December 2011

Gujarat Hospitals-Savouring the Taste of IT

The polarising image of Gujarat has another chance to glimmer with its grandiose plans to integrate and redefine the ICT architecture of hospitals

By Shally Makin

At some point of time, all of us encounter a case with doctor or a hospital with all hopes that we will not see them again. Weak infrastructure of some Indian hospitals and disorganised management keeps us busy while we try to quit and wish to stay in a diseased state rather than get it treated. To our surprise, Gujarat proves us wrong where most of the hospitals have now integrated various systems through IT and organised to serve patients. Ganapati Budaji Thakur, undergoing treatment at civil hospital in Sola, Gujarat misplaced his prescription he got from the doctor. Undergoing the whole process of meeting doctor just to ask for another prescription was a cumbersome job for Thakur to do. Since he did not have another option, he spoke about his dilemma with a hospital official. Fortunately, the prescription was entered into the hospitals record and he received all the details again in a jiffy.

Why Gujarat?

The per capital income in Western India is highest in the country at US$ 850 (per person). It would be appropriate then to assume that this would have an impact on the level of automation of medical care in the region. Gujarat is one state where the various big hospitals are planning to expand in the state as it has a good infrastructure. Over half the hospitals surveyed (55 percent) belong to the Mission/Trust NGO category. Nearly 40 percent are privately owned and majority of them have less than 150 beds and only 17 percent are large, i.e., over 300 beds each.

The hospitals survey said that the most important reason for automation is the need for better service quality. New hospital set up is now going for IT. There are more than 1000 hospitals in Gujarat having more than 50 beds, out of which, 300 are multispecialty hospital and around 70 hospitals have more than 100 beds. Most of the multispecialty hospitals have software facility. The demand is increasing and availability of IT manpower is also available. So, new hospitals are coming up and established hospitals are opening their branches in small cities which further create a viable market in Gujarat.

Devendra Patel, Director, Medisoft Telemedicine, says, Gujarat takes credit to be a pioneer in ehealth and Telemedicine system development and implementation, since year 1998-99. Now, Gujarat is E-enabled state as its broadband network connects 14,000 villages, 24 hours electricity to more than 18000 villages and high quality tertiary care across the state. All these make Gujarat an ideal destination for Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and Telemedicine implementation.

ICT infrastructure Redefined

Gujarat is E-enabled state as its broadband network connects 14,000 villages, 24 hours electricity to more than 18000 villages and high quality tertiary care across the state.

Devendra Patel
Director, Medisoft Telemedicine

Gandhinagar Civil hospital was the first to launch the Health Management Information System (HMIS). Today the patients in Gujarat do not maintain their medical records in bulky files, but have it all recorded in the hospitals system every time they visit the doctor. HMIS is to build trust and confidence for the general hospitals in the hearts of the citizen by providing efficient and quality health services through IT application. Conceptualised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the streamlined operations have improved patient care and effective administration and control. This ensured quality of health using ICT as a tool to provide standard clinical and diagnostic tools, hospital management tools and integration of management information at the state level so as to ensure online review and monitoring. The Civil hospital touched the standard levels of delivering effective treatments with trained managers with the deployment of such software into the administration. The pilot project of HMIS programme gave desired fruits and from Gandhinagar Civil hospital it spread to other hospitals in the state. The initiative was scaled up to cover all 25 district-level hospitals along with six other major hospitals in the state.

HMIS proved so successful in Gandhinagar that the Gujarat government scaled up the initiative to cover all government-run hospitals to connect with the State Health Commissionerate and the Secretariat in Gandhinagar. This not only makes for greater accountability and transparency, but also facilitates prompt and vital policy decisions to tone up the hospital administration and improve health services. The system is aimed at management of vital patient records, analysis of the critical health related data so as to provide an updated planning and policy tool towards provision of quality health services.

