August 2008

Right on track!

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Healthcare the world over is facing enormous challenges with regard to the changing lifestyles and demographics. Higher wait-time and cost of care is driving the growth of what is now called Medical Value Travel. South East Asia and now India are major hubs of medical tourism.

In India however, there are as many detractors as supporters of this new development. The cynics question the accessibility of basic care for the Indian populace – let alone quality care. Then how, if ever, are we going to match up to the standards of the South East Asian countries? Also in this respect, one often makes sweeping statements regarding the state India’s hospitals are in; especially as regards the use of technology, or rather the lack thereof.

However, a keen observer can tell the ripple effect this new market force is having on the healthcare industry. Hospitals are scrambling to get their facilities accredited in order to grab as big a share of the medical tourism pie as possible. And this has been one of the key factors in the decision of many hospitals to invest on IT infrastructure � so reveals our ‘IT@Hospital Survey 2008′ Part I � for North India (covering Delhi NCR, Punjab & Haryana).

The adoption of technology has of course, many more proven benefits, such as lower turnaround time – important for hospitals to be able to increase patient throughput, and lower operational cost per patient.

eHEALTH has taken up the enormous challenge of surveying the adoption of IT in hospitals across India, a vast and as yet unconsolidated industry. And in this issue we present the first of a four series report, giving detailed analysis of technology adoption among hospitals in the northern region of India � covering Delhi NCR, Punjab and Haryana. The report has brought to light some interesting findings, which will definitely make stakeholders look at the issue with a fresh perspective.

Many of you, our readers in the hospitals of India, must have received a survey questionnaire and responded to it in the last three months. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the strong support and overwhelming response from the participants, and urge the ones who could not – to be sure that they do next time around!

The survey is not only a method to quantify the transformation technology has (or has not) been able to bring to the hospitals; it is also a good method to connect with the immediate environment of the care providers and understand the requirements of the domain.

Our survey notes that hospitals in India may not be very close to achieving complete automation (as we would like to believe!) but they are on the right track – no matter what is driving individual hospitals to it!

Flip through this special issue to find out where we stand and how much farther we have to go.

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