Februaury 2008

NEWS REVIEW – BUSINESS

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IBM to help Sankara Nethralaya manage IT infra
IBM is partnering Sankara Nethralaya, a speciality institution for ophthalmic care in Chennai, to help manage its IT infrastructure.

The hospital has implemented IBM’s Network Operations Centre-Inside (NOC-Inside), to  its business operations. NOC�Inside has an asset-based integrated service approach and allows the hospital a 360-degree view of its IT infrastructure for effective monitoring.

The hospital has automated IT monitoring, inventory management and service desk operations. NOC-Inside generates daily reports, allowing it to keep track of the hardware and software inventory and ensure software licence compliance. These also help the hospital verify the service level commitments of their service providers and gauge their performance.

With this, Sankara Nethralaya claims to have reduced its manual intervention in day-to-day operations by almost 60 per cent.

NOC-Inside was developed by Network Solutions (NetSol), a Bangalore-based network integration company.

Lankan hospital collaborates with Manipal Health Systems
The Asiri Group of Hospitals, Sri Lanka has tied up with Manipal Health Systems, a premier Indian healthcare provider, to facilitate state-of-the-art medical services in the Island nation.

The MoU  aims to enhance the existing expertise and super-specialities of Asiri Hospitals.

“We are proud to be associated with established partners with proven track records and expertise. This is a good news for the healthcare and medical service industry in the country and an excellent step forward for Asiri Hospitals in our continuous effort to be one of the best health service providers in the region,” Pathirage said after signing the MoU.

While Manipal Health Systems’ R Basil said, “This association will bring out the best of clinical excellence and a patient – centric culture to this nation.” The two sides will encourage medical and health professional groups to share experiences through seminars and training programmes. Established in 1987, Asiri Hospital is one of Sri Lanka’s premier private hospitals providing state-of the-art facilities, while Manipal Health Systems is one of India’s key medical enterprises.

Present model of PPP fails to woo pvt healthcare
A lack of clear modalities on the public-private partnership (PPP) model is delaying the much-hyped entry of the private healthcare sector as a big-time service provider in government hospitals across India.

Barring a few instances, none of the major corporate healthcare entities have so far announced plans to partner with the government in a big way.

“The corporate hospitals will not be interested in government facilities unless the partnership models are clearly defined.” , says Fortis Healthcare CEO Shivinder Mohan Singh.

Vishal Bali, CEO of Workhardt Hospitals, agrees. “For PPPs to happen, there have to be very clear cut frameworks laid down by the state governments. The standards should help such partnerships become a viable model on a long-term basis.”

Though the PPP model appears distant, state governments are trying to evolve institution and location-specific partnership deals.

According to the Planning Commission, 60 new government medical colleges and 325 new nursing colleges are expected to come up during the next five years.

“This will have to be scaled up 4-5 times by private sector if we need to meet the demand.” RR Shah, member secretary, Planning Commission, points out.

“On the operational side, lot of public infrastructure needs to get into the hands of private sector. Most of the tertiary services, and to a large extent, secondary services, should be operated by the private sector.” says Shah.

TCS to revamp IT infra of Cholamandalam MS
Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co has announced a tripartite tie-up with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and CMC Ltd to revamp its IT infrastructure.

The new system will ensure improved service delivery processes for customers across branches in India. The deployment is in line with the company’s expanding business and the changing requirements of a free market in the insurance de-tariff regime.

While the software is a proprietary general insurance system of CMC, TCS will manage its customisation and successful deployment over the web. Benefits to customers will include delivery of policies at remote locations, facilitation of alternate modes of payment such as credit card, mobile telephony and web and improved speed of interaction such as issuance of policies and settlement of claims.

The project will go online at 100 Cholamandalam MS offices across the country in the first phase in April. Cholamandalam MS General Insurance is a joint venture between the Murugappa Group and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance of Japan.

Global medical tool makers throng India
Foreign medical device manufacturers, mostly from the US, are increasingly entering the US$ 2 billion domestic medical equipment market.

The tremendous growth projections have also prompted foreign medical equipment makers to float Indian subsidiaries – 30 of them received import clearances in 2007 alone.

