Health IT

Healthcare in Era of Digital Convergence


Varun Sood
CIO, Fortis Healthcare Limited

Technology in healthcare is moving up to be the differentiator, source of going forward and a key enabler as far as Fortis Hospital is concerned, informs Varun Sood, CIO, Fortis Healthcare Limited to Prathiba Raju of Elets News Network (ENN)


How ICT is transforming the healthcare sector?

Indian healthcare system has evolved a lot in the past 10 to 12 years in principal and in past four to five years we have seen more focus on the ICT sector in particular and it has been leveraged to a great extent by providers. Technology in healthcare initially focused more on to improve the efficiency and productivity, while now it focusing more on to improve the access and reach out to more people and provide quality care. ICT is playing a major role in the healthcare space.

What are the ways in which IT adoption is evolving the healthcare sector?


A lot of people are now deploying examples of EMR, e-prescriptions and virtual consultants, clinical analytics tools and out coming tracking tools; with more data getting accumulated and gathered, there is much more benefit which is coming and helping transform the healthcare industry and it will further also help to reduce the burden on the industry. As the technology helps to collect data of a particular patient over a period of time, it gives more personalized and appropriate care. It also helps to come up with demographic and clinical analysis.

As we move on to digitising healthcare, how do you think a regulatory architecture in virtual medicine will help?

We should be proactive in setting up the regulation. In telecom sector, we first placed the regulations and then we moved ahead. Broadcasting regulations followed the industry and we are at a point that we should be able to set up the regulations. There can then be a level playing field as the industry will be clear on what can happen or may not happen. Potential of the digital health technology to transform healthcare is tremendous and we should be ideally working towards to have a regulatory framework put in place for the whole industry.

In Fortis how much of focus is given to IT?

Technology is looked up to be the differentiator and source of going forward. It has been a focus for the past three to four years and has been a key enabler as far as Fortis is concerned. We are building up innovative solutions which are focused on customer engagement, empowerment. Anybody anywhere should get access to Fortis and we want to enable our patient share and manage their health data. As an individual they are aware about the health. Couple of months ago we launched Integrated Child Health Tracker (ICHT) app, which is a hands on feature for the new parents and parent to be who can monitor the child progress, growth patterns and vaccination schedules. Currently it’s linked to one hospital in Delhi, but it will be scaled up across all our hospitals.

How Fortis helping out the rural healthcare via IT?

Fortis is engaged and has partnered with another company to create solutions around virtual clinics. We are in the process of setting it up and then piloting it in a few months. After piloting it we will see how to roll it out to Tier II and Tier III and other locations. For few years now we have had telemedicine, but with technology we have grown and the virtual clinic will be much advanced. It will be much more than a doctor talking via video conference to a patient. Virtual clinics would be a place where there will be a technician with integrated medical device and he would able to run the diagnostics on real time, enabling doctors to see and engage and hear the heart beat. We would also look for enable, empower the customers via mHealth.

How do you see India as market for IT healthcare innovations?

I don’t have exact numbers but this market will grow at least 2.5 times in next five years. I would say this one segment which will make significant impact to healthcare domain. It will help transform healthcare.

Do you think government and private sector should work together to enable healthcare? You’re Comments

In my experience it is very important that both the government and private players sector engage and jointly work towards to the overall empowerment of healthcare. Such engagements bring in value because the challenges on both the sides; what government is looking at and what the private sector is facing. For example the standards we designed for health data’s was jointly created by a working group by private and government collaboration. We should move it in a positive and proactive manner.

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