Present Status of HMIS, Source: www.gujaratinformatics.com

No. of Users
No. of Modules
Size of Database
No. of Non Teaching Hospitals covered
No. of Teaching Hospitals covered
No. of LIVE Hospitals
No. of registrations
Average No. of Transactions
No. of Users Trained
7000 +
30
4 – 6 GB at each hospital. 95 GB at central server
24
6
30
Overall Gujarat 11,705,736
90069494 Total Transactions till date
13,000 +

Leveraging government resources, GVK EMRI has woven together the latest telecommunication, computing, medical, and transportation technologies. Public Switching Telephone Network, Servers, Data networks, Computer Telephony Integration, Telephone ERS, GIS database, specialised applications, Voice loggers at GVK EMRI have created new capabilities in the field of Emergency Management

Jashvant Prajapati
Chief Operating Officer, GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute

ICT in hospitals has achieved a number of objectives from creating electronic medical records to manage time for effective delivery of services to reduce manual transmission of data. The technology enabled workflow management reduces human error and improve data integrity with an opportunity to analyse cost and compare data. This unique project costs around ` 250 million and aims to create a single network for most of the hospitals across the state. So far the project covers more than 9000 users across 30 hospitals with the effort developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the Microsoft .NET technology platform. The hospital needs much less monitoring as the planning and control of medical data is integrated with the use of management tools, encourages eco friendly processes and parameterises alarms and triggers during patient treatment cycle.

Shalby Hospitals is one of the most organised private hospitals as each and every process is managed with in-house software such as purchase process, MIS reports, MRD management and pharmacy management. Some of the most commonly used software are electronic health records, chronic disease management systems, computerised practitioner order entry, clinical decision support system, electronic transfer of prescription, electronic appointment booking, personal health record, telemedicine, RFID and bar-coding and business intelligence. Shalby Hospitals took few more steps towards adapting new technologies by recently acquiring plasma sterilizer, 5-part blood cell counter, Vitros 250 dry chemistry analyser, ECQI immunology analyser and fully-automated urine analyser-U411.

Jashvant Prajapati, Chief Operating Officer, GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (GVK EMRI), an innovative pro-poor notfor profit (Public Private Partnership), speaks to us about the initiatives in Gujarat. The institute has provided an integrated emergency response 24 X 7 for any type of emergency, medical, police and fire through easy to remember – three digits, toll-free number 108. Technology and streamlined approach has enabled 108 to respond to more than 13.04 million emergencies and save 3, 55,216 lives in critical condition. In Gujarat, since its launch in Aug 2007, 108 has handled more than 2.6 million emergencies and saved 1, 28,479 lives with 506 ambulances.

Increasing access to technology is one thing, but the objective is to reach the last person in the queue, and to deliver the benefits that he or she is entitled to. This is the pillar of policy that we implemented in Gujarat

MM Prabhakar
Medical Superintendent, Civil HospitalAhmadabad, Gujarat

Sterling Hospitals is engaged in providing high quality medical and surgical care in a host of critical specialties for effective patient care uses technologies in various sections including Philips and Siemens Cathlabs, digital panel and radiology diagnostic equipments such as CT scan 40 slides, MRI 1.5 Telsa (GE), 4D color doppler, mammography and radio imaging solutions, Hi-end automatic biochemistry analysers, hematology analysers, microbiology analysers, PCR lab, immunology analysers and blood bank. Software applications have been installed in the hospital for 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.

Metamorphosis

Science and technology has created a new age today with a world of high speed and reach in every corner which necessitates in-tandem emergency assistance and health care management. Integrating the larger objective of GVK EMRI to provide the Right to Safety for common man, Gujarat looks forward towards synergising with upcoming projects like unique identification (Aadhaar), health management databases as well as telemedicine and emulous innovations in diagnostics and therapeutics, to strengthen the endeavors in health scenario and bring improvement in quality of life.

With the advent of technology, Gujarat has seen a metamorphic change since the establishment of healthcare entities. The hospital staff now has every reason to cheer up where the tasks are made effortless with the creation of a knowledge repository for research and development. The life of a computer operator has also become easy with the implementation of HMIS, as all reports are entered by five in the evening to be accessed by every doctor along with the medical history of each patient. The whole software gives a 360-degree view of the quality of services in government-run hospitals. The hospitals were reorganized and updated with the level that monitoring of malaria showed that the total number of patient registered was reduced from seven to one. With such a technology, there is no room for any error leading to a more rational planning for combating a disease.

