Tirupathi Karthik, CEO, Napier Healthcare in conversation with Romiya Das of Elets News Network (ENN) talks on the role of mobile technology in healthcare delivery, and why healthcare providers will soon start to spend more on healthcare IT
How do you perceive mobile technology in healthcare?How is Napier contributing in this domain?
The healthcare industry is moving towards the provision of what I refer to as ‘ubiquitous health’—healthcare is to be delivered wherever it is required. Mobile technology is a key enabler of information access and communication between care providers and care recipients who are separated by physical distance, the better to see through this vision of ubiquitous health delivery.
In line with what the healthcare industry needs, Napier makes certain that all its products are developed to be mobile-enabled from day one. By definition, all Napier solutions have mHealth (mobile health) features and capabilities built in. So there is no need for the purchase and implementation of a separate piece of software or licence to take advantage of what we see as an essential component of healthcare delivery in the 21st Century.
Please elaborate on Napier’s referral management system.
The cloud-based and mobile-enabled Napier Loop addresses the most common problems we see in transitions of care, specifically in patient referral management, using the old world tools of paper-based letters by physicians, faxes and phone calls, and requiring the patient himself to approach the doctor he has been referred to. Such a process not only wastes a lot of time and money (the patients’ as well as the physicians’), it also leads to a great number of referrals never being completed. What the Napier Loop does is serve as a platform on which patients can be referred between physicians with ease, speed and security. With each referral is the treatment history of the given patient, along with his accurate detailed medical records, during his passage through the physician network. The visibility into key patient information and the channels for collaboration this platform offers physicians can only enhance patient care, boost treatment success rates, and help keep patients under the watchful eye of physicians who know their conditions best.
How do you see health technology evolving in the coming years?
Hospitals and other healthcare providers will increasingly be called upon to provide more price transparency, and in turn will ask their technology providers for greater price transparency too. This would actually be a good opportunity for healthcare technology providers to show that they offer higher value than their customers have assumed all these years.
Our research shows that the healthcare industry as a whole only spends two to three per cent of its revenue on IT. This is a very small sum compared to what other industries are spending on IT. With greater price transparency, healthcare providers can see for themselves more clearly just how much value– particularly in terms of productivity gains and revenue quality–healthcare IT delivers, and be persuaded to invest more in it.
What are your company’s expansion plans?
We are a global company with a significant presence in Singapore, where our headquarters is located; India, home to our development center and elite squad of implementation and services specialists; and, the US, which is one of our larger markets. We are also growing our business in the Middle East and Africa, and expect to make inroads into Australia and New Zealand, China and Europe in the next 12 months.
We fully appreciate that every geography comes with its own set of challenges. So we invest a lot in preparation for our entry each time. Basic operational, legal, language and cultural issues aside, we also expend a lot of resources on building a solutions portfolio that matches the needs of the healthcare industry. In the last 18 months, we rolled out five new product lines—each served a pressing business or industry need, based on our market research. As those products continue to yield high returns for our customers, we shall carry on developing new future proofed solutions for other segments of the healthcare industry.