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Interviews

Healthcare organizations have to accept strategic role of IT

Sachin-Chougule

Sachin Chougule, Director, Design Tech Systems Ltd, in conversation with Healthtechnology.in, shares his views on the role of IT in healthcare and healthcare delivery system

The healthcare IT sector in India is on a constant growth path. What kind of positive impact will this growth have on the healthcare delivery segment?

IT transformation is fast paced phenomena in India too. India also has a foot print of the west. Indian Hospitals have invested in multiple applications to address multiple needs of the organization. Hospitals have made investments in HIS, LIS, RIS, EMR etc. Each of the bring value addition to the organization. The challenge is to integrate all such systems, and make the data inter portable and seamlessly available to the user.

Healthcare data can be huge and complex, and at the same time is always changing. Data is also sensitive and must be protected from manipulation; make need for state of art storage solutions.

How do you perceive the market for HIS & HMIS in India?

The overall investments in the Healthcare sector are growing by more than 15% pa as compared to investments in Healthcare IT products which are currently less than 10% pa.

The major drivers for growth for healthcare IT product usage are as follows:-

  • Current market size as per Gartner Group report in to the tune of Rs. 5000 crores and is growing at the rate of 7%pa.
  • Rising awareness and demand for higher level of healthcare need use or EMR.
  • The requirement of cashless payments or insurance and speedy settlements of claims need IT enablement.
  • Increase in medical tourism is making Hospitals invest in state of art IT setup to attract patients from abroad.

What are the unique HIS/HMIS solutions you have designed for Indian healthcare?

DesignTech Systems offer 4 different products for the following market segments.

Asclepius Clinic for Clinics and Practitioners, Asclepius Lite or Professional for Small or Medium size hospitals and Asclepius Enterprise for Large Hospitals. Our ERP caters for Patient Management, Billing, LIS, RIS and Inventory Management and seamlessly integrates all the allied services of the Hospital.

The unique and “The Next Big Thing” concept of Workflow Management Framework enable hospitals to reduce overall time to process transactions. Building applications that are user-friendly are a passé.  The need today is to build the HIS applications that will enable caregivers to deliver services in the nick of time. One of the major grievances coming from patients is wait time and time spent in queues.

Applications with Workflow Management Systems can significantly reduce the wait time. Workflows give caregivers advance information about the service and care due to the patient, and enable them to prepare in advance. Work orders provide information to respective departments and caregivers thru workflows.

We have already seen Hospitals managing more number of patients in lesser OPD time as compared to while user earlier versions of HIS solutions.

IT illiteracy and lack of awareness often act as initial obstacles for health IT players. Did you face similar challenges?

Yes, but only sometimes. The major challenge is lack of common processes. Hospitals often force vendors to change the application to meet their requirements

The seriousness to accept IT as a real differentiating and enabling tool, willingness to invest in it and leveraging as competitive advantage is generally lacking in the top management /owners of our healthcare organizations. Compare this with the services and manufacturing industry of the mid 90s when IT use was restricted to mainly EDP functionality which today has changed to the strategic CIO role making them globally competitive. With international medical tourism opportunities, globalization and increasing regulatory pressure Healthcare organizations will also have to accept strategic role of IT tools soon.

What are the advantages the solution offers to the hospital caregivers?

As we have started stressing that it is not important to make the application user friendly but it important the application can speed up things for the patients. Applications must enable caregivers to attend to patients without making them wait at all. Work orders processed by workflow management give caregivers advance information about the patient and the services to be provided to them. Applications need to throw up lot if information to caregivers. Applications must be able to refresh this information and make it presentable to users at all time, whether as pop ups, live lists and drag and drop.

Security is an integral aspect of Health IT Infrastructure. However, a majority of healthcare organisations haven’t yet woken up to its significance. What’s your take on this?

Security of data is vital, and especially when it comes to clinical data. As mentioned earlier data in healthcare is exchanged from one system to another and hence need to be secured at all time. Unlike the west, India lacks laws and proper regulations in this regard.

US and many other countries have laws that bind on Hospitals and HIS vendors to safeguard clinical and patient data.

Security is not only a part of software, but also hardware and networking systems. A proper security system is built from the combination of all the above.

What are some of the advantages that set DesignTech System India ahead of its peers?

As mentioned above in my answer to Q3, we have invested in building our application on the .NET Workflow Foundation. Work orders based on workflows allow applications to speed up services in various departments in the Hospital. Our HIS system focus on delivering information to that can actually give users and patients a good experience.

Patients find themselves being queued up for admissions, payments and services. This results in an unpleasant experience. Work order based applications can eliminate such issues.

Work ordering has eliminates error caused by re-entering the same data multiple times. This also ensures that patients complete all the transactions within the hospital and resulting to increased revenue.

 

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