Boston Scientific, Abbott, Becton Dickinson, Guidant, Medtronic, B Braun, Johnson & Johnson, DePuy, Advanced Medical Optics and Stryker are among those whose Indian subsidiaries received approvals to import medical devices in 2007.

A recent FICCI-Ernst & Young study has predicted 15-20 per cent growth for the Indian medical equipment market and estimates it at about $5 billion by 2012.

According to Anjan Bose, Chairman – Medical Electronics Forum, FICCI, India has to join hands with the industry to decide on an appropriate monitoring mechanism for quality control of medical devices reaching India.

Though the domestic industry shares the same view on the need for clarity in the regulations binding medical equipment, it alleges that Indian regulators adopt double standards in giving marketing approvals for medical devices.

Domestic players also allege that the absence of pricing norms is allowing bigger players to charge exorbitant prices for their imports.  Incidentally, the growing demand for medical devices and its cost have also found mention in a study carried out by the Delhi-based Society for Economic and Social Studies.

Wipro GE Healthcare expects INR 800 crore revenue from project

Wipro GE Healthcare expects INR 800 crore revenue from projectWipro GE Healthcare Ltd., the Indian sales and marketing arm of GE Healthcare, the world’s largest healthcare and diagnostics technology company by sales, is targeting revenues of over INR 800 crore from a public – private partnership programme in the Indian diagnostics market.

The company is in talks with several state governments in India to set up diagnostic facilities at major public hospitals, and is aiming to cover a majority of India’s medical colleges under this programme within the next three years.

GE Healthcare, owned by General Electric Co., will help set up diagnostic centres equipped with its computed tomography or CT scan systems as well as its MRI systems, in these hospitals.

The partnership will reduce diagnostic imaging costs for patients by approximately 30%, and by up to 50% for below poverty line patients.

GE Healthcare, which manages its marketing and sales business in India through the joint venture with Wipro Ltd, initiated its first public-private partnership programme by signing a contract with the Madhya Pradesh government and Sanya Hospitals and Diagnostic centre to set up a diagnostic centre at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College Hospital in Jabalpur.
Projects in Gujarat and Rajasthan are in the pipeline.

Philips, Artemis tie up for research in diagnostic devices trials
Gurgaon-based health care firm, Artemis Health Sciences Pvt. Ltd and Royal Philips Electronics NV plan to start three research studies using advanced medical technologies, in a bid to find more efficient and cheaper ways of diagnosing diseases.

Data from the studies will add to the Philips research database, while Artemis hopes to use the high-end imaging and scan machines to detect blockages in the heart at a fraction of the present cost, and spot tumours early. A study for FICCI estimates that the market in India for medical devices and equipment will more than double to US$ 4.98 billion (INR 19,450 crore) by 2012 from US$ 2.18 billion in 2007. Of this, radiology equipment such as MRI , CT scans and ultrasound machines will account for a sixth of the market.

Philips is talking with health care chains about partnerships and Artemis too, will look out for tie-ups with drug, biotech and medical device firms.

“We are trying to test the hypothesis that this CT scanner is as effective as the conventional angiography.”, said Hassan Tehrani, a teaching consultant at Artemis and part of the Phillips-Artemis research team. “We already know it is cheaper, faster, non-invasive and reduces the hospital stay from a day to few hours.”

The second study will test if a 3Tesla MRI machine is more effective than older generation scanners in diagnosing tumours. The machine at Artemis is the only one  of the kind in India so far. The last study will use ultrasound machines to test the prevalence of ‘aneurysms’ in 3,000 subjects.

Wipro GE Healthcare expects INR 800 crore revenue from project
Wipro GE Healthcare Ltd., the Indian sales and marketing arm of GE Healthcare, the world’s largest healthcare and diagnostics technology company by sales, is targeting revenues of over INR 800 crore from a public – private partnership programme in the Indian diagnostics market.

The company is in talks with several state governments in India to set up diagnostic facilities at major public hospitals, and is aiming to cover a majority of India’s medical colleges under this programme within the next three years.

GE Healthcare, owned by General Electric Co., will help set up diagnostic centres equipped with its computed tomography or CT scan systems as well as its MRI systems, in these hospitals.

The partnership will reduce diagnostic imaging costs for patients by approximately 30%, and by up to 50% for below poverty line patients.

