MS Help­ing Health­care Play­ers Get Tech Edge

Tech gi­ant to help cos adapt to IT tools such as cloud, an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing

The Economic Times - - Companies - Priyanka.San­gani@ times­

Pune: Mi­crosoft is help­ing health­care providers in In­dia adapt IT tools like cloud, an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing as the in­dus­try seeks to counter es­ca­lat­ing costs of de­liv­er­ing ser­vices amid grow­ing de­mand for a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence from pa­tients.

“Health­care in­sti­tu­tions are aim­ing to adopt a data-driven ap­proach to ad­dress and ex­tract in­sights from the huge amounts of struc­tured and un­struc­tured data,” Peter Garten­berg, gen­eral man­ager-en­ter­prise and part­ner group at Mi­crosoft In­dia, told ET.

“Apart from ad­dress­ing the data del­uge chal­lenges, the in­dus­try is try­ing to rein­vent it­self by im­ple­ment­ing IT so­lu­tions that not only im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, but also bring the health­care de­liv­ery mod­els closer to the pa­tients.” As com­pa­nies ex­plore how to counter the es­ca­lat­ing costs of de­liv­er­ing ser­vices, many are turn­ing to the cloud. The cloud com­put­ing mar­ket has started to wit­ness un­prece­dented in­ter­est from the health­care ser­vices sec­tor, said Garten­berg.

Cloud al­lows com­pa­nies to ex­per­i­ment with new busi­nesses in a more ag­ile way with­out spend­ing too much money or time. It also en­ables them to ac­quire fully-func­tional busi­ness ca­pa­bil­i­ties (SaaS) or com­plete plat­form ca­pa­bil­i­ties (IaaS or PaaS) where hand-crafted so­lu­tions can be built.

For in­stance, For­tis used in­fra­struc­ture-as-a-ser­vice (Iaas) to bring agility and build and de­ploy ap­pli­ca­tions. The so­lu­tions made pa­tient data read­ily avail­able to all For­tis em­ploy­ees, which led it to pro­vide bet­ter pa­tient care while fo­cus­ing on its core busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties.

Sim­i­larly, Columbia Asia has put in place a next-gen­er­a­tion cloud-ready hos­pi­tal man­age­ment sys­tem to meet its emerg­ing en­ter­prise needs. This will give health­care pro­fes­sion­als more vis­i­bil­ity to pa­tient in­for- ma­tion and en­hance busi­ness ca­pa­bil­i­ties by cap­i­tals­ing on its flex­i­bil­ity and scal­a­bil­ity fea­tures, and will give the op­por­tu­nity to free the hos­pi­tal from IT in­fra­struc­ture man­age­ment. For in­stance, ra­di­ol­o­gists are al­ready run­ning a tele-ra­di­ol­ogy for group and third-party hos­pi­tals. Ma­chine learn­ing is another area where Mi­crosoft sees health­care com­pa­nies ben­e­fit­ing from. The LV Prasad Eye In­sti­tute (LVPEI) has been us­ing an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine lear- ning to fuel its ‘Doorstep to Board­room’ ini­tia­tive where clin­i­cal data on pa­tients is used to gain in­sights in the board­room to plan the de­liv­ery of health­care ser­vices.

“LVPEI is util­is­ing ac­tion­able in­sights on op­er­a­tional, busi­ness and clin­i­cal ar­eas for clin­i­cal ex­cel­lence and de­ci­sion sup­port,” said Garten­berg. The in­sti­tute is de­vel­op­ing the de­mo­graphic eye­care pro­file of the coun­try and us­ing Mi­crosoft tools to pre­dict the suc­cess prob­a­bil­ity of cor­rec­tive eye surgery like Lasik. The project, which is about 70% com­plete, is be­ing ex­tended to 124 vi­sion cen­tres.

Garten­berg added that while IT it­self may be un­der­pen­e­trated in the smal­land medium-sized hos­pi­tals, it will only drive them to the cloud to lever­age health IT as a ser­vice. “Small and medium hos­pi­tals also open up op­por­tu­ni­ties for ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ers and ISVs to em­brace the cloud and build multi-ten­anted so­lu­tions that help of­fer health IT as a ser­vice. In­dia has a large sec­tion of medium to small hos­pi­tals that may greatly ben­e­fit from such of­fer­ings,” he said.


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