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Technology To Heal Inefficiencies In The Healthcare Industry

by Arvind Sivaramakrishnan - CIO, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited April-2015

Founded in 1983, Apollo Hospitals (NSE: APOLLOHOSP) is an Indian hospital chain based in Chennai, India. Apollo Hospitals Group owns and manages 56 hospitals in and around India and has continuously excelled and maintained leadership in medical innovation, worldclass clinical services and cutting edge technology.


Technology has become an inevitable part of our life today. We have gladly clinched its use in all spheres of our work. The healthcare domain which has been growing as one of the most promising and significant sector, is no exception to this. The industry is constantly striving to meticulously use technology for improving different operations around healthcare and bring efficiency and quality in the way healthcare services are delivered. Well-managed hospital operations can effectively contribute to clinical excellence and service delight. This means the complete patient journey during a healthcare process or a typical outpatient experience has to be managed efficiently. In such a case, the adoption of IT in driving operational synergy is an obvious choice that will enable a well synchronized process. In the healthcare domain, IT not only helps to capture patient registration and appointments flawlessly, but also ensures that right information is relayed to the appropriate process owners in the entire workflow, thus enabling efficiency. 

When it comes to a cost effective healthcare process, the use of technology will strongly enable clinical, financial, operational and service excellence. This in turn will contribute to higher and better clinical outcomes thus directly benefitting the patient and reducing the overall cost of healthcare. As an overall process, the use of the right mix of traditional and disruptive technologies can be very effective in ensuring that access to healthcare can be far and wide. At Apollo, we have wide range of solutions enabling remote patient care and patient engagement solution that ensure patients are well managed even if they are not within the hospital premises. A mature combination of eHealth and mHealth that exploit mobile and internet technologies gives patients better access to efficient and effective healthcare. Tele medicine, Tele Radiology , Remote patient management including eICU , Virtual visitor , Apollo prism – the PHR , eDOC – the online appointment scheduling solution, and effective EMR are some of the technology solution we have that enable access to healthcare to a wider reach.

Identifying the Potholes

It is always a priority to ensure that technology works 24x7x365 and that it works seamlessly. It is not only about whether the solutions work or not, it is about the solutions which needs to be well orchestrated to work in tandem with the healthcare workflows. This is not only a priority but a challenge as well. It is also of prime concern to ensure that the change management that goes along with implementation of technology based interventions is extremely well managed. Training is a vital part of ensuring that everything runs well. Training is not a one-time activity but has to be periodic in all forms and shapes and at all levels, not just within IT but also with our end users.

The use of technology clearly ensures that the right information is given to the right person at the right time to ensure right decisions so that the patient is well managed in the cycle from illness to wellness. The use of EMR, ERP and other integrated solution enables streaming of operations. It ensures that every process is standardized and follows mature protocols and operating procedures such that there is no compromise on quality and effectiveness. It also makes certain that human error is minimized and clearly patient safety is maximized.

Innovation is the Key to Success

Taking into account the upcoming trends in the way healthcare is delivered, Mhealth and predictive analytics are very interesting areas that can offer a great deal of value to healthcare delivery and clinical effectiveness. At Apollo, our culture of innovation is a continuous process. We have the right teams looking at every touch point in the workflow and feel certain that we are on the right track. This constantly motivates us to innovate our processes and do our best for better outcomes. We have deployed some very interesting solutions on PHR, mHealth , eICU  and many more that are now being worked. We truly believe that the use of technology will transform healthcare and be an effective enabler for healthcare delivery. (As told to Nandini Mukherjee)