Bipin Thomas, President of UST GlobalHealth Group, in conversation with Shahid Akhter, ENN talks about the healthcare technology and how it is binding the players together
You provide end to end IT services and solutions across several industry segments. Please tell us about your foray into healthcare IT services?
UST Global is a leading provider of end-to-end IT services and solutions for Global 1000 companies. Since 2001, the UST Global Health Group has built a solid reputation for being a strategic IT partner for over 40 healthcare and insurance leaders. Our capabilities across healthcare ecosystem include consumer/patient experience, wellness, payer-provider convergence, and regulatory compliance. In the present scenario, many other stakeholders too must adapt to its new consumer-centric imperative in concert with one another. Medical device companies, home health enterprises, employers, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies will need to be connected and exchange data seamlessly. We have an integrated set of technology solutions and services to drive continuous advances in this massive new ecosystem.
What are the new trends in Health IT in India and what are the emerging new technologies?
In the new system, IT is playing a far more active role in binding the players together. Providers and payers alike will have to use technology to evolve quickly from B2B to B2C businesses. Through the kind of connectivity we provide customers, they will begin to monitor and track members progress on these counts. Pharmacies will become more important, for instance, in sharing data to keep consumers more compliant with their drug regimens. Using real-time communications and data, they will more efficiently interact with providers to adjust dosage and prescriptions where needed to reduce the need for clinic appointments. In many respects, health IT is facilitating similar models around the world, models that make universal sense.
Please spell out your healthcare IT initiatives that have impacted the Indian healthcare industry?
To further equip healthcare in India, UST Global Health Group is replicating its healthcare technology assets and proven capabilities from the U.S. We plan to offer it as a service and touch the larger community in India. Currently, our solutions in telemedicine are offered to a handful of large hospitals and telecommunication carriers, especially over wireless systems. However, the challenge remains to identify the high risk population early and create a disease management pathway that has a real impact. This would be done by leveraging population healthcare management and care management systems. UST Global is already engaged with government organizations to turn this dream into reality.
Why should one choose UST Global over other products and service providers? Your USP?
We are a substantial, experienced enterprise with healthcare business and clinical expertise. We are much more than just technology providers, we are healthcare strategists who understand the complex problems of healthcare delivery systems. We recognize and even create opportunities for customers using innovative IT programs. We cover the healthcare continuum with service offerings to address the specific requirements of managed health care, healthcare payers, providers, and life science sector-from claims systems to healthcare informatics and medical risk management systems.
What is your assessment and strategy towards clouds build-up?
A recent report from market research firm Markets and Markets reveal that cloud market is expected to grow to US$121 billion dollars by 2015: over three times the US$37 billion value in 2010. At UST Global, the cloud assessment and strategy for healthcare is builon our unique client-centric global engagement model. We apply client-centric approach to determine and propose the best cloud solution for improving efficiency, containing costs, and driving innovation. The R&D team uses a cloud agnostic approach and tests different cloud platforms and technologies to determine the best fit to meet customer re- quirements. Our cloud strategy delivers value through multiple levels, including flexible resource planning, agility, low risk delivery and continuous innovation.
In a country like India, there is a significant reliance telemedicine. How do you foresee the problem and the solution that can help the cause?
Indias journey to such digitization is at an early stage where support from the Government is still ramping up. We can learn from several countries that are already making use of vast amount of digital information to provide improved healthcare outcomes, save resources and enhance customer satisfaction. India is new to digitization. Either the data has not been col- lected, or it resides in silos.
USTs India Healthcare Industry Innovation Center is playing a crucial role in making this growth manageable. It started as a technology support center for global clients, but today the Innovation Center focuses on providing core technology solutions to clients globally. This Innovation Center hosts telepresence systems fully integrated with medical devices, and has built experience on major EMR technologies including the VistA electronic health record (VistA is an open source enterprise solution available from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the U.S.). The companyhas full-fledged sandbox environment within their offices for the team to build hands-on experience.
Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2014 has been introduced. Will there be a significant impact on healthcare if the bill becomes a law?
Yes, there would be significant impact on healthcare. In the US, for instance, one of the conditions is that patients must be located in an eligible location such as a physicians office, clinic, or hospital in a rural setting. That rules out the patient receiving care at home. The Telehealth Enhancement Act would waive that restriction.
“India is new to digitization. Either the data has not been collected, or it resides in silos”
What new should we expect from UST Global in coming years in the field of healthcare?
UST Global will continue to work closely with clients to provide innovative solutions to information, patient and business problems that are dependent on people, technology, and processes. Globally, we are solving complex consumer engagement, care management and ACO (Account Care Organizations) integration problems by combining technology expertise and subject matter experts.
UST Global leverages deep industry expertise from financial services, retail, and even online gaming to offer healthcare clients a competitive advantage and best possible care and outcomes for the consumers they serve. So we focus on customers and customers customer as our first priority. Our approach and commitment beyond contract to increase customers speed to market is the single most important factor in todays competitive marketplace.