December 2011

Centralised IT Architecture is Essential

As the steering lead of Sterling Hospitals, Dr Rajiv Sharma, CEO, Sterling Hospitals, Ahmedabad shares various technologies to operate healthcare facilities and follows a patient centric approach

Sterling Hospitals, Ahmedabad was started in the year 2001,with a vision to be a preferred choice provider for ethical, superior and holistic healthcare solutions. As a healthcare organisation we would like to have a humans, viable and patient-centric approach in our services. We aim to build and operate world class healthcare facilities using latest medical technology by optimally trained medical professionals.

Yes, technology adoption has gone up significantly in last five years in Gujarat and it has enabled the caregivers to take healthcare delivery to the next level. To a certain extent it has led to an increase in cost of services offered but I believe that gets offset by better patient outcomes due to use of advance technology.

Information communication technology enables effective communication to all stakeholders and hence helps a healthcare facility achieve operational excellence. ICT plays an important role to support organisation vision by seamlessly integrating all functions of hospital as a single system and delivering right information to care providers at right time which is critical for delivering quality patient services.

IT architecture

Sterling group of hospitals have its presence in six cities of Gujarat and we have centralised IT architecture that connects all six units to one location with point to point connectivity. Our HIS application hosted at central location and all units access application remotely. We have implemented HIS system to all units which takes care of front-office and back office operations with equipment interfacing. We also use SMS technology to send various transaction events to doctors, patients relatives and care providers.

Sterling Hospitals is engaged in providing high quality medical and surgical care in a host of critical specialties for effective patient care we use technologies in various sections including Philips and Siemens Cathlabs, digital panel and radiology diagnostic equipments. We have CT scan “ 40 slides, MRI 1.5 Telsa (GE), 4D colour doppler, mammography and radio imaging solutions and in pathology equipments we have Vitros 5.1, Vitros 250 and 950, Hi-end automatic biochemistry analysers, hematology analysers, microbiology analysers, PCR lab, immunology analysers and blood bank.

In software applications we have centralised Hospital Information Management System (HIMS) which take care of front-office and back office operations, in-house systems are developed which includes SMS solutions, surveillance system, MIS system and many other customised solution developed on latest .net platform. We use Microsoft exchange for communication and also use internet for academic and connecting to external world. We have Sun servers with oracle database for managing applications and redundant connectivity with all locations to provide high uptime to care provider.

ICT enables up gradation in method of treatment starting from patient Electronic Medical Records (EMR) which helps to understand patient history. All historical information can easily be accessed and shared to doctor instantly. With the help of ICT in healthcare, patient treatment has become more inclusive. Diagnosis and method of treatment is critically dependant on the availability of high-quality, fast and accurate data and reporting. Once a diagnosis has been made then correct method of treatment can be chosen. Smart embedded processor based devices monitor patient condition and make dynamic changes based on patient condition. Such devices send SMS alerts to care provider which helps in treatment of patient.

Benefitting through ICT

With the help of audio and video equipments expert doctors advice in critical operations and patient condition can be monitored by doctors sitting at any place in the world. Telemedicine and teleradiology help to eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services. ICT innovations like touch screen clinical workstations and unique power systems to guide low-skilled healthcare workers through the diagnosis and treatment of patients according to national protocols. With the help of various communications technology, patient avail emergency services as needed and get access to medical facilities. For instance, GPS system and mobile technology help track ambulance, patient location and nearby facilities which help in effective delivery of emergency services.

Yes, Technology adoption has gone up significantly in last five years in Gujarat and it has enabled the caregivers to take healthcare delivery to the next level. To a certain extent it has led to an increase in cost of services offered but I believe that gets offset by better patient outcomes due to use of advance technology. We aim to achieve affordable healthcare to all and this can be achieved through various innovative models that allows active partnership of government and private sector in healthcare delivery i.e. PPP model.

Healthcare sector in our country remain underserved on all counts “ infrastructure as well as trained manpower. Also, there is great disparity in terms of medical facility available in urban and rural areas. There is a huge gap between demand and supply of medical services in country. Beside this we also face shortage of skilled medical and para-medical staff which also affects the delivery of medical services.

Considering the challenges prent in health sector and to ensure availability of quality healthcare to all, government is inviting and encouraging private sector participation in healthcare delivery.

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