Is IT really impacting Healthcare?

I attended an event this evening (18th July 2013) organized by TiE Chennai as a part of its Healthcare Special Interest Group (SIG).  It was a panel discussion on Adoption of Technologies in healthcare business.

Although the title said Technologies, it was more about adoption of Information Technology (IT) in Healthcare, given the profile of the speakers.

First the moderator Sudhir Rao of Indus Age spoke about the relevance of IT in Healthcare on a broader level.

Sudhir Rao

He then invited Dr Ajit Mullasari, the Director of Cardiology at MMM (The Madras Medical Mission) to speak.

Dr Ajit took us through the criticality and need for timely treatment of Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) popularly known as ‘heart attack’ but bemoaned the several hurdles in the way of a patient getting it.

dr ajit mullaseri


He then shared the pilot project wherein a patient suffering from signs of AMI in a remote place would proceed to a spoke hospital to  be administered the first level of treatment.  He would then be taken by an equipped ambulance to a hub hospital where he can receive the angioplasty within time.  Dr Ajit talked about the technological issues faced by his team in terms of equipment compatibility and  connectivity.

It was the turn of Arvind of Attune, a software development company that has built a platform for deploying cloud-based Hospital Information systems and Lab Information systems.

dr ajit mullaseri


Arvind talked about his base of customers ranging from a single practice of a GP to a 800 bed hospital in Bali.

Harish Sivaraman, CTO of Medall then talked about the need for building scalable systems to meet the growing needs of organizations like his.  Although they built some applications in-house, the bigger challenge was getting them used across the board by the staff.  He used the analogy of games that are played by young and old alike to drive home his point of making the IT systems engaging to the people who were using it.

After Sudhir Rao’s comments, the floor was open for questions from the audience.

To a question on how do hospital owners react to systems when there is interconnected deals between the lab, the hospital and the pharmacy (raised by yours truly), Arvind replied that it was certainly an issue amongst small hospital owners.  He is therefore trying to address the other segments such as corporate hospitals, NABH certification and those that have the insurance as the main source of revenue because they would need transparent systems.  To another question (again from me) on whether there are any standards for data security on the lines of HIPAA in the US, Arvind responded that there were absolutely no standards in the Asian markets.

To the question from Rama Venugopal of Value Added on the very few instances IT on the clinical operations as against the predominant business applications, Dr Ajit responded that technology providers are more keen to sell what they have rather than develop something that the users want.  Arvind was of the opinion that Indian IT companies are good in the how to develop solutions but were clueless on ‘what to develop’ meaning the lack of domain expertise.  Sudhir supplemented this by saying that it is not only in Healthcare but almost in every industry.

Then Dr Ram from the audience talked about his own initiative in supporting ICUs in the US remotely from India using IT.

Pravin Sekhar, Secretary TiE, then proposed the vote of thanks in his usual witty fashion.

I have a request for the TiE Team to allot more time for Q & A and make it more interactive.



1 Comment

  1. July 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    HIT is definitely a complex and pressing topic right now. Thanks for sharing this information. We frequently cover hospitals and health IT systems, if you’re interested: Feel free to share your thoughts.

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