Prabhakar Annaswamy, CTO, Idea Object Software Pvt Ltd., talks to Japneet Sabharwal, Elets News Network (ENN) about the positive changes in HMIS sector
How do you perceive the market for HIS/HMIS in India?
The market for HIS in India is in its developing stage. More and more hospitals are moving from locally customized billing software to standard HIS product based solutions. The hospitals are starting to have a strategy and team for IT and HIS plays a central role in it apart from other applications such as ERP, HRMS, etc. India is a very large market for HIS and we are focusing on the corporate hospitals who want IT as an enabler for their success and who can invest on the IT infrastructure and teams.
What are the unique HIS/HMIS solutions you have designed for Indian healthcare?
The workflows and requirements of Indian hospitals are very similar to the hospitals in rest of the Asian countries and Middle East. So we have developed a single product that we are targeting for India and abroad. In addition, to suit the internet & infrastructure availability in India, we have developed synchronization services which can enable remote locations to use HIS in an offline model.
On the technology front, what are the new developments that have come up in this field?
Mobile and tablet devices will be the key point of care devices in the near future and we are enabling our HIS to be available on these platforms. Technologies have evolved to support cloud -based HIS deployments and SaaSbased offerings. Codification of data using standard coding system such as SNOMED are available now and the data analytics and BI tools are getting deployed in hospitals today for management and decision making.
Indian healthcare is transforming very fast to match the international standards of IT infrastructure and implementation
How much investment is required for procuring HIS/ HMIS solution for a hospital infrastructure?
The investment will be in terms of software licenses for the product and professional service charges for the implementation. The extent of investment will vary based on the size of the hospital, concurrent users, and the modules that they need. We also support SaaS based offering where the hospital can pay a small recurring monthly fee and use the HIS Software hosted on our cloud.
What are the advantages the solution offers to the hospital caregivers?
Our product HealthObject addresses all the PAS (administrative) and EMR (clinical) requirements of the hospital, in addition to technological advancements such as multi location access, single patient record, integration with external systems, mobile and tablet access, etc. The major advantage is that it supports the standards based protocols (SOPs / Care pathways) which will help the caregivers in upgrading their processes to proven and international standards.
With decades of exposure and experience in healthcare, how do you visualize and uate the IT transformation?
The IT or IT enabled transformation is happening at various levels in the healthcare ecosystem, both in terms of hardware / devices and software. The acute care segment is more ITenabled today compared to the primary care segment. The diagnostics segment such as labs and radiology already depend a lot on IT automation for their day to day operations. Similarly, IT transformation is happening more at Tier I & II Cities and private hospitals compared to public hospitals. But Indian healthcare is transforming very fast to match the international standards of IT infrastructure and implementation.
IT illiteracy and lack of awareness often act as initial obstacles for health IT players. Did you face similar challenges?
In the major cities in India and abroad, we dont see IT illiteracy in hospitals, rather we see that the users are familiar with IT usage and are fast learners of the new system. The caregivers are generally busy with their work and getting their time and attention for requirements study and training has been an obstacle that needs to be managed carefully for successful implementation of the system.
Security is an integral aspect of Health IT Infrastructure. However, a majority of healthcare organisations havent yet woken up to its significance. Whats your take on this?
The scenario is changing in India and has changed long time back in many other countries abroad. Almost all the hospitals abroad and the Tier I hospitals in India do specify security as an essential non functional requirement. Our product, HealthObject has security implemented across all the layers of the architecture. We support anonymization of patient records and confidentiality of patient records such as investigation results to ensure that security is maintained throughout the application.