Prashant Singh, DGM-IT, is all set to revamp IT at BLK Super Specialty Hospital. In conversation with Shahid Akhter, ENN, he shares his experience and the technological road map
How has IT helped in channelizing the flow of information between hospital, doctors and patients at BLK SSH?
There are various HIS modules installed at the hospital which takes care of the complete workflow between all stakeholders of the patient care delivery cycle. All modules are tightly integrated with each other in order to seamlessly transfer information from one touch point to another. The moment the patient is billed for consultation, doctors sitting inside their chambers manage the queue as the information is updated real time on their computer screens.
As soon as the patient gets admitted in the hospital, all related healthcare providers get intimation through SMS which helps in smooth interdependent operations between all the stakeholders.
Has data integration improved the clinicians user experience?
There are various data integration touchpoints in the hospital like Bi-Directional interfacing of 14 Lab equipments with HIS,which helps in reducing diagnostic reporting error; it also provides the clinician an extra confidence in diagnosis and the line of treatment. There is also seamless data integration between HIS and Microsoft Dynamic Navision which is responsible for auto posting of several financial entries being generated during the patient delivery cycle.
What are the challenges that come in the way of IT governance in the hospital?
One of the biggest challenges in the way of IT governance is the lack of adoption of the EMR/ EHR standards. Government of India, though, intends to introduce a uniform system for maintenance of Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records (EMR / EHR ) by the hospitals and healthcare providers in the country. An expert committee was set up to develop EMR / EHR standards for adoption / implementation in the country. Draft EMR / EHR standards were hosted on the website of the Health Ministry soliciting comments from the stakeholders and general public. After due consideration of the recommendation of the Committee and the comments received thereon, the Electronic Health Record Standards for India has been finalized and approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. But the implementation of these standards is still a distant goal.
What are some of the unique IT initiatives you have adopted at BLK SSH?
- l We have implemented an online Help Desk Manager portal which takes care of the complete workflow between the complainant and the service department. This received Gold Excellence award organized by HMA (Health management Asia award) in Sep 2013.
- To increase the effectiveness of the whole process of patient feedback, we have implemented a software module called Patient delight Management which takes care of all capturing points starting from daily ward round when the patient is admitted to the feedback captured during ward round and finally, feedback captured from the post discharge SMS sent to every patient within 48 hours of discharge time. Queue management software has been installed to enable seamless queuemanagement in the patient waiting area which also has features like Automated monitoring of Service wise TAT, Centralized Monitoring of Patient Waiting which ultimately converts into increased patient satisfaction.
How have you integrated mobile applications?
We are in the process integrating mobile application which might be launched by the end of Aug 2014 or only Sep 2014 which will host various features like calling hospital for help, viewing lab reports, giving patients feedback, Doctors directory, etc.
Does IT require investment and long term vision to conceptualize any strategy ?
Yes of course, IT requires a good amount of investment and a collective management vision to conceptualizeany strategy. IT helps transform the business idea to actual implementable process on ground. IT is an enabler and should be able to transform the management business ideas into reality. I am proud to be part of BLK where the management consists of IT savvy people who always think from the end point perspective and are sure of transforming it into the final goal or results.
How does IT transformation help the patient during his stay in the hospital and thereafter ?
the patients stay, various data points are captured through various processes which help in maintaining the transparency between the hospital and patient. Important diagnostic information is always available during and after the hospital stay. Lot of automated communication happens atvarious check points, for example the Bill Ready information sent to patient attendants mobile which really eradicates the botheration of asking the status of any process.
Seamless cross specialty referral communication help quick visit of a referral (not clear) consultation ensuring a speedy recovery. Implementation of Bar Coding technology in pharmacies helped patients getting the right medicine with reduced TAT (Turn Around time) BLK SSH is also planning to have a CRM which will take care of the post discharge communication and giving a wonderful ex- perience even after the hospital stay.
“Queue management software has been installed to enable seamless queue management in patient waiting area”
How do you ensure the safety of your data in the age of constant hacking and similar threats that can severely compromise the life of patients?
The hospital is equipped with the state-of-the-art firewall with intrusion detection protection along with the end-point security installed all across the hospital network.
Various encryption techniques have also been followed to prevent data leakage. Beside this, there is a continuous monitoring process of incoming traffic and gives alerts through various mechanisms. We are also planning a have a Data Intrusion audit from an authorized third party firm.
Is Cloud gathering momentum in Indian healthcare scenario?
Yes, of course. Cloud is really gathering momentum in India but not with a rapid speed; rather the momentum is basically led by big players or corporate hospitals. Although smaller hospitals are going for smaller cloud offering in terms of using mobile application hosted on cloud. Many hospitals are also moving various hospital applications on cloud to get rid of maintaining the infrastructure required for running application. BLK has already started the Cloud journey with migration of 1000 user mailboxes to Microsoft Exchange Cloud. Going further, moving the data centre will be next step towards the cloud journey.
Next big thing happening at BLK SSH by way of IT?
The implementation of PACS (Picture Archival and Communication System) is in process and will be completed by the end of September 2014, which will enable the hospital to archive and distribute diagnostic images within and outside the hospital for patient care enhancements, workflow improvements and operational efficiencies. This will significantly reduce the Image Pro- cessing and Transmission times and help in instant acquisition of data and analytical and clinical findings.
In order to improve the service excellence, we are uating CRM and BI tools which are available in the market as the next immediate step.