We have applied a Six Sigma approach in medical care

DQI Bureau
New Update

Son of Former President of India, Late Fakhruddin Ali

Ahmed, Dr Pervez Ahmed, CEO of Max Healthcare has raised the bar and set

standards, bringing radical changes at Max Healthcare by promoting and

encouraging usage of technology in its infrastructure. Influenced by his

grandfather who was a physician, Dr Ahmed nurtured his ambition of becoming a

doctor since childhood. He has been able to bring in more accountability,

introduce quality parameters leading to transparency at Max. In an exclusive

interview with Dataquest, Dr Ahmed talks about the relevance and importance of

IT and how would it enable the user community in hospitals to increase

efficiency in their work culture. Excerpts


I ts been a year now as the CEO of Max Healthcare.

What have been your strategies to improve operational efficiencies at Max

We have some ongoing processes which we have been following for

years. We take one particular department and carry out some initiatives there.

Later we make it applicable to other departments. There are certain parameters

we look at such as mobility, mortality, surgical departments, patients

re-operated on after initial procedures, incidents of infection which is

followed for each department. We call it quality parameters. The data we have

been managing and calculating in the past two to three years comes under these

parameters. We have applied a Six Sigma approach in medical care to improve our

processes. For example, we followed the Six Sigma approach in catheter related

blood stream infection in intensive care units. We found a root cause analysis,

created a robust plan around it, and reduced the catheter related blood stream

infection to zero. These are some initiatives that we have done in one

department, and would follow the same approach in other departments across Max.

You have been responsible for bridging the gap between

clinical and non-clinical systems at Max. How important is IT for your


I attach a lot of importance to IT at Max Healthcare. We have been using the

hospital information system (HIS) application from the financial and accounting

perspective. Recently, we have also signed a deal with Perot-Dell for IT support

and data networking while also fully transitioning towards electronic health

record systems. We plan to reach level 5 or level 6 IT provider. Level 7 is

completely paperless, and no hospital has reached that level. So, Max is

reaching the point where processes and CPOE, tracking, business analytics and

medical error reduction will improve, thereby bridging the gap between clinical

and non-clinical departments, thus enabling better communication and business



What are the strategic values of outsourcing in the

healthcare vertical?

We have been doing some outsourcing, especially in areas such as

housekeeping at Max. Since the housekeeping staff comes from a class which is

not so educated; they are tough to discipline, more likely to unionize, and have

higher rates of attrition. Therefore, we have a strategy in place, particularly

in outsourcing for housekeeping. From an IT perspective, our core strength is

not technology, but we obviously require services of an IT department. Doing it

ourselves is a cumbersome and expensive task, so outsourcing IT to people who

are experts in the field is a better and an efficient model; and cost-effective


You have been a strong supporter of technology, especially

cloud services at Max Healthcare. How are you aligning IT with your business


I look at IT as an enabler and new technologies can improve the processes in

healthcare. There are business analytics in healthcare which has a lot to do

with the opportunity to access data and convert that data into valuable

information. The role of IT as an enabler is huge, and can help reduce cost and

also reduce medical errors and adverse events in medical care. All this can

become easier if we have IT in place which can track and measure proactively

rather than go for a standard manual approach, while improving the efficiency

model. Max Healthcare has plans to go for new technologies such as cloud since

we see a lot of benefits for the healthcare vertical in particular.

What are the unique IT challenges in the healthcare

vertical? How did you address these issues?

We are in the process of implementing a new program called the electronic

health records (EHR), and one of the challenges we have is the adoption of

applications. For example, clinical references group gives inputs to the IT

department who then make sure that the current processes are in place. However,

the adoption of such applications by users is low owing to cultural issues. One

would have to create India-centric IT solutions which suits Indian users as per

their requirements and help achieve efficiencies. We have a set of people at

various levels, and we are monitoring them closely in terms of the progress made

in adopting the application by users.

What are your views on technology usage in the Indian

healthcare sector vis--vis global counterparts. Is technology adoption in

Indian hospitals in sync with their global counterparts?

In corporate and large hospitals, almost everyone is using the AGT patient

accounting, hospital information system (HIS) and some basic business HR model.

The integration from these models to electronic health records is very sporadic

as some places have it and some dont. If one needs to leverage IT for

maintaining costs and reducing healthcare costs, one actually has to be able to

share the information from one provider source to another because if a patient

has been investigated previously, it is obviously not required for us to

re-investigate the patient. This kind of information sharing will be of great

value for insurance companies, for regulatory compliance, and also for

providers. However, we havent achieved this level as yet.

PC Suraj