Insight of My Company and its IT Policies
Global Hospitals is a group of hospitals that is rapidly expanding in India. Besides specializing in such areas as Cardiology, Neurology and Ortho, Global is uniquely positioned in the multi-organ transplant - both live and from cadaver.
Views on Cloud and Virtualization
Cloud: While this technology is here to stay and expand, the chances of its adoption in the healthcare industry is, in my opinion, are slim. This is primarily due to the fact that hospitals guard their data on patients and treatments very closely for two reasons. One, patient privacy is highly regarded and legally mandated. Two, for business reasons hospitals rely on data to retain patients
Virtualization: This technology is making a resurgence for good reasons. Both hardware and software-based virtualization have found home in most medium and large scale enterprises. With an ever expanding hunger for memory and processing power both by operating systems and applications, it makes good technical and financial sense to embrace this technology. Healthcare industry is slowly realizing the importance of the data it collects and the sophistication of data analysis for effectiveness in its operational and clinical outcomes. With this, there is a significant rise in its appetite for computing and applications that make this possible.
Keeping up with Latest Technology
The Internet. What else? Well, to be fair, when I say the
Internet, I mean e-publications such as Silicon India and a veritable
trove of very good highly informative journals that are now available
online. While there is a shortage of healthcare IT related articles and
e-zines for and in India, general articles on emerging technologies and
those that are being dusted and given a new shine are all around us. I
read these and keep an eye out for any possibilities of application of
such technologies to my field. It would be very rewarding to see if
Silicon India ventured into creating a supplement that exclusively
covered healthcare IT.
With four operating hospitals in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad with
the fifth one coming up in Bombay, we have about 25 with an expected
expansion to about 40 over the next year.
Biggest Pain Point
Communication! There is a misconception of how and what healthcare
applications are intended for and how they should be used in hospitals.
The blame is probably equally shared by hospitals and software vendors.
In my experience in India, which spans a little over three years,
vendors seem to not require hospitals to define their requirements more
concretely and hospitals appear to leave a lot to the vendors in how an
application will work until after it is deployed. Having been the CEO
of a software company and with my current role in a hospital, I think
it would be reasonably fair to say that I have seen both sides.
Technology Heals Pain Points
Technology is in itself the culprit to some extent. What did
hospitals do before they introduced computers? To be fair, technology
is certainly the answer. I see my job as primarily being a good and
effective Communicator. Effectiveness in any organization is most
viable if there is good communication. CIOs could serve an organization
very effectively by being the champion of communication. All
departments and functions rely on hardware and software in their daily
lives. Top management relies on effective MIS for its administration.
CIOs could use their position as the bully pulpit by bridging all
departments with technology as the common platform. No department in
any organization has this advantage.
Slowdown Impact on IT Innovation
IT innovation in the 00s is the equivalent of engineering prowess
that Great Britain, Europe and then the USA displayed in hardcore
mechanical and civil engineering feats all the way from the 1400s. IT
today has the most envied position of being a part of most of our daily
lives. There is electronics in practically everything we see and use
around us. Today we live in a truly digital world - from the coffee
maker and microwave in your kitchen to the car or scooter we ride to
work to the phones, electronic personal gadgets such as notepads and
laptops we use daily. Digitization has allowed us to change the
paradigm in a very real and a very big way. SMS technology, for
instance, is pliable and limited in its use only by our imagination. We
can name just about any currently available technology that fits that
reasoning. Every individual has tasted the digital dessert and wants
more of it in more ways.
Digital security in healthcare is not very different from other
industries. However, since few of us are using Cloud technology, we
have physical access and possession of the data we collect and own.
This poses a very real challenge in having a good policy for firewall
security without sacrificing legitimate access and speed, backups,
recovery process, redundancy of data in multiple locations, etc. Due to
the nature of the industry I can only discuss these aspects in a
Adoption of Cloud Policy
No. Due to reasons outlined in discussing the technology in question 1, we do not foresee it in the near future.
Role of Cloud
Unfortunately, in my experience, this has not featured for me to be competent in making any statements.
IT Budget Upgrading Plan
IT budget expands in phases in a hospital. It is not unusual to see a
considerable spend on hardware related purchases one year and very
little the next three years.
IT Leader – Manager First or Technologist First
A technologist first, without a doubt. IT leaders have the innate
requirement of being thirsty for what is out there and what would be of
benefit for their organization. IT leaders have the unique role of
bringing something to the table that is not common knowledge to anyone
else in the organization. Simply put, knowledge of how a particular
industry is doing and other factors such as the latest technology in
making widgets is available to the top management of the organization.
However, the IT leader in an organization can bring forward a
technology that would give that company an edge over the others in the
ROI on the Technology
Sorry, I have not been successful in this exercise. I have not been
able to effectively quantify this yet. However, I have put forth the
following rationale. For instance, if I want to provide and maintain
98% uptime of the systems IT manages, we could quantify in terms of our
in-house cost as opposed to employing a vendor that would meet the same
criteria. Other than that, unfortunately, we have not quantified ROI
for our investments as of now.
Business Intelligence & Analytics and Clinical Outcomes.
Relationship Between CIOs and CEOs
In my capacity as Group CIO, I have five hospitals that come under me
as far as IT is concerned. As such, building a relationship with the
Unit heads is an integral part of my job. Reporting to the Chairman
& Managing Director, I have the task of aligning Unit objectives
with the Group objectives in all aspects of the operations since IT
impacts all areas. My role is most effective when I can communicate and
work with individual Unit heads giving them what they need while at the
same time keeping their goals aligned with the Corporate goals.
There is a lot I need to learn from my colleagues in the healthcare
industry. Having worked all my life in the US with about 20+ years of
it in healthcare, I constantly find myself learning things that I could
not have even anticipated. The culture in India is very different from
what I have become accustomed to and therefore it is always a
If there is one thing that I have observed in our culture,
it is that we are not very clear when it comes to communication.
Excellent communication between and among parties in a transaction
crystallizes objectives and expectations which makes delivery and post
delivery outcomes very palatable.