There is a requirement of enabling the IT system to boot various innovations in the healthcare domain, discusses A Arvind Kumar, CEO, Attune Technologies while talking to Romiya Das of Elets News Network (ENN)
How do you perceive the Indian healthcare IT market and what are the drivers that are influencing this market in India?
There are three drivers, firstly the health insurance penetration. Earlier, health insurance penetration was not big. There are two kinds of schemes – Below Poverty Line (BPL) mass insurance scheme, where government pays health insurance premium to health insurance companies, to provide free treatment to the people in private and public hospitals. In the states like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, every year the premium touches up to `750 crores. The revenue from the insurance companies to the hospitals is something else. The hospital revenue contribution from insurance company is significantly on the rise, making the hospital operations more complex. More people are getting health insurance. The second driver is private equity venture funding in healthcare space. Many hospitals, radiology centres are getting funded, which is used to scale up their present infrastructure or setting up multiple centres. This increases the need of enabling IT systems. The third driver is the government. The central government smart city initiative and united healthcare mission initiatives are boosting the healthcare sector as well.
How do you perceive the Indian healthcare IT market?
The Indian healthcare IT market is fragmented because there are lot of significant opportunities in the small and medium-sized hospitals; it is not explored much by the corporates. Having a cloud platform helps in managing a large number of customers centrally. So, one side there are drivers like health insurance penetration, private equity venture money and government push, on the other hand, the cloud industry is evolving very fast.
What are your current operations and vision for upcoming years?
We have customers in South East Asia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka apart from Eastern Africa. We also have two products: one is installed at small hospitals in small labs and another is for mid market and mid-level customers. Apart from these two products, we use Internet-of-Things (IoT) for healthcare through which we are connecting all the devices of healthcare on one platform. The other one rolled out mobile first for handicapped customers. There is a four billion dollar market opportunity that we are going after.
What are the functional areas where health IT can make a difference?
For hospitals, the first functional area is to bring a change in the process management because hospitals are struggling with that. So, automation in terms of billing efficiency and the ability to integrate with insurance companies and provide them appropriate billing information is necessary so that they pay out their claim. There are multiple health insurance policies coming in from multiple companies. So, hospitals find it difficult to deal with the billing.
Another automation that will add very large value is admission and discharge process. Many hospitals make patients and their relatives run pillar to post during both the process. The moment you automate, a lot of time is saved, also helping to save a huge amount of money.
Labs should adhere strict timelines, as several hospital labs do not give test results on time. The logistic time that is required for the samples to be sent out and process and the results available also need to be calculated when we give commitment to the patient. That needs to be monitored as part of the turnaround time.
Is it the right time for the public and private sector of India for optimizing their business outcomes and improving healthcare scenario in the country?
Window of opportunity exists in the healthcare IT. As the cloud-based technology, infrastructure connectivity is getting bigger and better. Also the central government initiative viz eHealth, smart cities and digital health initiatives are boosting IT in healthcare. So, this is really the time to lead for in terms of healthcare IT adoption in the country and go from where we care today. All the parts are aligned to change the landscape.