Rajesh Batra, Vice President, IT, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, believes that IT has all the ingredients to provide seamless experience not only to the patients but the hospital staff as well. He tells more to eHealth in a detailed conversation
IT is still fraught with obstacles when it comes to Indian healthcare domain. How do you plan to overcome these challenges?
As anywhere in life, change is not easy to embrace but a necessary constant. Hence, when we introduced a new HIS (Hospital Information System), the adaption was slow. IT had to partner with Clinical Administration to provide a path to the health practitioners to explain benefits of the change being introduced. The path clearly spoke about better outcomes and more time for patients. Partnering with clinical administration and billing helped sail the new system to becoming a new way of life.
How can cloud help in healthcare sector?
Fast pacing cloud technology is the way forward to providing a lower cost and better care. We are always exploring new boundaries to improve the outcomes. We are also implementing a new PACS system that is Picture Archiving & Communication System, that would provide images to doctors to start patient care while being any- where in case of emergencies.
We are exploring home devices to push data to the hospital systems through the cloud, as a start.
In the long term, when the telecom platform is ready to take on the load of heavy hospital data, we will explore to move more and more to the cloud.
How can it be of help in improving patient care?
The cloud has huge potential in improving the standards of care. The boundaries are being explored and people are starting to do more and more while reducing costs. This is one space which will push the boundaries every year and help the care givers focus more on patients and outcome of treatment.
How does IT channelize the flow of information among hospitals, doctors and patients?
Prime strategy of IT is to help seamless flow of data between all parts of the wheel in the hospital. By implementing HIS, SAP and PACS and improved reporting tools, data is flowing between all. Today, data is available to care givers at their desk without moving around and focus on the patient. IT is a strategic partner in the wheel at a modern hospital integrating and providing a seamless experience.
Has data integration improved the clinicians user experience?
The clinician gets all the data at a single source to decide treatment plan without following up or running around or chasing people. Today, the clinicians based on data can have discussions with their colleagues and decide care plans which have better outcomes.
How does IT help in the maintenance of quality in healthcare?
IT is becoming strategic component of health care delivery in modern hospitals. It is seamlessly and repeatedly providing details and information from all the sources. Hence, there is enough data going around in maintaining and focusing on patient care and outcome.
Spell out some of the challenges that come in the way of IT governance?
IT being a strategic part of the hospital has its own share of challenges. It takes strategy and vision along with good salesmanship to make the care giver grasp the IT tool being offered and use it effectively. Partnering with all quarters in the hospital is the key to improved health care delivery and better adoption. This helps in measuring health care standards and im- proves IT governance.
What are the IT initiatives that you have adopted at your hospital?
We have implemented a newer HIS and integrated our back office SAP and provided seamless integration providing a single window for all things for patient and employee. This allows the care givers spend more time with the patient. The path lab reports have created a new standard in the industry in terms of visual appeal and information. It removes patient anxiety and shows trends, if the patient has been to KDAH earlier.
And a brand new PACS providing more information to the doctors to make better decisions and improve patient safety.
What about mobile applications?
The doctors in any hospital believe, like in patient examinations to ascertain patient problems and provide better treatment. We have health care related mobile application already available for iOS and Android. We are in the process of implementing a new PACS which provides images through hand held.
We are looking at options to provide more option through mobile medium.
Does IT require investment and long term vision to conceptualize any strategy?
The key to an improved life needs vision, investment and planning. Like a person plans his investment, retirement and old age care needs careful vision and planning, IT is encompassing of a lifecycle.
In real life IT needs long term vision and strategic conceptualization to meet end results. Kokilaben Hospital is always open to newer technologies to improve patient safety. Hence, we keep exploring and pushing the envelope.
“Like a person plans his investment, retirement and old age care needs careful vision and planning, IT is encompassing of a lifecycle”
How has IT transformation helped the patient during his stay in the hospital and thereafter?
KDAH is dedicated to patient care and safety. KDAH has implemented a new HIS which enables the care givers to focus on patients and less on sundry. The system allows more transparency of outcome as the doctors and nurses focus on patients and making billing more transparent. The clinical reports are color coded reducing patient guess work or internet search. We have follow up mechanism in place which allows clinical administration to schedule follow ups etc.
We are looking at possibility with various OEMs to start home care through devices and data flowing back to the hospital. This would be especially helpful to the elderly.
What is the next big IT initiative you are looking at?
KDAH is dedicated to patient safety and we keep exploring ways and means to provide more to the care givers to improve outcomes. We are in the process of implementing a new PACS. This will improve reporting time and will provide images to the doctors earlier through hand held devices. That allows doctors to start treatment earlier in case of emergency and improve care.
We are implementing an advanced visualization tool for doctors. This would allow the doctors to plan surgeries better and improve patient safety and reduced surgical times.
Also, we are exploring CRM to improve contact centre experience for patients and their relatives.
As IT gets more strategic, will IT be driven more by way of business rather than IT?
IT has got more strategic than in the past. Hospital strategies have IT in the centre and no modern hospital can be without. These days IT gets more done in the hospital from Patient care through HIS to back office in terms of Materials Management to financial accounting to HR and providing diagnostic results from Pathology labs to Radiology to the practitioners desktop. Remote centres of hospital are being connected to the main hospital providing the Patient a seamless experience and record availability. IT just keeps doing it silently and gets more done.