Innovating Integrated Healthcare : Vir Chopra, Chairman-InterSystems (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Vir Chopra

Founded in 1978, InterSystems Corporation is a US$ 220,000,000 privately-held software company with offices in 22 countries. They provide a premier platform for connected healthcare, and their innovative products are widely used in other industries that demand the highest software performance and reliability. Leading software vendors also leverage the high performance and reliability of InterSystems’ advanced technology in their own products. Vir Chopra, Chairman, InterSystems India, shares with eHEALTH the pioneering role played by the company in transforming healthcare industry across the globe.

That said, I believe that large nations like India and China having a national focus on improving the quality of healthcare, coupled with increased levels of education and an IT revolution could potentially learn from the experiences of countries around the globe that have embarked on the same road before them, and leapfrog ahead.

Q. InterSystems is known for its world class technology products, namely – Cache, Ensemble and Healthshare. Could you give a brief overview of the strengths and application areas of these technologies and how they are being used for developing IT solutions, particularly for the healthcare industry?

A.  For companies that require high-performance and reliable database system, we offer InterSystems Cach��. Cach� provides a rapid development environment for complex applications along with fast, multidimensional engine that uniquely combines a powerful object database with robust SQL.

For enterprises that want to rapidly connect and extend systems, we offer InterSystems Ensemble�. Ensemble enables the fast creation of connectable applications, and makes it possible to enrich existing applications easily with a browser-based user interface, adaptable workflow, rules-based business processes, messaging, executive dashboards, Web services, and more. Its architecturally consistent design combines an integration server, data server, application server, and portal server into a single, seamless environment that delivers breakthrough time-to-results.

For the creation of electronic health records (EHR) on a regional or national basis, we offer InterSystems HealthShare�. HealthShare is the first software platform that includes the technologies needed to get electronic health record systems up and running quickly across multiple organisations, plus a complete development environment for customising solutions to meet the requirements of each deployment

Cach�, Ensemble and HealthShare are all based on innovative technology that provides benefits the healthcare industry demands. This includes high performance, massive scalability, reliability, security, cost effectiveness and flexible interoperability supporting a wide range of healthcare standards. This has been possible because leading healthcare solution providers, worldwide use our technology; 70 percent of the clinical labs in the United States depend on our technology; and we are the platform of choice for National Health Records.

In addition to the above technology products, we offer InterSystems TrakCare�, a revolutionary Web-based solution that empowers healthcare professionals by delivering rich patient-centric information at the point of care.

Q. InterSystems’ Ensemble has been ranked as the best interface engine in healthcare for the second consecutive year by the international health informatics evaluation firm KLAS. What is the differential advantage that Ensemble brings for healthcare?

A.  As opposed to most Application Integration platforms, which include a suite of separate products, stitched-together to work together, Ensemble has been created as a single, architecturally consistent technology stack – Integration Server, Data Server, Application Server, and Portal Development Software. Ensemble projects are therefore typically completed in significantly less time than integration projects with older generations of integration products.

Ensemble supports a wide range of standards found in healthcare solutions including HL7 (v2 and v3 and X.12 (HIPAA). It has a Persistent Messaging Engine, which guarantees message delivery, processing messages much faster than other messaging engines that neither support persistent messaging nor FIFO.

There are a lot of standards in use in healthcare, some even competing with each other. As patient or episode data moves around, it often needs to be transformed to make it amenable for reuse. Ensemble eliminates barriers to project completion raised by the differences in semantics and data schemas between applications or services. Ensemble’s powerful graphical and code-based data transformation capabilities bridge these differences using simple formulas or lookups in data tables (internal or external), and can be extended to any degree of complexity by adding customised functions.

Finally, given that needs, and even standards, evolve over time, the easy-to-use, Web-based, Ensemble development interface allows an IT team to easily manage the impact on the interfaces used for application integration.

Q. There are many national ehealth projects running across the world (either in the process of integration or already implemented), which are based on your product ‘HealthShare’. Do you see considerable differences in maturity and demands for such technologies in different markets across the globe?

A.  The needs are the same worldwide � effective delivery of top-quality patient care. What varies is the level of maturity of the supporting systems and infrastructure and the relative priority of this goal vis-�-vis other national/regional goals.

That said, I believe that large nations like India and China having a national focus on improving the quality of healthcare, coupled with increased levels of education and an IT revolution could potentially learn from the experiences of countries around the globe that have embarked on the same road before them, and leapfrog ahead.

Q. Asian health IT market is estimated to reach US$ 4.8 billion by 2012, with India and China as major contributors. What is the percentage of market share that InterSystems would target in Asia vis-�-vis the world?

A.  That’s a tough one to call!!

I believe that there will be many players in the space with significant market share. It’s hard to say what we will target, but I am certain that we will get there on the shoulders of a set of happy customers.

Based on the precedents of our technologies in other geographies, our contribution to this market segment will be both directly through our products, as also indirectly through the use of our platforms to power applications developed by Application Providers, or in-house/outsourced IT teams.

Q. Among the emerging markets how do you gauge the position of India with respect to IT uptake in the healthcare industry?

A.  In many domains, the Indian subcontinent has already proven beyond doubt that there is willingness to adopt the best solutions and the ability, dynamics and desire to push the envelope in terms of the product functionality and performance.

The Indian healthcare industry has been somewhat slow “off-the-block” in terms of adoption of IT, but all of us in the industry see the pace picking up. There is a shift in terms of perception of value and hospital administrators are increasingly looking to beef up their IT infrastructure both in terms of hardware and software.

The CEO of a hospital chain I met on a recent trip said quite candidly � “I don’t know where we are headed, but I know that wherever it is, we wont get there without good IT systems”.

You can read a lot of things into that statement, but I chose to believe that it’s a clear sign of the position of healthcare IT in India.

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