Telemedicine may slowly replace smaller Clinics – Sastradhar Reddy, founder and CEO, MedPac Systems

Sastradhar Reddy, founder and CEO, MedPac Systems in conversation with Elets News Network’s (ENN) Rajesh K Sharma about his company’s RIS/PACS solution, the RIS/PACS market and his outlook for the future of the market

How do you perceive the growth of the health care segment in the IT market? With an increasing population in developing countries and an aging population in the developed countries, the focus on productive heath care solutions has taken a paramount role. With the proliferation of portable devices like tablets and smart phones and increased data generation and dissemination, the health care segment is set to handle the challenge. Even less focused fields like Telemedicine and Teleradiology are growing due to improved Internet connectivity. Innovative personal devices which monitor personal health will grow in the future too.

Please share your opinion on the importance of RIS/ PACS in hospitals and their advantages over the traditional films. RIS/PACS can reduce film costs and improve a radiologist’s productivity, as well as patient satisfaction. Webbased RIS/PACS can also be used for Teleradiology, improving the turnaround time as well as the quality of the report. Integrating RIS/ PACS with EMR (Electronic Medical Records) or patient information systems (lab, pharmacy, nursing etc) will take patient care to a whole new level.

How important is innovation for customers in the growth markets? With computer platforms shifting from desktops to thin clients, mobiles and tablets, health care solution providers have to constantly upgrade their solutions to meet the customers’ changing. The only way forward is to make their solutions platform agnostic; in other words, their solutions need to work on any desktop with any OS (Windows, Linux or MAC) or any mobile or tablet platform (Android or IOS).

How do you differentiate your products to your clients? Is pricing an important factor? The designing and implementation of PACS systems for a hospital depends on factors like the number of radiology modules required, the number of studies or examinations that a radiologist will do per day and also the number of years the reports are going to be stored in the hospital. The number of physicians and radiologists who will be using the PACS software concurrently is also a factor. One also has to ascertain whether the hospital plans to use the RIS/PACS for Teleradiology services as well. Depending on the above factors, we suggest RIS/PACS configurations to the hospitals, and the pricing is done according to the specific needs demanded by them.

Please tell us about your RSI/ PACS solutions Our RIS/PACS solution is called Pronto PACS.  It is web-based and provides the user with a single solution platform on which the entire hospital can be run. The solution integrates HIS (Hospital information Systems), blood bank, RIS and PACS into a single platform, turning the hospital paperless and film-less. Since Pronto PACS is completely web-based, no software needs to be installed on the client machines, making life easier for the IT administrators. In addition, it is platform neutral and can be used on Windows, Linux or Mac desktops or Android or iPad tablets.  Pronto PACS is a Linux-based and built on Scalable Enterprise Linux Server platform. It is a web-based RIS/PACS solution with 3D PACS DICOM viewer. It is can store the medical studies and examination reports for years. We have an in-built storage monitoring module which monitors the health of the hard disks and RAID status, making data loss redundant. Being web-based, its administration can be done from a browser. It also supports reporting of Images from modalities like CT, MRI, CR, DX, US, XA, NM, PET, OPG, SC etc. In fact, studies from any DICOM compatible modality can be viewed in it. The DICOM viewer can auto detect the client platform and switch to HTML5 DICOM viewer on low power devices like mobiles and tablets. The built-in Teleradiology module with jpeg2000 compression makes transfer of images on low bandwith networks a breeze. Our hybrid 3D PACS/Teleradiology Viewer makes 3D reconstruction even on a normal PC possible.

“Films are becoming more expensive, and film storage is a pain. This, coupled with the penetration of computing devices into healthcare has ensured that PACS is here to stay”

Are RIS/PACS here to stay as part of the ongoing transformation of healthcare? Films for traditional radiology are becoming more expensive, and storage them over time is painful and a drain on space and money. This coupled with the fact that the penetration of computing devices in healthcare is increasing has ensured that PACS is here to stay. The only barrier that remains is the initial cost of setting up a RIS/PACS solution, and the reluctance of the physicians in adaping to the RIS/PACS technology. But with younger generation of tech savvy healthcare professionals entering this field, the adoption and deployment of RIS/PACS has been made easier. Another advantage of having RIS/PACS is that it can help in cutting down the increasing malpractice costs, since radiology records can be used as indisputable records, and don’t deteriorate over time.

What is your prediction for this market in the next decade in India? What are the growth contributors in the industry? Telemedicine may slowly replace the smaller clinics and in the future, we will have huge multi-super specialty hospitals for in-patients. I am expecting a huge consolidation of health care players and overall improvement in quality. With elections and a possible new government at the Center, what are your expectations from the government for this industry? I hope that the new government defines a patient medical record policy. A patient’s medical record ultimately belongs to the patient. But he or she is rarely able to access the records if they are ever kept. Mostly, they are never maintained. We need to have a policy wherein the records can be shared across various health care providers to better serve the patient. We also need a National Health Record database, so that researchers can access the data for their research to develop new drugs.

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