The IT Team at Fortis Healthcare, one of India’s largest hospital chain has been bringing a big time change in how the healthcare provider is administering its services, with the MyFortis App, Intelligent Queue Management, Patient Experience management, robotic surgery and soon to be implemented OneFortis HIS helping improve experience and efficiency across the ecosystem.
“We are working to provide a similar experience to patients as they have for service availability in the rest of the world today and at the same time provide an efficient, secure and control balanced working environment for our employees. This is very much part of the design of our IT systems.”
Chief Information Officer
We have heard of MyFortis app which makes it easier for patients to book appointments and get information about doctors. Beyond this where has Fortis Healthcare reached in its digital transformation journey?
At Fortis, we have also started enabling technology solutions at every touch point of patient interaction such as Intelligent Queue Management, Patient Experience, Social Media presence, education and interaction
You have successfully used robotic surgery in your Urology and Oncology departments. What has been your experience?
We use Robotics for multiple specialties including the ones listed above. Use of this technology has helped enhance the quality of surgeries with reduced tissue injury, lower blood loss and faster healing. The problem of limited accessibility especially in some of the complex surgeries which involve difficult to reach areas of the body has been overcome to a large extent.
Are patients warming up to being operated upon by doctors assisted by robots?
Yes, increasingly patients are becoming aware of such technology aided innovations. Today, more and more patients, especially millennials are ready for the use of robot-aided techniques to improve their experience of surgery and hospital stay.
Is the cost of robotic intervention very high for patients?
Since Robotics is not covered by Insurance till now, the added cost is borne by the patient himself which is a deterrent for many.
What success have you had with deploying technologies like Hospital Information Systems (HIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions?
We have had successful ERP Implementation at Fortis for Finance, SCM and HR functions. We had implemented Oracle E-Business Suite on Microsoft Cloud. The organization is constantly working to derive more and more in the form data and reporting as well as developing superior controls and checks from a governance point of view.
We have also recently started the implementation of OneFortis HIS with one major Unit and have also upgraded HIS in multiple Large Units in the last one year. This will be followed by an implementation of EMR for entire Fortis Network of Hospitals.
How much headway have you made in telemedicine, and could cloud computing help amplify your efforts here?
The telemedicine concept was tried in some of our units and has not had much success yet, although we enable remote monitoring of patient vitals through our Super Specialty Heart Command Centers at a couple of units. Cloud Computing holds a lot of potential for us and we are currently evaluating ideas for such a venture.
Is Fortis Healthcare using AI and data analytics in a big way?
We have started business data analytics journey in the six months and the efforts are yielding good results, however we are yet to start the same in Clinical Parlance. We do not have any AI related projects in the current financial year as off now.
What are you doing when it comes to data protection? Patient data with hospitals is extremely sensitive.
We have managed end-point protection of the LAN and WAN networks; critical patient-oriented data is fully protected, and all policies are in place to prevent any kind of leakage due to technology or human error. We have planned the next level of security for data leak prevention and project is proposed for kick off in the last quarter of the financial year.
What is the motivation for Fortis Healthcare to adopt new technologies, is it a need from customers? Is it to bring more efficiency? Is it to ensure you are not left behind your competitors?
We are working to provide a similar experience to the patients and his or her attendants as they have for service availability in the rest of the world today. We are at the same time working to provide an efficient, secure and control balanced working environment for our employees in the enterprise. This is very much part of the design of our IT systems.
Which are the companies/vendors you have partnered with in your digital transformation journey and what has been your experience with them?
We have worked with all IT Majors in Software, Cloud and Managed Services space. We have a smooth working relationship with them. The working is governed by well laid out operations and project management principles and we have lesser surprises and smoother operations.
Any projects which are underway now that will have an impact on service delivery for patients?
The rollout of the new OneFortis HIS and Implementation of TrakCare will be 2 large foundation exercises. We are also looking at adopting cloud in a far more efficient manner then we have currently. The patient-oriented services are led by our Marketing and Operational teams is also one of the large enterprise initiatives.
What are the future projects that Fortis Healthcare wants to embark upon in the next 2 years?
It will be a unified EMR and more of business system upgrades which will be the cornerstone. We are also planning a more focused initiative towards Data Analytics from both Business and Clinical point of view.
What is your advice to fellow CIOs on approaching any new technology and bringing business value through a deployment?
When approaching any new technology, draw out the large picture and execute piece by piece in a more agile manner. Review rollout and strategy every year and perform course corrections.