by July 5, 2008 0 comments

Gone are the days of those hand-scrawled notes, scribbled prescriptions, big
diagnostic charts, patient queues, and lost patient charts. Today, all this info
and critical details are no more than a keyboard click away. IT is fast bringing
an apace makeover of the healthcare industry and changing the face of
traditional doctor–patient relationship.

Healthcare, being an information intensive sector, is one of the key areas
that is benefiting from the use of information technology. The big Indian
hospitals have now realized that with IT they can not only automate their
medical processes, but also cut costs and increase the ROI. Technology has
become a constitutional part of healthcare and is addressing to many issues that
have been of concern for the industry for many decades. Picture archiving and
communication systems (PACS), Healthcare information systems (HIS), and
telemedicine are a few of the many IT applications in healthcare. IT has
bestowed enormous benefits such as creating a one-stop data warehouse for all
clinical activities, faster patient throughput and diagnosis, reduced manpower
requirement, and cases being referred overseas.

We talk all this and more with the help of 2 disparate case studies-one of an
ashram and other of a corporate hospital, where IT is working to the benefit of
both doctors and patients alike. Here’s a peek into how Swami Ramdev’s Patanjali
Yogpeeth treats 2 million patients a year, and a promising start-up hospital
-Artemis (paperless and filmless hospital).

Faith, Health, and IT

Dawn with yoga’ seems to be a household punch line these days. All thanks to
Swami Ramdev’s yog sessions on Aastha channel every morning.

With the mission of extending the basic mantra of yog to each and every
person was established Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth, an ashram situated on the
holy banks of Ganga, in Haridwar. Patanjali Yogpeeth heals its patients through
yog and ayurved. Set up on about thirty five acres of land area, the ashram has
a large OPD that can house around 6000 to 10,000 patients, an IPD of 500 beds,
dental clinic vested with latest dental equipments which is the first of its
type to adopt yogic and ayurvedic methodology for treatment, team of 200
doctors, and attending to over 2500 patients daily, giving nerves to even some
of the best corporate hospitals.


IT-a constitutional part of Patanjali

Attending to over 2500 patients a day was not a facile task for the Yogpeeth.
Complexity of running the hospital, increasing no. of patients, keeping patient
and treatment records were posing a challenge to the hospital. The line-ups were
so long that many patients had to return untreated. On top of this with service
centers and yog teachers of Patanjali spread in every nook and corner of the
country, it was difficult to file and track their details related to work and
area under contribution.

Scientists at Dept. of Yog R&D Sunil Singh, IT Head

Patanjali took the help of IT to offer better services to the patients. With
Hospial Management System (HMS) and Human Resource Management System (HRMS) in
place, data is now collated at a single place. “Follow-up of patients is easy as
they just need to quote their ID and all details of patient treatment and
history would be available online. The process has made things work fast and
ensured that no patient is sent untreated. Also, we are able to track the
details of our yog teachers spread across the country,” informs Sunil Singh, IT
head of Patanjali.

The entire IT infrastructure of Patanjali is based on fibre optic cables that
connect all 7 blocks, providing 2 Mbps data transfer speed. Also, they have
placed access points at strategic locations within the main institute and their
6 sites located nearby. They have 4 IBM Servers (with Win 2003 server ), 2
backup servers, router from Cisco 3800 series, Firewall (SonicWall).

IT in Yoga
Scientists at the ashram are working to study the effects of yoga on body.
To monitor the effects on body, the doctors have some interesting tools in
place. For instance, polygraphs, the lie detectors used mainly for interrogating
people involved in crime, serves very useful tool in the hands of doctors.

“There is a 16 channel polygraph which can simultaneously record 16 variables
such as the heart rate, heart rate variability, cardiac output, the blood
pressure non-invasively, muscle strength, blink rate (especially interesting as
computer vision syndrome often results from a low blink rate), a metabolic
analyzer which evaluates oxygen consumed and lung functions, various equipments
for skill testing and evaluating performance. We also assess the nerve
conduction velocity and muscle tension,” speaks Dr. Shirley Telles, Chief
Research Consultant, Dept. of Yog R&D.

“We use computerized Windows-based programs for the tests to measure the
amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide eliminated (particularly important
as the emphasis is on breathing practices-pranayama). A high-end telemetric
(wireless) physiological and neurological monitoring system in the new campus
(yoga village), which houses 500 cottages, is in the pipeline,” informs Dr.
Naveen KV, Research Consultant, Dept. of Yog R&D.

Artemis ropes in IT

Corporate hospitals are fast changing the health map of India. A new entrant
joining this bandwagon is Artemis Health Institute, promoted by Apollo Tyres. We
visited this 500-bed multi-specialty tertiary level hospital, in Gurgaon, to get
a first-hand account on how information technology is arming the hospital with
its offerings.

