April 2013

Envisioning the Health Cloud

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Cloud Computing has come a long way to be a true enabler today that organisations of all sizes can benefit from. The case study examines the story from the perspective of the software company, the cloud enablement platform and the key decision makers from two customer implementations with a very different set of requirements

Aditya Mani


Aditya Mani
,
Director, acuis

For any technology to sustain in an organisation it must continuously deliver value. The technology should be capable of  continuously innovating to the organisation’s changing needs. It is important for an organisation to always keep in mind why they  have adopted these technologies in the first place. Today, many organisations may be managing cost centers associated with a technology that are not in line with their core service offering. These could be capital costs associated with real estate or other  capital assets as well as monthly fixed costs like electricity, uninterrupted clean power, air conditioning and manpower cost that often escalate with time if not monitored closely. As a technology evolves, it begins to present itself as a set of functional widgets that the organisation can derive value from. In order for CIOs to make good bets in the long term about the technology’s return on investment, they need to constantly evaluate the fiscal value of each functional widget as well as the cost  incurred in keeping such widgets alive. Mindlessly keeping an old technology alive without evaluating present alternatives is what leads to legacy technology and  obsolescence.
In the last few years, the software industry has been revolutionised by the concept of cloud computing. Cloud computing is much more than just web enabling or web hosting a technology to make it available across the Internet. Cloud computing is broadly characterised by ubiquity, elastic scale and device independence. If we think of the most rudimentary and  commoditised functionality the web has to offer us today: email; we are able to understand the phenomenon of cloud computing  etter. There was a time when software companies used to sell you a mail solution to manage your corporate email that you hosted on premise in your server room. With time, many web portals and web hosting companies began offering this as a value added service (VAS). Today, this application is  offered to both the consumer and enterprise space by large, efficient tech giants like Microsoft and Google. If you are a large multinational behemoth, it may still make sense to own, host, manage and serve such an application internally to contain the costs. However, if you are an agile organisation not in the business of managing software and data centres, it makes sense to sign up for such a service (Software as a Service) as you justify the marginal value of empowering your employee at work and home on any tablet or smartphone. As long as you subscribe to the service, you can avail customer support, software updates and technical assistance without having to host expensive hardware or maintain teams. It makes sense.


Shantanu Mane

Shantanu Mane,
Cloud Evangelist, Microsoft

Cloud computing today enables a fast and easy deployment model without the need for any large upfront investment in computing resources paid for in a pay-as-you-go model (thanks to the elastic scale concept whereby you pay for only those resources that you use) which enables software companies to centrally host and manage data securely thereby amortizing the cost across multiple  customers. Cloud computing platforms available today offer software companies massive compute and storage resources on tap whilst  the baseline activities like server management etc. are performed seamlessly as part of the company’s back end services. Organizations like acuis have taken full advantage of Cloud and offer their software today in either an on premise deployment or  loud. With traditional licensing models these deployments are generally installed on the client’s on-premise server equipment and with the addition of the cloud offering customer can choose to deploy either on their own private cloud or use of a secure public cloud. The  eam at acuis has worked closely with us to integrate their solutions to our cloud platform. Our platforms are very robust, scalable and are configured to handle high peak loads during a medical emergency or epidemic. This is where proven support needs to be in  lace to cope with an unexpected emergency. This case study is a great example of their solution using the same software in differing configurations by two very different kinds of consumers. Max Healthcare has deployed a single instance of the application and database across five hospitals across the  ountry via their own private cloud whereas Adlakaha Hospital uses the managed services of acuis to take care of their IT needs. The same solution is able to scale from 20 beds to 2000 beds across multiple locations. That’s the dynamic scale our customers demand in today’s times.


Dr Dinesh Jain

Dr Dinesh Jain,
Head of Medical Applications, Max Healthcare

We implemented acuVena system at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket Blood Bank in the year 2011 and have subsequently rolled  it out at four more Max Blood Banks, using a centralised application and database. The application has scaled up well with the support of acuis team. The team has a deep understanding of the Blood Bank processes honed over multiple implementations, which gave us an excellent starting point for implementation at our NABH certified Blood Bank.

What are the health IT innovations coming up in Indian healthcare?

In terms of impact, the availability of mobility and cloud infrastructure are enabling Indian Healthcare to innovate at a lower cost and risk.

What benefits you are getting from the solution/technology/ equipment? How cost-effective it is?

Some benefits like real time availability of information across the chain of workflow, better communication, and elimination of duplicate data entries are common benefits of the technology. While others like mobility, electronic data capture and decision support  are unique benefits being derived.

What are the benefits you have derived from a single instance implementation of an application?

A central repository of data, easier infrastructure and application maintenance as well as an easier sharing of information across the enterprise


Sahil Adlakha

Sahil Adlakha,
Director, Adlakha Medical Centre

Our journey in IT began when we procured a comprehensive software called acuVena to manage the workflows of our blood bank. The software company, acuis, guided us on all the hardware requirements and trained our staff. They currently assist us in software upgrades and manage our systems.Using acuVena software has resulted in better donor recall and safer blood for patients. In our organization, ICT solutions have been adopted in the blood bank in a phased manner and the company keeps guiding us on what we can do next. We are now going to be providing an sms service wherein anyone in need can send an sms and know our stock without even calling since the system will directly reply to the sms.

What benefits you are getting from the solution? How costeffective it is? Who has given you the solution?

We decided to have a managed service approach for our software rather than setting up an IT department. We wanted a solution that helps us solve our problems rather than creating a new department. We have seen many hospitals beginning their efforts in Health IT with good intentions but very early down the road, we find them grappling with departmental issues because of the traditional approach that departments become silos. Most organisations believe there is a cost benefit in performing tasks themselves. However,
for non-core activities one needs to ask oneself if they have the organisational structure to support continuous innovation in these  non-core activities and if they are able to derive the returns to scale. In large organisations, it makes sense to develop skills in noncore
activities that can be federated across multiple locations. In leaner organisations, it’s better to be nimble and guided by functional expertise. We are currently using acuVena blood bank software to manage our processes and the teams at acuis manage the software maintenance. If you look at the costs saved by not employing personnel, the savings are sizeable for a growing organization. Moreover
such an approach shifts your focus to concentrate on your customer’s needs rather than a department’s needs.

 

 

 

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