“The ITO Deal Has Been a Positive Learning for Us” : Dr Pervez Ahmed, Max Healthcare, India

Dr Pervez Ahmed,CEO & Managing Director,Max HealthcareDr Pervez Ahmed, a visionary and a leader in the field of healthcare, has been the guiding force behind the implementation of  the IT outsourcing partnership between Max Healthcare and Dell Services.

Pravin Prashant and Divya Chawla spoke to Dr Ahmed about the actualisation and implementation of IT services at Max, through this deal.

Give us an overview of Max Healthcare and its future plans in terms of growth and expansion?

Max Healthcare, currently, has six hospitals and two diagnostic centres, which are all located in the national capital region, comprising of 1000 beds. We are currently in the process of building four new hospitals at Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi; Bhatinda, Mohali and Dehradun. All these hospitals will start operations between June and October 2011, after which we will add around 1200 beds and have a total of around 2000 beds. We are also open to looking at opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. In addition, we are planning to set up an educational facility, which will be on the health sciences side in Greater Noida in around 4 years from now.

At the end of our horizon of growth, we expect to have around 4000 beds in another five years, most of which will be in the NCR or the Shatabdi region. We want to concentrate our growth in North India because logistically it is a more scalable model.

We have three super-speciality hospitals in Delhi located in Saket, Patparganj and the upcoming hospital in Shalimar Bagh. Further, we have multi-speciality hospitals located in Gurgaon, Noida, and Pitampura. Diagnostic centres are located at Panchsheel. Max Healthcare has also partnered with Nova Medical Systems, which is an ambulatory surgical product for Northern India.

We are very conscious of the quality of product that we provide. Our entry in the tertiary care is only four years old and in this short period, we have been able to reproduce scalable, consistent and high quality experiences. Once we get the formula correct in a very tight logistical area like this, we can look at opportunities for expansion and providing the same experience in other parts of the country. To be able to deliver quality care consistently, we have opted to install an Electronic Health Record (EHR), along with which comes business and Management Information System (MIS).

What were the problems you were facing in your present system, which helped you move towards outsourcing?

We have had a home grown Hospital Information System (HIS) for the last 5-6 years, which has been doing a fairly decent job as far as finance and accounting are concerned. However, competitive advantage to deliver quality medical care requires the integration of clinical diagnosis, procedures performed, and the expenditure and cost. The proposition is to be able to provide the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost to customers and patients.

To allow customers and insurance companies to choose the highest quality clinical provider, the outcomes need to be measurable, reportable and reproducible. We, therefore, realised the need to move from a simple HIS to an EHR, which coupled on top of the HIS can give us the ability to have a true MIS and help us take strategic decisions. As the industry matures in India and we move forward towards disease management, where the focus of care would be the patient, the requirement for adequate information would be immense and that is not possible without an EHR.

The increased amount of work and scope required for an IT infrastructure, was not something that we were willing to invest in as that is not our core area of operation, because of which, we looked at outsourcing. We negotiated with Perot and have outsourced them for a long term and this has worked quite well for us. The data centre migration has occurred, although with a few hiccups, but overall it has been a very clean process. We have backup for disaster recovery both at the Dell Services centre as well as at servers in our Okhla office. Hence, we are secure now, which is very important as we get more and more electronic. It has been a positive learning curve process both for Dell Services and Max Healthcare and it will be extremely beneficial in the long run.

How does your project benefit from the complete ecosystem, which includes management, doctors and patients? What is the RoI?

In the areas of patient stay and paper saving, there is a potential benefit of about `2.5-3 crores per year. The benefits are plenty for the patients and the quality of service offered. For instance, the use of barcode system will eliminate all medication errors as all drugs bought from the pharmacy will be barcoded against the nurse and the patient.  As far as the patient benefit is concerned, after the integration process is complete, each patient will have his/her own URL, which will work through a cloud, and provide the entire clinical history.

This data can only be accessed by the patient, physician and primary hospital. The patient will have to give confirmation to allow physicians within the Max network to access his/her data. Special permission will be required for personal information like the HIV status. Currently, we do not have the HIPAA norms, however we still use them as a baseline.

The deal is worth `90 crore and after adding the hardware, the total IT applications for 10 years will cost us around `120 crore. If the scope of the work increases, additional expenses will be set up

As a CEO, how do you look at this project? Will this project help you in better decision making for all your activities, be it finance, business development, expansion or customer satisfaction?

The business information that we are able to get out of the system, will give us an opportunity to strategically decide on the products, which we need to develop. It will also help us in growing more in terms of clinical management and business. Technology is an enabler and it is going to enable us to perform in any area in the best efficient way.

If the data is easily available then the speed and efficiency to be able to implement something will be much faster. This will help the business achieve all results that it aims to achieve including financial excellence, quality excellence, and safe environment.

This is a huge step as far as I am concerned, for reducing cost of healthcare and making it more efficient by eliminating the need for patients to carry paper records. 

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