The mindshare of CIOs of India’s leading healthcare organizations on IT strategy, technology roadmap, purchasing trends, evaluation priorities and a host of related aspects that concern the modern healthcare industry.
By Divya Chawla
Despite being a hub for IT and IT-enabled services industry, India, in the past, lagged tremendously in the adoption of IT in hospitals as compared to the western countries. Studies suggested that large corporate hospitals in India spend less than 1 percent of their budget on IT, while countries in the west are spending somewhere close to 3 percent. The good news, however, is that in the recent past, there have been certain positive developments in this field that have provided the requisite impetus for much greater IT adoption in hospitals in India. Privatisation and corporatisation of hospitals coupled with growing awareness of the benefits of IT solutions is driving this trend.
“My IT vision is to leverage technology for improving patient care and efficiency of the clinicians”
Dr Neena Pahuja
“The best IT structure in any organisation depends upon the perfectdecision of the managers and their administrators’ support”
QRG Central Hospital & Research Centre
“The Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4.0 solution at AIMS ensures greater transparency and control, saves billing time and reduces patient wait time”
Head– ITAsian Institute of Medical Sciences
Macro Objectives of IT Implementation
All hospitals have certain aims and objectives while implementing a health IT solution. While some look at the broader picture and opt for solutions that in the long-run would provide value to the functioning of the organisation, there are others who prefer solutions that provide immediate benefits. Almost all hospital CIOs surveyed for this report said that they preferred solutions that offered long-term strategic value rather than short term departmental process improvement.
The basic requirement almost 62 percent of hospital CIOs from their health IT solution is standardisation. The remaining 38 percent prefer solutions that would provide flexibility over standardisation. This suggests that standardisation is one of the key demands of hospitals these days. When asked about her expectations from an IT solution, Dr Neena Pahuja, CIO, Max Healthcare said, “The top most goal for IT currently is to align with business and provide better quality of patient care. IT is expected to provide tools for collaboration and alerts for better patient safety standards.”
Selecting a Vendor
Choosing the right vendor is crucial for hospitals. A wrong decision at the beginning itself can hamper the benefits that the hospital would want to achieve from IT. It is interesting to note that despite India being a cost-sensitive country and hospitals keeping meager budgets for IT solutions, none of the CIOs chose the cheapest solution provider as a key requirement. Instead, almost 75 percent CIOs are actually looking for the best quality provider, and the remaining 25 percent expect that the vendor to be an end-to-end deliverer.
“Apart from the administrative advantages, the clinical advantages of a health IT solution are tremendous”
Dr Karanvir Singh
Head – HIS Implementation
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
The Measure of Success
The benefits of an IT solution are many. As put by Dr Pervez Ahmed, CEO, Max Healthcare, “An IT solution not only helps an organization in reducing cost and enhancing quality of services offered, it also has much in store for patients who are able to maintain their records online through electronic medical record solutions.” Almost 17 percent of hospital CIOs measure the success of a health IT solution on the basis of increase in services, while majority of them, around 83 percent, believe that increase in overall quality and customer satisfaction is the key to success.
A plethora of software options are available these days that add to the confusion of hospitals that have to choose the best solution that fulfils all their requirements. When asked about their preference, 14 percent of hospital CIOs would opt for commercially available off the shelf (COTS) software, 28 percent would opt for customised software and 58 percent would choose a mix of both for maximum benefit.
For an IT solution to function efficiently in an organization, it has to be interoperable to an extent allows the hospital to connect with all required parties. Fifty eight percent of hospital CIOs believed that a best solution would be one which is interoperable with IT solutions of any and every hospital. Twenty eight percent would want the software to be interoperable with their existing IT solution, while the remaining 14 percent would choose a solution that is interoperable with their affiliate/network hospitals.
A plethora of standards exist, today, for healthcare IT solutions that measure various levels of solution functionality including ICD, HL7, DICOM, IHE and SNOMED. Sixty seven percent of Indian hospital CIOs believe that standardization is one of the key requirements and a solution must be standardized to any of the standards that exist. ICD and HL7 standards were chosen by 11 percent CIOs each and 10 percent CIOs said that their solutions must be compliant with the DICOM standards.