Known for its prowess in the global IT industry, Infosys has slowly andÂ steadily developed a strong practice and a full range of solutions andÂ services for catering to healthcare organisations.Â Dr Pankaj Gupta, Principal-eHealth and Clinical Practice (NewÂ Markets), Infosys, in a candid interview with eHEALTH.
What are the most common IT challengesÂ faced by healthcare industry?
IT challenges faced by healthcareÂ industry are identified as in theÂ following –
- Lack of EMR adoption byÂ physicians: This is the single largestÂ IT challenge faced by healthcare Â organisations at present. ChangingÂ physicianâs approach towardsÂ using technology is a key focus for most CIOâs.
- Extreme heterogeneity of ITÂ environments: Data lives in silosÂ separated by individual systems orÂ paper based processes. Managing,Â integrating and optimisingÂ these data sources, whetherÂ through updating technologiesÂ or implementing and managingÂ interoperability platforms is aÂ nightmare. E.g. doctors donâtÂ think in terms of per diseaseÂ episode, rather they treat theÂ entire patient; therefore they wantÂ a comprehensive longitudinalÂ record. Payers administeringÂ disease management programmesÂ for preventive and wellnessÂ support, also need comprehensiveÂ medical records thus requiringÂ smooth integration betweenÂ multiple information silos
- Improving operational efficiencyÂ and optimizing organizationalÂ performance: Finding out whatÂ to measure in order to optimiseÂ processes and improve outcomesÂ is a challenge because a hospital isÂ one of the most complex enterprisesÂ that anyone can imagine.Â Administrative processes are soÂ tightly linked to clinical processesÂ such that clinical knowledge is aÂ pre-requisite in managing hospitalÂ administration in a patientÂ centered manner. However, mostÂ clinicians do not have sufficientÂ administrative experience or the Â time and inclination to designÂ corrective measures.
- Lack of health IT experts andÂ professionals: Shortage of trainedÂ and experienced IT manpowerÂ in healthcare result in inefficient,Â delayed and aborted IT projects,Â resulting in a high degree of distrustÂ and loss of credibility for use of ITÂ in hospitals.
- Demonstrating a quantifi able ROI:Â This has always been a diffi cultÂ question for healthcare CIOs and isÂ often the basic source of confl ict atÂ the management level discussionsÂ on healthcare IT.
- Increasingly sophisticatedÂ functional demands on claimsÂ processing and claims adjudicationÂ systems: With a large numberÂ of legacy systems in place, payerÂ CIOs are struggling to keep paceÂ with the need to enhance/modify/Â replace these systems to manageÂ areas like fraud detection, diseaseÂ management and potentiallyÂ competing with upcomingÂ government insurance plans.
What range of solutions and servicesÂ do you offer in the healthcare domain?
Infosys has a wide range of healthcareÂ specific vertical solutions and services,Â as well as, horizontal technologies andÂ platforms that can be used extremelyÂ effectively in the healthcare industry.
These offerings include:
- HIS/EMR Centre of Excellence âÂ Implementation and maintenanceÂ of HIS and EMR for physicians andÂ hospitals. Infosys has alliancesÂ with HIS/EMR product vendorsÂ globally, including India.
- Infosys EHRS – to integrate variousÂ health IT applications for buildingÂ a longitudinal medical record.
- Healthcare PerformanceÂ Management Platform â PrebuiltÂ solutions around ClinicalÂ Quality Management, CapacityÂ Management and Revenue leakageÂ management combining businessÂ process management, predictive modeling, data analytics,Â reporting and actionable realÂ time KPI-Dashboards for processÂ management and optimization
- Healthcare ModernizationÂ Solution – for improving claimsÂ processing by payers.
- Health Plan eConnect Solution – toÂ help payers build physician andÂ patient portals.
- Healthcare consulting for businessÂ problems in payers, providersÂ and pharma companies, whereÂ we suggest solutions and helpÂ them realize the ROI on theirÂ investments.
- iTransformâ¢ product suite aÂ comprehensive tool kit, gearedÂ towards semi-automatedÂ remediation associated withÂ HIPAA 5010 and ICD10 adoptionÂ in the health industry
- Enterprise ApplicationsÂ Implementation, MaintenanceÂ and Support.
- Complete IT Application MaintenanceÂ and BPO Management
Which are some of the landmarkÂ healthcare projects of Infosys acrossÂ geographies?
Infosys has been doing businessÂ consulting, application development,Â maintenance, testing, IT support and aÂ whole range of IT operations for healthÂ insurance companies, pharma and lifeÂ sciences organisations. Recently, weÂ have started entering the healthcareÂ provider segment as well. Some of theseÂ engagements are multi-year, multimillionÂ dollar deals spread across manyÂ geographies including North-America,Â Europe and APAC. Our India unit hasÂ been recently setup to focus on specialÂ needs of the Indian market.
How do analyse emerging opportunitiesÂ in US, in wake of the governmentâsÂ ambitious eHealth investment plans?
US is going through very exciting timesÂ in terms of healthcare transformation.
- The Physician practices suddenlyÂ have become a very largeÂ Healthcare-IT market in USA!Â The power base has shifted. IÂ remember the book âPower ShiftâÂ by Alvin Toffler.
- Obama has put life back into PublicÂ Sector Health plans – Medicare andÂ Medicaid!
So what is expected to change:
- Pharma co: Physicianâs relianceÂ on pharma companies for drugÂ education updates will reduceÂ because they will get direct accessÂ to latest version of electronic drugÂ databases in the EMR. Many EMRÂ will have CPOE and MedicationÂ Management built into it, whichÂ will guard against unnecessary/Â incorrect prescriptions. CrosssellingÂ and Up-selling of drugs willÂ get minimized. However the drugÂ compliance will go up in chronic Â disease management.
- Insurance: Private sector HealthÂ Plans will have to compete withÂ Public sector Health Plans for theirÂ bread-and-butter. US has a fairlyÂ large population that can fall underÂ public health plans â uninsured,Â underprivileged, and aged.
- Hospitals: Will have to figureÂ out how they can increase theirÂ practice on public health plans -Â Medicare and Medicaid. TheyÂ will also have to depend moreÂ on Physicians that already haveÂ a greater mix of Medicare and Â Medicaid practice.
- CDC: Public Health initiativesÂ and Disease Surveillance willÂ gain power because they will startÂ getting valuable Public Healthdata through public health plansÂ such as Medicare and Medicaid. Â So far private enterprises haveÂ been reluctant to share disease,Â prevalence and outcomes data.
- Healthcare Economics: willÂ shift towards measuring clinicalÂ outcomes rather than businessÂ value. Public Health, DiseaseÂ Management and PreventiveÂ Medicine will gain.
- M&A: New business models andÂ major consolidations shouldÂ be expected. I can see PharmaÂ companies and InsuranceÂ companies buying out EMR/EHRS,Â Healthcare-IT companies [whichÂ one, I keep guessing..].
Infosys is watching the emergingÂ changes and is prepared to offerÂ solutions and services tailored forÂ physicians, hospitals and payers,Â especially
- EMR implementation andÂ support,
- Integration of EMR to enableÂ record sharing (as and whereÂ appropriate)
- Analytics and reportingÂ for enabling meaningful useÂ of EMR.