Interviews

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Akhil Systems is known to be among the oldest healthcare IT companies in India. When and how did you start, and what was your experience in the initial days?

After studying the critical requirement of integrated software in healthcare industry, we started developing a HIS software with a small team and implemented in few hospitals of south India. These hospitals gave us live experience of actual requirements and process flows followed in the healthcare industry. Following this, in the year 1994 officially we launched Akhil Systems Pvt. Ltd. with the first version of HIS being tested and implemented in many hospitals across the country.

In the initial days, people were not having complete exposure to use the fully online software and they were using different software for computerisation of different departments.  Duplication of data and simultaneous maintenance of manual records were strenuous for the staff working in the hospital.  No instant MIS was produced for the top management for decision making. Our software provided a solution to this industry, as to how a fully online, integrated software can be used in healthcare industry to automate operations.

No doubt we faced lot of problems to convince the hospitals for computerising their functions and implement HIS. This was primarily because of untrained staff who didn�t know how to operate the systems and were against computerisation, out of the fear of losing their job. Training such professionals was a real challenge !

However, with our own efforts and zeal to implement, and with some help from senior management of the hospitals we successfully implemented the systems – across large, medium and small sized institutions.

What products and solutions are currently offered by your company for the healthcare industry?

We are offering complete range of products and solutions for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.  Our HIS is an ERP solution for paperless automation of all departments of large and medium size hospitals. In addition, we have products for small hospitals and private clinics.  We are also offering products to computerize large diagnostic centres (laboratory and radiology centres) pharmacy centres and retail outlets.

What is your opinion about the current healthcare IT market in India?

As the overall industry growth in India is going through an upward trend (by 10-15%) so is the healthcare industry. There is lot of demand for good hospitals with modern facilities.  People are also getting aware of latest healthcare facilities and becoming more conscious about health issues. This is creating a lot of demand for good and specialised hospitals.

The healthcare IT market as compared to 10 years back has grown 200 � 300%.

How do you see the Indian healthcare industry with regard to IT maturity? What has been the change over the last few years?

Earlier, we had to invest a lot of time in explaining how hospitals can computerise their functions and what benefits they will enjoy after investing in IT.

Currently, every hospital owner knows the importance and benefits of computerised systems. They plan from the project stage itself as to what type of system they would like to implement in their hospital and also plan the type of investment required.

What do you conclude as the main reason for a relatively high rate of failure in IT implementation initiatives in Indian hospitals?

Firstly, it is due to lack of standardisation of various documents and terminologies used in this industry. Secondly, every hospital wants the software to be customised just to computerise their manual process without proper refinement in the policy and procedures. Finally, in most cases there are no proper implementation methodologies that are followed to make the management aware about time and efforts required for successful computerisation.

In order to ensure better results, any computerisation exercise should be preceded by a detailed process study and refinement strategy.

The success or failure of any IT implementation depends equally on the hospital and software provider – it�s a joint team effort. Unfortunately, most of the hospitals perceive that success of computerisation is the sole responsibility of the software company. Such an approach leads to unsatisfaction and finally implementation failure.

What challenges are faced by the industry due to non-existence of standards in patient data capturing, data sharing and clinical practices?

Due to non-existence of standards in this industry, every hospital IT system is customised / developed as per individual understanding and different process flows followed at different places. Hence, if we try to connect two different hospitals to share patient medical records, in case of any emergency, it is almost impossible. In addition, further scalability of the software to another level or to a new version becomes difficult.

What initiatives should be taken by the government and private healthcare providers in order to create an enabling environment for connected healthcare infrastructure in India?

Government should call upon organisations like IMA, CII, etc. to come forward and make a new body which will work exclusively for standardisation of documents, processes, data capturing and data sharing methodologies. Healthcare IT companies should also be a part of this organisation to give their inputs as per their experience in this industry.

What is the current client base of your company in India and abroad? Which are your most successful installations and Why?

Akhil Systems has grown at the rate of 30% over the last 3 years. We are providing solutions across 4 countries, and in India we are in 12 states and 28 cities.

98% of our total installations till date are successful. Some of our successful installations are – Apollo Hospitals Dhaka, Bangladesh; Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore; Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon; Jehangir Apollo Hospitals, Pune; Apollo Hospitals, Ranchi and Moolchand Hospital, Delhi. We rate Apollo Hospitals Dhaka as our most successful installation because of complete EMR implementation and creation of a paperless environment for all the departments. The high point is that with the touch of a button complete patient records and treatment details are available for the doctors and administrative staff across all departments and payment counters.

What do you attribute as the biggest strength of your company in providing IT solutions for the healthcare industry?

Commitment, extensive domain knowledge, concentration on one single product and the will to go that extra mile for our clients are our biggest strengths. This is the reason Akhil systems has successful client base for more than a decade and still continuing the research for offering best to this industry.

What is the current market share of your company in India and how do you foresee your growth performance over the next five years?

We understand our self as a major player in healthcare IT market. We are one among the very few companies or perhaps the only company which is fully focused on healthcare IT. We attribute major share in North India and we already have a good number of installations in south India as well. With the blessings of GOD we have major plans for expansion in next five years to make this company as one of the biggest company in India to offer healthcare IT solutions.

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