‘IT solution providers and hospitals should go hand-in-hand’


Says, Niranjan Kumar Ramakrishnan, Chief Information Officer, IT, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, in conversation with Ekta Srivastava,

Recent Initiatives in SGRH

Right now we are in two stages of IT Automation. First, we are trying to completely transform our hospital into IT solutions and it took almost 7 to 8 years to establish our IT initiative.

We got world’s best HIS, even form international market.  We make sure that everyone understands what automation is and how business process is automated. But then there is a kind of level 3 in IT automation. From 2013-14 we started understanding and analyzing ourselves.  We took a decision of completely going to become a digital hospital. Than we understood the various parameters available various option available in the market. We took a decision to migrate our existing intergraded health IT solutions and we are in the final stages of going live in the world with new HIS. But that is one part of it that enables us to capture the data and automate the process and business management etc.

Then there is second set of stage what we are talking about integration with external stakeholder’s weather it is patient, venders or any other third party organizations. With our chairman’s vision of OPD automation we have series of programs to come up with. Last month we launched digital health card I think it is first of it’s kind in terms of multiple modalities that are involved and integrated in that. Through which, a patient holding that card can roam around the hospital and can access all the facilities without getting in the registration counter again and again. It’s almost like a cashless card they can charge the money they can recharge.

Most importantly, when it comes to refund and repayment by the hospital to the patient, it goes directly to the card, without making any delays and hassles to the patient. We make sure that there is no defaulter happen or come into the picture etc. So that is one aspect of it.

Another one which we are about to launch in a week or so is going to be patient chaos where the card can be used as a ATM. So patient can put the card and using the card without remembering any of the details they can see their appointments they can change their schedules, view their lab reports. In future we are planning to give them access to view their lab reports, in case if their patient is admitted in the hospital during the stay they will know how much money they spend so far what medication they undergoing. Things like this will really create lots of transparency to patient. So I think it is very innovative way of doing it and it would be first of it’s kind. And the extension of that would be like at some point, patient can give the feedback directly to the top management. Also, in the chaos one of the feature we are given is patient can talk to the chairmen directly give the feedback, whether it is appreciation, suggestion or complain.  That will be a level of transparency which we are able to bring through technology.

CIO’s approach while looking for IT Solutions

Personally I have little different approach when it comes to IT automation. I really aspect the IT companies or HIS solution vendor to come up with the proper solutions not like selling the products not running out the promises. IT companies should offer their solutions as a part of their consulting. Unless until there is no specialize person who can help us in getting better know how of the solution, it is a complete waste of money for us. The real return of income comes when we can explore every possibility of end user. So, there I say IT vendors with CIO’s have a major role to play. And IT Company should not sell these as a product but as a solution.

Role of CIO, with the changing dynamics

A new role, which I think and which even has started happening, is, earlier we kept IT head or CIO’ as EDP heads procuring the hardware and software’s. But right now whether it is a strategy decision or audit meetings or any kind of business decision they are part of those meetings. I think now they have started as a business part of the system not just restricting to the implementation method. So, tomorrow when our new hospital will come with 200 beds in new building, they will be part of all the discussion from the day one. Even for all of us, CIO’s should be part of business management and not just restricted to support services. So, I think yes role has been changed recently.

Benefits of Predictive Analysis

I just happened to come up with a team of people who are data scientist, who give me very good insight of how a predictive analysis and good data management can save lot of money and improve the quality of the hospital. For example, mobile solutions company they had 56,000 crore stock in their hands and with the predictive analysis and the technology they used they are able to bring the stock to 56,000 crore. So when you start with 100 crores and bring to 56,000 crore this is naturally a well return of investment. Now, the inventory management whether it is a kind of knowing which patient is coming from which location, to decide the schedule of particular doctor, who can examine that patient and where should I keep my pharmacist, in the premises or outside. There are hundreds of business questions, the answers come only from the proper analytical data you have. Otherwise, most of the time we assume many things and spend lot of time and money. So, that way definitely the analytical answers really decide the way how future works otherwise we will be always in wrong notion of profit and margins and we land up into loosing the competition in the market.

Recent ICT implementation in hospital and challenges in accepting it

One of the pilot projects we will be doing is on how a Google glass can help a doctor when they go for rounds to see the patient admitted or during the OPD consultation. One of the biggest challenge doctors says, is when they do any compensatory system, monitor comes between them and the patients, when  patients think that the doctors are looking in the monitor not listening to them. This question is there for many years in doctor’s mind. So in one of the presentation, I have seen how simple device like Google glass can help solve this problem. Whether it is a wearable devices or Google glasses, if it can address this adoption challenges that we are facing for many years and if it really save the time and efforts of the doctors and increase the efficiency of paramedic’s staff, off course we will explore more. Similarly, if we talk about the mobile technology, we launched the doctor dash board which is in the pilot level, and very soon we are going live. A simple module in that is that doctor would know what medications are available in our pharmacy , so they will be saved by not prescribing medicines that are not available and confusions and questions that arise in the mind of patients about the credibility of doctor and hospital. But if we talk about the doctors entering into the system then we are going to face lot of challenges. Mobile apps are helping the doctors, because it is handy and it just a click away from information, so I think adoption of IT will be increasing more with the mobility solutions.

Any Suggestions for the Health IT market

My suggestions for the Health IT market is that please come up with solutions by partnering with the hospitals otherwise hospital will not be a good buyer and may not understand the various benefits of the solutions. There must be a collaboration and partnership between the IT solution providers and hospitals. That will increase the credibility of the IT solutions providers in the healthcare industry



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