The Digital AIIMS project, with nearly 45 lakh beneficiaries, has had the highest footfalls of Digital India Projects. AIIMS has been felicitated by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology for reaching the milestone of Indias first fully digital public hospital, says V Srinivas, Deputy Director, Administration, All India Institute of Medical Sciences in conversation with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Networks (ENN).
Tell us about the Digital AIIMS Project?
The Digital AIIMS project, implemented as part of the Digital India Initiative, has been widely termed as the First Digital Revolution in Healthcare in India. It has two components “ the e-Hospital Project and the AIIMS Transformation Project. The online registration software for AIIMS and three other hospitals of Delhi was launched on July 4, 2015 as part of Digital India initiatives by the Prime Minister of India. The Digital AIIMS project, with nearly 45 lakh beneficiaries, has had the highest footfalls of Digital India Projects. AIIMS has been felicitated by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology for reaching the milestone of Indias First Fully Digital Public Hospital. The Prime Minister commended the Digital AIIMS project from the ramparts of Red Fort in his August 2016 Independence Day address. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recommended the Project for the Prime Ministers Award for Excellence in Public Administration. As an official associated with the conceptualisation and implementation of the Digital AIIMS project from January 2015 till March 2017, I can say that the Digital AIIMS project can be termed equivalent to Saving the Titanic in creating a patient-friendly hospital at the apex medical sciences university of India. It has reduced patient wait times by six hours per visit and freed up clinicians OPD timings, brought transparency and streamlined patient records.
What is the role of specialised cadres in Digital AIIMS Project?
The e-Hospital project hitherto has been implemented in a fragmented manner leading to little impact on the institute activities. The Digital AIIMS project has envisaged and achieved a major change in the management practices of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. It required creation of specialised cadres in nursing, patient care, software professionals and security personnel. The Nursing Informatics Specialist cadre was created from within the existing nursing personnel to coordinate between the departments and the computer facility to ensure transparency in patient management practices. The new and follow-up appointments data are available on the Aadhar-enabled digital platform for easier patient management. The cadre of Data Entry Operators has enabled speed in registration at the OPD Counters. AIIMS used to have crowds waiting for the OPD registration from 3 am onwards. Today, patients come at 8 am and the registration process is completed by 9.30 am. There are fast track registration counters also for those patients who have made online registrations. The Patient Care Coordinators enable the patients to reach the clinicians OPD consultation rooms and allow follow up appointments. The Exit OPD counters have been created to ensure that the next visit date of the Patient is available to him along with investigation dates.
You have started OPD registration online. What are its advantages and what is the system of registering online?
The online registration system was commenced in July 2015. Till date the online registration has benefitted 45 lakh patients. The Aadhar linked online registration system enables the patients to develop online OPD cards and has a linkage with Pay Gov portal for making patient payments. It is a huge step forward for creation of patient friendly hospitals and has been replicated in all Central government hospitals as also several state government hospitals.
AIIMS has been asked to assist Hospitals in States across India for digitizing services. How are you going to do that?
The Prime Minister in his 2016 Independence Day address commended the Digital AIIMS project for replication on a pan India basis. The Digital AIIMS project can benefit about 3 crore patients if successfully replicated on pan India basis. AIIMS has conducted several on-boarding workshops for Central Government Hospitals. A Hospital Transformation Cell has been constituted for handholding state medical colleges and hospitals for creation of fully digital hospitals. AIIMS has conducted an on-boarding workshop for 42 medical institutions of Kerala. Several state governments have visited the Digital AIIMS project and a pan India replication process has commenced.
Do you have any proposal for creating online registration facilities for patients coming from other countries?
The online registration system enables patients to register from anywhere across the globe, with an Aadhar-enabled number.
What initiatives have you taken for cashless payments in AIIMS?
AIIMS has taken major steps for cashless payments through Internet banking, POS payments and other digital banking practices. Over 200 kiosks have been operationalised at AIIMS with Internet banking facilities. Patients can make payments through credit cards and other digital payment practices. The hospital services worked seamlessly in coping with the transition in the months of November – December 2016 post demonetisation.
What are the challenges of Digital AIIMS Project?
The replication of patient friendly hospitals requires sustained effort and commitment. The Digital AIIMS project was successful because it could bring together a large group of individuals and ministries who could function in synergy bringing their collective positivity to make a major systemic change.