There are several challenges in IT implementation, for a multi-specialty
hospital like Max Healthcare spread across nine locations in the NCR with plans
of adding four more locationsMohali, Bhatinda (Punjab), Dehradun (Uttaranchal),
and Shalimar Bagh (Delhi).
As the driving force behind the adoption and implementation of right
practices, Dr Neena Pahuja, CIO, Max Healthcare has her hands full.
So what keeps the pulse racing for the Max hospitals? IT for sure has been a
key enabler for making available all the required information in time for
doctors and medical practitioners at hospitals.
Says Pahuja, "We have a patient record system that keeps track irrespective
of where the patient goes for the treatment. The data of a patient is centrally
stored and complete medical history details are available, which can be easily
retrieved from the database." Currently, Max has pathological records stored in
a central server database. The hospital has also implemented a concept called
picture archival and communication system (PACS) in four hospitals of Max. Every
imagewhether it is the neuro-image, MRI, CT, onco-image, and X-rayis stored in
the PACS. At the backend, the hospitals have a strong telecom network as well.
We have a separate annual budget plan for
Neena Pahuja, CIO,
Electronic health records (EHR) is another top priority for Pahuja. There are
currently few hospitals that use EHR model. Says Pahuja, "EHR provides complete
information images, results, diagnosis of disease, medicines and prescriptions
suggested, and medical history of patients. For this, we have partnered with
Perot (now Dell-Perot), which is implementing the infrastructure support. Even
though we are still in the early stages in terms of design, however Dell-Perot
has been fully responsible for taking care of our EHR implementation."
In addition the hospital information system (HIS) or the hospital management
system (HMS) that is in place at Max is a home grid system. Most of the systems
were not mature to take care of Indian requirements, and currently the home grid
system is the HMS as it takes care of all the processes, especially the billing
system at the hospital which is very unique.
As the CIO of Max Healthcare, Pahuja believes that motivating the doctors to
enter the data in the system and bringing about a change in the mindsetsmaking
them believe that EHR is not just an IT projectare some of the key challenges.
The issue of how to scale up the infrastructure which is aligned to the thought
process of the hospital is another challenge. Pahuja adds that reliable
connectivity is a critical issue. Making available a local support in the IT
departments at new locations like Bhatinda or Dehradun is also another task
which Pahuja will have to deal with.
Max too is looking at cloud and virtualization. Says Pahuja, "These are
technologies of the future. Cloud computing is something that Max is looking at;
wherein if we get a cost benefit analysis from a vendor at a decent price, we
are ready to adopt it today. We want to give data to the patient and do not want
to restrict it to data centers only. The best way to share information with the
patient is to provide it on storage cloud." The hospital is already looking for
some vendors who could offer such services, and Max is hopeful of starting the
implementation by April 2010.