parag: There are many things that hospitals can do to manage themselves in this hour of crisis. Being more digital than what they are would be one step forward for all of them. They can bring their IT systems to the cloud so that the person can access data and manage their work remotely. They can enable their patients to book appointments and enquire about services through apps and chatbots which won’t require them to call the reception or come to the hospital. These are some of the services which hospitals can provide to their customers with minimum physical contact. 

Related: Manipal Hospital’s move to a self-service healthcare mobile application

Hospitals can extend Telehealth services to their patients. Recently, telehealth has proved to be useful especially when there is asymmetry between the number of patients and healthcare providers. I think it will be very useful for healthcare institutions to deploy telehealth solutions to provide medical facilities to people who have so far been outside the benefits of healthcare.

New Expectations in Health Experiences

Is consumer behavior defined by the ‘new normal’ going to change the way we access healthcare from this point on?

Parag: Yes, people will expect a completely different way to access healthcare services from now on. Hospitals should gear-up and rise to this occasion. The pandemic has also provided a new opportunity to adopt a completely different approach in the way healthcare is delivered. They always felt that medical care cannot be provided remotely but now this is happening and people are appreciating remote healthcare services. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are convinced that telehealth and remote care will be more successful soon.

Technology in Healthcare can Bridge Operational Gaps

What are the operational challenges, as far as digital capabilities go, that hospitals are facing currently? And, what steps must they take to bridge these gaps?

Parag: Operational challenges are not just digital challenges. But a lot of these challenges can be addressed with technology. For example, Electronic Health Records which hospitals manage within the premises can be moved to the cloud so that the person can access these records on the cloud itself and need not come to the hospital. 

Related: Medical Image Management: DICOM Images Sharing Process

Secondly, if you deploy telehealth and telemedicine solutions, irrespective of where your patients are or doctors are, hospitals can deliver the required care to its patients. You can even extend your diagnostics services to your patients by giving them an application through which they can seamlessly book appointments for consults, diagnostics, or pathological services and resolve their queries, etc. Simply by giving a seamless interface either through bots or applications can go a long way in providing better health experiences to the customers.

Role of Chatbots in Superior Customer Experiences

According to you, what role does chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence have in the Healthcare CX landscape?

Parag: Chatbots are the simplest example of the implementation of AI-based technology in healthcare. There are a lot of things which bots can do simplistically. For example, if a patient wants to book an appointment with the doctors, instead of going through a complex web applications and interfaces, what if I can simply write “I want to book an appointment with the doctor Dr. XYZ at 4 pm” and the bot can figure out in case the time slot is available with that particular doctor, it will confirm the appointment followed by a payment process if the payment has to be made upfront. 

Apart from this, you can extend your bots to provide e-consultations where doctors can do remote consultations via audio and video features of a chatbot. So there is a huge scope for bots beyond answering routine queries by customers or booking appointments. It does not stop just there. You can extend chatbot functionalities to support functions such as admin, HR, finance, and business process efficiency so that they can provide better services to their customers.

Related: Healthcare Chatbots: Innovative, Efficient, and Low-cost Care

Chatbot Use Cases in Healthcare

Could you tell us some possible bot use cases for delivering better customer experiences to digital health users?

Parag: Apart from booking appointments and resolving customer queries, these bots can conduct remote consultations, internal processes, health symptom checker, out-patient video consultation, second opinion consultation, ordering medicines, psychological counseling & mental wellness, scenario-based risk advice, Heroism Recognition for employees, etc. Also, it can be further extended to help patients enquire about health insurance related queries, and all the interactions between insurance companies and hospitals can be provided to the patient. 

Related: Healthcare & Hospitals Use Cases | Digital Health

The Road Ahead

COVID-19 has forced hospitals to revise patient support strategy with limited operational staff that is bringing every day a new challenge. A way out is to heavily rely on digital innovation.

In India we have a disparity between the no. of healthcare providers and care seekers. Without technology, I don’t think there is any way healthcare institutions will be able to scale to a level where they can provide meaningful services to such a large number of people. Hospitals can invest in setting up an information exchange; making the process as seamless as possible; and removing all possible inefficiencies from the supply chain through technology.

Future growth for hospitals will come from digital technology because patients will opt more for digital platforms. And it is up to hospitals to catch up with the pace at which modern technology is developing. We, at Mantra Labs, have achieved several use cases including hospitals/diagnostic centers that are able to deliver superior health experiences.

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A Beginner’s Guide to JSON Data-interchange Format

By :
2 minutes, 46 seconds read

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. It is a subset of JavaScript and an efficient way to deal with data over the internet. It is mainly used for exchanging and storing data. JSON organizes the data quite smoothly and enables easy access. Moreover, it collects data in “forms”, which is readable for humans.

In the early 2000s, JSON format was defined by Douglas Crockford. There are certain rules for JSON syntax which we need to follow for efficient performance. These include the use of square brackets, curly brackets, commas, and value pairs or names. When it comes to the data, then it is necessary to be in the form of value pairs or name. Along the same lines, commas separate data; square and curly brackets hold arrays and objects. Let’s dig into JSON a bit deeper.

Why JSON?

JSON is easy for servers as well. Since it deals with the pain text, it makes it easier for servers to interpret data quickly. JSON follows all JavaScript rules and its syntax works impressively on the JavaScript standards. Many people misunderstand JSON as an object. However, it is not true.

Although JSON utilizes JavaScript format, it is a completely different programming language. JSON is responsible for converting data into JS forms of objects in order to store them as text. Besides storing data, you can also use the JSON format for accessing the data.

JSON Formatter

The JSON Formatter is designed to provide the best possible debugging. It is independent and lightweight, which perfectly kicks out the issue of readability. The output from this tool is without link breaks, which saves a lot of device space. JSON Formatter is an amazing online tool that supports all browsers. All you need to do is – submit JSON format file and press enter for output!

JSON formatter

Prettifying JSON Files

There are a number of free online tools to prettify JSON files. To prettify means – making a more readable version of the data. Many people don’t have a firm grip on coding and computer terminologies. If such is the case, you can use online tools for coding and debugging. You can also prettify JSON using the following keys:

OS X: CMD+Ctrl+J

Windows: Ctrl+Alt+J

Linux: Ctrl+Alt+J

Such tools also help in converting files into the desired format. In addition to this, JSON format online provides you lots more facilities to accomplish complex tasks in minimum possible time.

JSON Format Code

Every software has its own extension for storing data and that’s simply JSON. With this extension, you can store or access the written programming code. Application/JSON is used for the Internet Media files, and for the Uniform Type Identifier, public.json is used.

In JSON, users cannot use functions but must mention them as a string. It is possible to convert such strings into functions later on.

JSON Formatter as an Independent Tool

JSON Formatter is an independent tool that provides a new structure to your coding through easy parsing. However, users need to follow all the XML procedures accurately (usually it’s a three-level process) to get full benefits of JSON coding.

You can also use online resources like jsoneditoronline.org to view, edit, format, and transform different JSON documents.


About the author: Urooj Ashraf is the reputation Manager at TurboRankers and has previously worked as Article writer on freelancing platforms. She’s an expert in inbound marketing, WordPress Development and lead generation. Urooj is also an author at daayri.com. Contact her.


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