Interviews

Sahara Hospital is moving to an OPEX model for IT

Manish Pathak | Head-IT | Sahara Hospital explains his IT initiatives and how digitization will play a role in healthcare.

Could you give us a peek into SAHARA HOSPITAL’s presence in the healthcare sector?

Sahara Hospital is a multi super speciality Hospital with operations in Lucknow, UP. Sahara Hospital is one of the top Hospitals in India and overseas. Our mission is to provide high quality health care and our respected senior advisor Anil Vikram Singh nourishes our collective effort. We are one of the top Hospitals in UP as well as overseas.

How is IT being used in Sahara Hospitals for effective healthcare delivery system? Can you share what were the dynamics before and how is the scenario now?

IT is always in a developing mode and we understand that. Automation refers to electronic transfer of record or information through software to complete any task. Automation basically helps in optimising existing processes. We achieve it through a pneumatic tube system, we have telephone exchange system directly, we have patient bedside monitoring system, we have Hospital information system. Presently my roles and responsibilities are to streamline our system and processes with better clinical outcomes in an organized work style. Normally in the current scenario we are providing remote support to our staff and also ensuring no carry of homework done because of systematic handover processes we have opted in Sahara Hospital. We are providing 24*7 to our staff and support staff.

According to you, what are the major challenges that Indian healthcare sector is facing ? Are there any roadblocks in rolling out health IT solutions?

Healthcare in India is one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of investment and employment. The major challenges that Indian health sector is currently facing can be segregated into three parts basically. The first problem is basically in information and service integration. The second one is revenue vs cost control. Third one is good care and affordable cost which is a major challenge in Healthcare. Apart from that if we discuss about road blocks, in my IT experience we are facing with legacy systems. We should have some kind of technology where we can just implement anything with open source, we should introduce open platforms. These are some of the roadblocks we are currently facing in the organisation.

Why cyber criminals target healthcare companies? What You Do to Protect Your Company?

Cyber attacks are now shifting to Healthcare which we earlier saw in banks or retail sector where a lot of malicious attacks happened in the past few years. If you talk about the medical health record, the hackers hack the information or extract intimate health secret s of individuals. We have a strong SOP policy in the hospital and we also have firewall system and ACS device authentication and configuration. We have a password policy and an anti-virus policy.

What were the changes you had to make after lockdown?

We have done some changes in our policy. Currently we are looking for an OPEX model because earlier we were having CAPEX model. We were expending IT hardware equipment with the CAPEX part. But after the current situation, we are exploring OPEX model and moving more towards digitization. We are also implementing some digital solutions in the hospital.

From an IT standpoint, what are some of the key initiatives initiated by your organization in ensuring that business continues as usual?

From an IT stand point of view, we always focus on TAT which is Turn Around Time and how we can support our front office or other staff to reduce turnaround time. Normally we have an HIS system here. We focus on to maintain the quality services in a minimum time frame. That is one important aspect in terms of services provided to our patients.

What do you differentiate yourself from other organizations? What are the technology tools you use to develop smooth collaboration between employees?

Normally we have a complete automation system. We also have an ERP system that provides a host of direct benefits as easier patient records management, reduce paperwork, faster information flow between various department, greater organisation flexibility in terms of reliability and timely information, minimal inventory labels, reducing wastage and reducing waiting time also. The most important part is to reduce the turnaround time and ensure services are provided to the patients on a quick manner which differentiates us with other organisation. We are doing really great in terms of turnaround time. We also have automated all the things in hospital. We have a pneumatic tube system. When we collect sample, the sample automatically gets dispatched to the laboratory department which reduces the time of physical effort. We are using Technology where we definitely feel that we are reducing turnaround time between the patient and the services.

How can technology play a key enabler in improving healthcare scenario in rural India? What are the issues there?

If I talk about enabling the technology in the rural area, we need to establish our communication between the metropolitan city and the rural area. One of the key challenge for India is to offer worldclass care at affordable cost. So the most important part is cost and we at Sahara Hospital try to provide services at affordable cost. The major challenges I see in a rural area is awareness, intelligence and not being able to communicate with rural India. That is the path we have to develop in future.

How do you advise organizations post COVID19 scenarios about Mobility, Cloud, Employee collaboration and Advanced Analytics? What are the likely future efforts they should make for the improvement in the healthcare sector?

We want to move further for some growth in the Healthcare sector and for COVID19 we have faced a big challenge in terms of mobility and advancement. We think in the near future we will definitely focus on electronic health record compliances. We will also work on mobile health, telemedicine, portal Technology, self service kiosk, remote monitoring tools. These are beneficial for te patient monitoring. The most important part is IoT and AI. Over all these are the main focus areas we at Sahara Hospital are looking in the future. We are working on that and exploring different segments.

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