Varun Anand, Co-Founder, MPHRX, Gurgaon, talks to ETHealthworld about cloud computing as major advancement for the Indian healthcare system.
How is cloud computing helping the healthcare industry today?
Cloud computing is very powerful strategy for hospitals as well as healthcare providers as it allows them to adopt new technologies without having to make significant investments which they traditionally need to do. Instead of having to spend lakhs and crores of rupees in terms of building that infrastructure they can actually leverage that common infrastructure to be able to come out with new applications, they can leverage their operational budget rather than make huge capital expenditure and that is actually a big advantage of using cloud computing in today’s ecosystem.
What are the major challenges and issues that you see in health care IT today?
Today the challenge is around understanding patient data privacy and security of that information. This has been a big hindrance in terms of adoption of cloud computing. There has to be more understanding and more technology available to comply with certain regulations. We comply with regulations globally such as HIPAA and Hi-Tech which talk and specifically mandate how patient data is supposed to be handled.
We bring the same practises to all of the countries that we currently operate in and that is a big enabler with cloudcomputing because you suddenly have these best practises that can be out inwithout a lot of investment from the hospital side.
One of the biggest challenges is that health data is not interoperable today. At the end of the day a patients health record is spread across multiple systems like labs, imaging, multiple clinical systems and there is no one single place where all of that unified view comes in.
The second big challenge is that health information is constricted to the four walls of the hospital. When a physician or a patient needs to have access to their own records today they are stilldoing it in very arcade ways. Using a platform like ours, we not only standardize and aggregate that together but also make it available to doctors as well as patients.
The third piece which is a big challenge is that information captured by a hospital can also be augmented by information which is augmented by the patient themselves when they go out. That information right now is not captured at all so that is another big challenge which we are trying to address.
Tell us more about MPHRX.
We are a technology company and we have actually built this platform called Minerva. Today we have got several large health systems. We have actually built this system which is selling in about a hundred countries through major partners like ACFA, DELL computers and Tech Mahindra and they are actually using this platform to drive that particular case patient engagement through operability of that health information.
We have leveraged new healthcare standards and one of the things that we really believe in is the fact that you cannot solve interoperability by coming up with your own proprietary standards. The idea is not to replace the existing systems, not to make doctors change their behaviour a lot or to change the system and the ways they are currently operating but be on the backend to assimilate that information through their existing systems and then drive patient engagement and interoperability of health data.
One thing that you can really do when you are operating in a cloud model is not to become very heavy in terms of the capital expenditure for a hospital system. We don’t want to become a deterrent for hospital systems to adopt these technologies.
When a health system adopts our platform they actually pay for the number of patients or the number of doctors that are using this system vis-a-vis just paying a huge lump sum at the beginning of the overall implementation.
Where does India stand in the global health IT map?
I think globally there is a big push in terms of interoperability whether you look at the US, UK, Europe everywhere. Primarily because even in developed healthcare markets there have been huge amount ofinvestments that have gone into building systems, India is still midway there but even in the mature markets there have been huge amount of investments. Though these investments have not solved the basic problem that is a patient or a doctor does not get their full view of information regardless wherever the patient is. So there is a huge gap in terms of platforms that can provide the kind of interoperability which we are trying to fill and that is a global trend that we have seen.
In India the implementation of that is very different, like we were talking before solutions that are done in the UK or US might be great but the fact is that you can’t bring them vis-a-vis the sameshape and form in India because the population here is very different and we were operating at a very different scale while the problem statement is thesame, the solutions and the way we are going about it very different. In India there has to be a mobile push because that is where most of the population today is interacting on.
How do you foresee the future of Indian healthcare?
In India healthcare has been typicallytransactional where the patient comes, gets the procedure done and leaves. There is no real reason why the patient keeps on coming back to the same hospital or the same care team. The adoption engagement models in India hasbeen driven by the fact that they want to move this from a transactional healthcare model to when they are actually taking care of patient over a longer period of term and I think hospitals in India are actually realising when they are making these investments today and I think those investment will continue to grow.
Date: 3rd August, 2016