Apollo hospitals have started thinking an IT way now. They have considered all the uses of digital technology to help individuals, businesses and organisations use information. The software like CRM, CAD, DTP data base software words processing, HIS, MIS are generally used in the hospitals along with equipments including personal computers, digital television, robots, scanners (e.g. CAT, MRI etc.), use of computers to process data, microprocessors are used in a variety of medical devices, computer guided lasers in surgery, all are the intrigued part of the system.

Gujarat health department has given freedom and flexibility to implement one health project for service to general public. ICT has very well been utilised in every district to provide medical facilities 24X7 in rural areas along with biometric attendance and citizen centres for the public service. Sat com project majorly deals with the implementation of telemedicine health consultancy with super speciality hospital. There is an upstream rural population which is now adopting ICT for handling medical issues as it does not suffer from any social, demographic, economic or geographical barriers. The youth is now mobile savvy and needs to be updated with information. The Migration Information Package (MIP) contains information on HIV/AIDS and general health. The whole system is integrated into four different modules which takes care of appointments to patient billing, managing waste to administrating complains, the whole system updates reports with minute details for each and every staff responsible in the department. The technology article is very well articulated in the figure presented by Gujarat Informatics Limited (GIL) which had undertaken the HMIS project.

The function of the HMIS includes accurate recording and updating every patients demographics. We have given one system in Mithapur in Gujarat and in Zydus Cadila Group. We are now concentrating in Gujarat Market.

Kumarswami
Director, Red Sun Communications

Kumarswami, Director, Red Sun Communications, highlights the need of ICT in hospitals to improve coordination. He says, PARAS HMIS is a web-based application engineered to Web 2.0 standards that provides ease of development, deployment and maintenance. The software is developed in latest Web Development Framework called Ruby on Rails (RoR).

Gen Next Hospitals

The increased efficiency of staff, easy access to electronic medical records and treatment recording cycle has set an example for the non ICT hospitals. The monitoring of day to day hospital functions has given a holistic view of management along with an effective decision support system. The Sanjivini Hospitals has set up an ICT center in Palsana taluka, Surat district which proves to be an obvious advantage for the ICT project to provide basic health facilities and educate the patients about basic healthcare. The centre has a great medical awareness potential to change the lives of the common citizen totally through technology.

In Gujarat, most of the midsized to large hospitals are equipped with HMIS, a complete end-to-end patient centric comprehensive business solution from Sai InfoSystem (India) Ltd. Based on Windows platform with SQL backend; it not only provides great ease of use but also ensures security of data. Proper monitoring software provides visibility of the entire throughput process. Although the initial cost of implementation of this technology is high but in the long run we can reap many benefits through the integration of external systems. This approach results in improved productivity and sustained profitability. It also offers superior clinical decision making, reduce operating cost and achieve a positive ROI.

MM Prabhakar, Ahmedabad Civil hospital, had all the good words for the upcoming technology. He adds, While it may raise the costs in private sector, in government hospitals focus is always on providing affordable healthcare. The overall impact of ICT has been very beneficial to healthcare sector.

The digitised medical equipments further fasten the processes as it reduces human error and produce results immediately so that proper treatment can be started at the right time. Focused training and orientation programs to hospital staff for right use of HMIS is required especially where there is deficiency of doctors. The software can be customised as per organisation and study system requirement and analyse work flow of the existing system to understand how hospitals function. Telehealth services are again a new trend in the hospitals where companies like EMRI and SIS offer various technologies to connect remote hospitals, provide time-saving, cost-saving and life-saving services. ICT can thus prove to connect remote hospitals and reduce cost of medicare through consultation, guidance and imparting education.

ICT has now bridged the gap between clinicians and patients to overcome the barriers of distance and time. The technology has developed virtual communities that interacts and shares knowledge for improving access to health care in remote or isolated areas.

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