Microsoft Corporation and US Agency for International Development (USAID) recently came together to organise a seminar, focusing on the potential of IT in public healthcare. Titled ‘Enabling Public Healthcare’ this day-long event held at The Oberoi, New Delhi, brought together representatives from central and state governments, international development agencies, healthcare industry and IT solution providers.
Opening the forum, Rohit Kumar, Country Head Public Sector, Microsoft India, emphasized upon the immense potential of IT systems and communication technologies in revolutionising public healthcare standards.
Beth Hogan, Acting Mission Director, USAID-India reinforced USAID’s commitment to leverage public health in developing countries through the use of ICTs. While highlighting the need for ICT adoption in public health programs, Hogan brought forth some of the excellent instances of ICT-based rural health service delivery in India.
Aradhana Johri, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, elaborated on the Government of India’s efforts in modernising public health systems in India. She delivered a presentation on IT integration plans of the Ministry and the challenges en-route to transforming public health service delivery.
Following the high-powered opening speakers, the session on ‘Experience and Potential of IT Interventions in Health’ had an inspiring presentation from Gabe Rijpma, Director – Health & Human Services Industry, Microsoft Asia Pacific, ending with a engrossing video clip of Microsoft’s vision of connected healthcare. While on the one hand, the session presented a blueprint for futuristic hospitals, it did bring forth, in the same context, some of the ground realities and grassroot success stories through insightful deliberations from the Joint Secretary, Dept of Health, Govt. of Gujarat and Dr. K Ganapathy, Head, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation. With an excellent moderation by Jonthan Kushner, Director, International Organisations, Microsoft, it turned out to be an highly informative session.
The session titled ‘Using IT in Health Programs’ explored opportunities and instances of ICT usage in national health programmes in India. Appropriately lined-up with eminent speakers from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC); USAID ( Robert Clay, Director, Office of Population, Health & Nutrition); Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI (Sanjeev Gupta, Deputy Director, Donor Coordination Division) and National Rural Health Mission ( P. K. Aggarwal, Director, NRHM) and coordinated by Vijay Kapur, National Technology Officer, Microsoft, it turned out to be a highly insightful session.
The post-lunch session, titled ‘Implementation of Health Management Information Systems’, moderated by Robert Clay from USAID, began with an interesting presentation from Maneesh Gupta, CIO, Fortis Hopitals, who focussed on the overall IT integration framework and strategic plan of Fortis Hospitals in the context of long term returns and service improvement benchmarks of Fortis. The session also inlcuded presentations of Dr. Sumanth C. Raman, Advisor, Life Sciences & Healthcare Practise, TCS, on application of HIMS in disease survelliance systems and by Manish Sharma, Solution Specialist, Microsoft, on service quality improvement through integrated IT systems in hospitals.
The concluding session of the event, titled ‘Why Are We So Optimistic? Innovation & Emerging Solutions’, chaired by Belinda Noakes, Microsoft Asia Pacific, put the spotlight on new and nascent areas of IT applications in healthcare. Dr. Hemant Kumar from Voxivaa US-based health IT solution providergave a candid overview of some of the innovative solutions of the company for health program delivery management, disease survelliance and patient monitoring.
There was also the presentation by Dr. Ramani of Sankara Eye Hospital, demonstrating their initiatives in using telemedicine-based remote diagnosis for eye care in rural areas. The event culminated with Gabe Rijpma reiterating the pivotal role of IT and commnication technologies in revolutionising public healthcare in India and the developing world.