MS Helping Healthcare Players Get Tech Edge
Tech giant to help cos adapt to IT tools such as cloud, analytics and machine learning
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.