GE Healthcare, which manages its marketing and sales business in India through the joint venture with Wipro Ltd, initiated its first public-private partnership programme by signing a contract with the Madhya Pradesh government and Sanya Hospitals and Diagnostic centre to set up a diagnostic centre at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College Hospital in Jabalpur.

Projects in Gujarat and Rajasthan are in the pipeline.

Mastek to raise US $40 mn for buyouts abroad
Offshore outsourcing company and IT giant, Mastek, is raising $40 million in order to acquire companies with intellectual property rights in the insurance and healthcare space.

They are looking at companies in the range of $10-20 million with 100-200 manpower strength for acquisition. The company already offers services in the insurance and healthcare sectors. The acquisitions are expected to consolidate its expertise and strengthen its presence in the domain areas.

The acquisitions would also add to Mastek’s customer base. While the company wants to increase its revenue shares from the US and the UK, it is also looking for specific state government-led projects in the domestic market.

In FY07, the company’s revenues were INR 810 crore. It has close to 3,400 employees with a  presence in the UK, Japan, South East Asia and the US.

In India, the company has its offshore development centres in Mumbai and Pune, and has recently commissioned a third centre in Chennai which will employ close to 6,000 people.

Bosch buys health network
The Bosch Group has acquired US telehealth specialist and innovator Health Hero Network Inc., which focuses on remote health monitoring.

Health Hero Network develops and sells technology that allows the remote monitoring and management of patient health data. Founded in 1992, Health Hero Network has handled 63 patients to date.

Telehealth is a young market with huge potential for growth. Bosch is already involved in telehealth through a number of initiatives and subsidiaries, including Swiss Telealarm, a European provider of social alarm and nurse call systems. Together with the renowned Carit� hospital in Berlin, Bosch experts develop new products for the care of cardiac conditions.

Asked whether Bosch would bring Health Hero Network’s services to Europe, a spokesperson said: “Health Hero Network fits very good in this portfolio and will help the Bosch Group to grow further in this field. One step will be this year in bringing Hero products to Europe.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and about 300 subsidiary and regional companies.

Israel’s Teva pharma to invest INR 4,000 cr in India
Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of copycat patented drugs (generics), plans to invest over $ 1 billion in India to acquire Indian drug companies and set up greenfield manufacturing facilities.

The investment is planned for the next 24 months. Teva recently acquired over 100 acres of land near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, to set up active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facilities matching the production capacity of domestic generic majors such as Ranbaxy, Cipla, Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharma and Wockhardt.

Teva has an Indian arm, Teva India, and a research and development centre in New Delhi which it opened two years ago. It will reportedly target drug majors such as Cipla, Aurobindo, Matrix and Orchid, as well as Saraca Laboratories of Hyderabad.

India is an interesting geography not just for Teva, but for several global drug majors, which are attracted by the huge talent pool, scientific skills and cheap labour that has enabled Indian companies make drugs at about a third of the cost in the West.

Spectrum Health with Cerner and Microsoft to empower patients
Spectrum Health announced its strategic relationship with Cerner and Microsoft Corp. to develop the Cerner Care Console(TM) solution, a consumer-centric technology which enables patients to take an active role in their care.

By integrating Spectrum Health’s knowledge about the patient experience with the Cerner Millennium(R) healthcare information technology (HIT) computing platform and Microsoft Windows Media Center, the Care Console system keeps patients informed about their condition, medical care and provider team during their hospital stay.

In addition, Cerner has also incorporated the use of Xbox 360 consoles into this system to offer patients gaming and entertainment experiences. Spectrum Health is pilot – implementing the Care Console system in one unit at its Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Cerner and SpectrumHealth found that patients could benefit from communication tools easily accessible at the bedside that range from access to their daily care plan and reviewing radiology images to diversional activities such as e-mail, movies and video games.

The Care Console system provides a wealth of information to patients at the bedside, helping them to be more involved in the care experience. By utilizing the Care Console system’s various educational features, caregivers and patients can engage in dialogue about the patient’s condition, needs and experiences.

Says Kris White, vice president of patient affairs, Spectrum Health, “This healthcare solution will allow patients to not only have access to their health information but also to discuss it with their physician at the bedside and participate in their care in a meaningful way.”

