Solution Providers Must Cater to Evolving Needs of the Healthcare Industry

By Sampath Kumar S, CIO & CTO, Sankara Nethralaya

Healthcare sector in India is going through a significant growth during the last few years, both in quality and capacity. On one hand medical tourism is picking up owing to lower cost of healthcare and international quality of services in India; on the other hand heathcare facilities in the country remain inadequate and inaccessible in rural areas.

To address these problems innovative systems are required for quick reporting of medical incidents and to implement an effective system of intervention to provide the best diagnostic and medical care to the affected patients and prevent further spread of the disease.

The private sector has initiated massive investments in various facets of healthcare. This is expected to position healthcare as one of the largest service sectors and a significant contributor to the GDP. Right technology deployment to supplement the quality medical delivery is the right solution to achieve irreversible success in this journey.

Addressing such a challenge in the purview of senior management team where CIO also has a key part to play. Many factors are involved in this, like upfront investment requirements and priority in the various spending that form a part of the budget provisioning.

The Healthcare Solution providers need to understand these constraints of the CIOs and build solutions that are scalable, but affordable to stay on par with the growth of the institution. The architecture and framework of the application from the Healthcare Solution Provider should stay in line with the constantly evolving needs of the subscribing hospitals.

Managing the Healthcare-IT Marriage

There are multiple needs that must be managed in the overall Healthcare- IT marriage. The need to stay on par and travel in the continuously evolving technology roads like BYOD, Virtualization, the need to have anytime/anywhere access to patient data, the need of the Business Manager for quick return on investment and also the need of CIO / CTO for optimising the TCO are the key challenges that impact and influence the technology deployment roadmap in Healthcare and it is true in the Eyecare sector also. Also it needs to go hand in hand with Medical technology advancements as these two are inseparable in Electronic Medical Records. Also the secured access of Electronic Medical Record, continuing requirements changes at the User end and also the availability of Network facilties for Tele consultations are additional challenges to be tackled by in CIO/ CTO jointly.

In Healthcare, the primary need is the instantaneous access of Patient Data at the point of care, primarily the availability of complete data at the Doctor’s desk. Sankara Nethralaya in the various regions receives close to 1800 patients per day who are taken through a series of administrative and clinical processes in Electronic Medical Record (EMR) applications.

The paperless management of Patient’s information imperatively needs the zero-down time of IT as a breakdown will bring the entire operations to a grinding halt. With this as the top priority, we have implemented a Highly Available (HA) and Virtualized Server farm through VMware along with Unified SAN Storage through NetApp for ensuring zero-down time with all redundancies built in at all technology junctions.

Vision for the Future

To keep up with all these developments, the IT team needs to stay on par with evolving technologies and build a quickly adaptable architecture for the dynamic business process changes. The vision of Sankara Nethralaya is to be the centre of excellence in delivering total eye care for all and spreading knowledge through education and training and carrying India centric research for alleviating visual morbidity.

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