Multiple challenges ail healthcare IT, say CIOs

A gathering of around 20 senior IT leaders from hospitals in Mumbai witnessed sharing and exchanging of information on best practices and adoption of latest technologies.

By ETCIO Bureau

ETCIO in partnership with Hospital Tech India, a non-profit body of healthcare CIOs and Ideal Analytics, a provider of self-service data analytics tool hosted a Digital Healthcare CIO session in Mumbai on the Challenges and Next Gen Tech Adoption in hospitals.

The event witnessed participation from around 20 CIO and senior IT leaders who shared their views on around digitization, analytics, mobility in Health, Healthcare Apps and Healthcare and Insurance.

Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors both in terms of revenue and employment. The industry is growing at a tremendous pace owing to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players.The industry is human intensive, and regimented with a lot of protocols and processes. This is also a problem statement because as much as healthcare is demanded in the country, there are not enough ways to service it. This is either due to a scarcity of skills or inadequate access to information, cost or the lack of an efficient clinical system.

One of the key focus areas of the session was a discussion around innovation in healthcare IT and the state of Health Information Exchange (HIE).

“HIE or electronic sharing of data is critical to improve quality and efficiency of healthcare systems,” said a CIO of a leading hospital present at the event.

Many of the CIOs opined that they are looking at digital for effective clinical and financial services and service excellence. Digitization is necessary to maximise patient quality, patient service, clinical outcomes, speed to diagnosis and the overall patient treatment speed, shared some of them.

One of the major challenges for these CIOs was getting doctors to embrace IT solutions. “Making the clinicians use IT systems is one of the major challenges that all hospitals are facing. To involve them in IT projects and rollouts requires significant effort,” said Suresh Kumar, one of the founding member of Hospital Tech India and also CIO of Seven Hills Hospital.

Ongoing pressure to help reduce cost and deliver greater value was another challenge that was raised during the discussion. Lack of standard software that can be developed for the sector was an inhibitor as every hospital has its own policies based on its management and legal entities. Hence, the customization level in the software becomes high in order to meet the requirements of the organization resulting in higher costs not getting the desired results.

“Exchanging patient data and creating a centralized repository is high on Hospital Tech India’s agenda. We want enable sharing of data with hospitals, government agencies, insurance companies and the general public for improving patient care and also fighting together against disease breakouts and epidemics,” said Girish Koppar, Sr. Manager IT, Lilavati Hospital and Research Center and another founding member at Hospital Tech India.

Captured data needs to be mapped with actionable form, otherwise it serves no purpose. The way forward will be around proactive decision-making. IT systems need to be built in such a way that they act like a watch dog and provide users at all levels with up to date information in real-time,” said Sanjoy Chatterjee, Director of the Board and CTO, Ideal Analytics.

According to a report released by Gartner in May 2015, Health care providers in India are expected to spend $1.2 billion US Dollars on IT products and services in 2015, an increase of 7 percent over 2014. This forecast includes spending by healthcare providers (including hospitals, as well as ambulatory service and physicians practices) on internal services, software, IT services, data center, devices and telecom services.

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