With a standard eHIS (Hospital Information System) in place, from IBA Health,
Artemis has a one-stop data warehouse of records and patients and treatment
histories that can be consulted by other experts. HIS has integrated almost
everything in the hospital, right from the Front Office registration to medical
consultation, tests, IP, more so even the laundry is no stranger to it. “The
time has come when patients don’t need to carry investigation reports with them
when they are visiting the doctor. With technology, complete patient record is
available to the doctor online. It not only saves doctor’s time but also allows
the doctor to analyze patient’s medical condition more efficiently,” informs Dr
Rajesh Kumar Gupta, IT head, Artemis Health Institute.

Artemis, a paperless and filmless hospital, has all clinical activities and
hospital transactions on a few clicks of the mouse. Dr Rajesh adds “The complete
hospital workflow, right from patient registration to discharge including
consultation, prescription, investigations, doctor and nursing notes, billing,
inventory management, etc, is automated, making Artemis Health Institute,
India’s first filmless and paperless hospital. Patient safety in terms of
correct medication, correct dose, allergies to various drugs, etc is taken care
of by HIS.” Artemis has added Cathlab, Endoscopy, Gamma-Camera, PET CT, and all
radiology modalities in PACS making the images available online in digital
format. Also, complete patient monitoring system is available online from any
corner of the hospital for the doctors to have a look at patient’s condition

Their IT infrastructure has 24 Servers (including 18 Blade Servers) used for
most of their applications. They use Microsoft’s System Manager Server and MOM
for managing inventory and desktop operations, respectively.

An interesting device that the hospital has is the ‘pneumatic shoot’ that
lets them send medicines and medical samples from one department to the other
with the press of a button.

A promising start-up hospital indeed!

All details at the click of a


Dr. Rajesh K. Gupta
IT Head, Artemis Health Institute


Booming Healthcare in India via
Information Technology

Arpan Gupta,
IDC (India)

The Indian economy, buoyed by the growth in
GDP exceeding 8% year on year since 2003–04 has entered the phase of “India
8.0.” To the accord, the Indian healthcare sector-estimated to be US$ 34,000
million in 2007-is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 19.0% for 2007–12 to be
US$ 81,000 million by 2012. The sector’s growth would be primarily driven by
the country’s growing middle class, which can afford quality healthcare.

In India, more than 50% of the total health
expenditure comes from individuals as against a state level contribution of
30%. The govt funds allocated to the healthcare sector have always been low
in relation to the population of the country. Thus the opportunities
presented by the healthcare sector have made it a major draw for potential
investors. The healthcare sector attracted US$ 379 million in 2006. With
private healthcare driving a large chunk of healthcare services in India,
the stage is set for private healthcare players to take-off from their
current positioning and offerings. Of late, India is becoming a preferred
healthcare destination for neighboring countries and the West due to low
cost and high-quality of treatment available giving rise to opportunity for
medical tourism. The no. of patients visiting India for medical treatment
has risen from 10,000 in 2000 to about 100,000 in 2005. India is already
inching closer to attract 150,000 medical tourists a year. Medical tourism,
currently pegged at US$ 350 million, has the potential to grow into a US$
2,000 million industry by 2012. However, it is not only the cost advantage
that keeps the sector ticking. It has a high success rate and a growing

Indian specialists have performed over
500,000 major surgeries and over a million other surgical procedures
including cardio-thoracic, neurological and cancer surgeries, with success
rates at par with international standards.

India’s success in 110 bone marrow
transplants is more than 80%

The success rate in 6,000 renal transplants
is 95%

NHS of the UK has indicated that India is a
favored destination for surgeries

Also, with less than 10% of the population
having some form of health insurance, the potential market for health
insurance is huge. Indian health insurance business is fast growing at 50%
and is projected to grow to US$ 5,750 million by 2010. The IRDA has
eliminated tariffs on general insurance from Jan 1, 2007, a move driving the
additional growth of private insurance products in the Indian healthcare
arena. With the potential of the healthcare sector being so positive,
ancillary industries such as healthcare equipment and IT in healthcare are
also witnessing a spurt. The soaring growth projections have prompted
foreign medical equipment makers to float Indian subsidiaries, 30 of them
received import clearances in 2007 alone. Investments into the medical and
surgical instruments segment amounted to US$ 115.29 million over the period
August 1991 to April 2007. The same is projected to grow at 15–20% and
reach around US$ 5,000 million by 2012.

Riding on rapid technology adoption by
domestic players, coupled with an impressive showing by the foreign players
foraying into Indian healthcare, the IT adoption in healthcare is all set to
reach new heights. It is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 20.1% for 2007–12,
from the current level of US$ 313 millions. The growth is primarily being
driven by software market growing at a CAGR of 35.8% for 2007–12 followed
by services market with a CAGR of 29.3% for the same period.

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