Godrej set to hive-off medical diagnostics arm
FMCG major Godrej Industries will transfer its medical diagnostics division to ICICI Venture-backed RFCL.

The transfer will take effect from  December 31, 2007. Earlier, on November 26, the sale of the medical diagnostics division had been approved by its board.

RFCL provides vitro diagnostics, animal health care, laboratory solutions and custom synthesis through its four strategic business units – Diagnova, Vetnex, Rankem and Neosynth.

Healthcare industry wasting millions on software – report
Healthcare organisations are wasting millions of pounds each year in failing to exploit the full potential of the software systems they are paying for, reveals a report of West Trax, an IT consultancy specialist.

The healthcare industry is one of 13 different sectors which are using less than half the standard software code they pay for.

West Trax undertook a software applications cost/benefit study, analysing data from 269 benchmarks in 13 different industry sectors. It found that users were typically failing to fully exploit the potential of the standard software functionality that was available in their systems.

Even in most of the “best practice” systems in the study, more than 50% of the standard software transactions relevant to the users’ businesses and available in their systems, were not utilised.

At an IT conference last November, Steve Rogers, UK Managing Director of global software company SAP, challenged delegates to use their SAP assets more effectively. “I find it frustrating that the majority of you only seem to be using a modest slice of the software you have acquired.”, he said.

Axon Lab, iSoft re-enter Swiss market
iSoft is re-entering the Swiss market through a distribution agreement, just 18-months after it sold its Swiss operations.

Under its new distribution agreement, Axon Lab AG, a service provider for diagnostics and molecular biology, will support iSoft in selling laboratory systems in Switzerland.

In June 2006 iSoft sold its operations in Switzerland to Nexus, a local provider of healthcare IT solutions.

Core elements of the agreement are the distribution, implementation and support of the iSoft laboratory solution, LabCentre. Axon Lab AG has been a dedicated service provider in the fields of diagnostics and molecular biology since 1989. The company installs and supports a range of diagnostic equipment and software applications.

The move is part of the IBA health Group’s plans for expansion within Europe. It is already a leading supplier of e-solutions in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.

Silverline Technologies to enter healthcare
Silverline Technologies is launching its healthcare sector through an investment of 15% with an option of 100% acquisition in a North American firm specializing in healthcare change and performance management.

Ravi Subramanian, chairman of the board, stated that the investment is a significant step towards making the company a focused leader in specific industry verticals. There is a growing need to build efficiencies due to high pressure on governments, globally, exerted by increasing costs in the segment. In US alone, the current spending of $1.7 trillion is estimated to exceed $2.7 trillion by 2009 and working on current projections, it could touch 20% of the GNP by 2015 – an estimated $4 trillion.

The company will spell out details regarding the initiative over the next few weeks. The company will leverage its global facilities in Canada, US, India and potentially Mexico to build on these initiatives.

The company recently acquired Omega Direct Response, a global provider of customer interaction and management services.

Cisco plans research centre in Qatar
US networking giant Cisco has plans to establish a research and technology centre at the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). The project was unveiled at a meeting between Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, wife of the Emir of Qatar, and Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers.

The company recently unveiled a 5.8 billion-UAE dirham ($ 1.58 billion) information and communications technology (ICT) investment package for the UAE. The Qatar centre will be spread over three years, and will be used to work with the Qatar Foundation on projects to develop Qatar’s knowledge economy.

The first collaboration will be on Project iQ, which aims to create a collaborative platform that can be used by the Qatar Foundation to work with other organisations around the globe on research, education, health and youth employment initiatives. As part of the UAE investment, Cisco said it would expand its headcount, open a new regional headquarters at Dubai’s Knowledge Village and open an Abu Dhabi office.

The plan also includes an expansion of the Cisco Networking Academies programme, which works with academic institutions to give students skills and experience to prepare them for careers in the IT sector. In April 2006 Cisco pledged an investment of 1 billion Saudi riyals ($ 265 million) to the Saudi Arabian ICT sector. Cisco’s Saudi investment plan includes increasing headcount in the kingdom and establishing a technology and entrepreneurship centre and new networking academies.

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