IN AN EF­FORT TO UN­DER­STAND THE TRANS­FOR­MA­TION OF TRA­DI­TIONAL SEC­TORS THROUGH TECH­NOL­OGY, WE SPOKE TO MIKE LEROY, THE CHIEF IN­FOR­MA­TION OF­FI­CER AT SIDRA MED­I­CAL AND RE­SEARCH CEN­TER, WHO GIVES US AN IN­SIGHT INTO THE WAYS BOTH THE BUSI­NESS AND HU­MAN SIDES OF

Qatar Today - - TECHNOLOGY > LISTENING POST -

BY AYSWARYA MURTHY

While Mike LeRoy is a vet­eran of the health­care sec­tor, his IT ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise were picked up dur­ing his early years in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. When he first be­came the Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer (CIO) of the Detroit Med­i­cal Cen­ter over a decade ago, few had any inkling of the mind-bog­gling pos­si­bil­i­ties of a con­nected health­care en­vi­ron­ment. “CIOs were once just the lead­ers of IT de­part­ments tasked with man­ag­ing the tech­nol­ogy, build­ing soft­ware and run­ning data centres. In the early days of IT, the role was purely tech­ni­cal. ‘Here is an or­der, please ful­fill this', that's all we were told,” he re­mem­bers. “To­day we are con­sid­ered Chiefs of in­no­va­tion, we wear many dif­fer­ent hats and are part of the ex­ec­u­tive suite re­port­ing di­rectly to the CEO. CIOs to­day are in­te­gral to pro­vid­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions, en­abling ideas, im­prove­ment and ef­fi­ciency for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.” And in the process, they are in­vari­ably at the fore­front of the or­gan­i­sa­tion as it rein­vents it­self.

Sidra’s dig­i­tal strat­egy

A green­field project funded by an en­tity that is keen on in­no­va­tion is any CIO's dream. “Sidra was en­vi­sioned and built to be an all-dig­i­tal hospi­tal. Ev­ery­thing we do is elec­tronic and in­volves tech­nol­ogy,” says LeRoy as he goes on to de­tail a six-fold strat­egy that aims at lay­ing down a strong frame­work upon which fu­ture in­no­va­tions could be built.

“First is en­sur­ing in­ter­op­er­abil­ity. Ev­ery sys­tem and med­i­cal de­vice is in­te­grated. Ev­ery­thing talks to each other, has an in­ter­face to ev­ery­thing else and is con­nected. This is com­ple­mented by mo­bil­ity which al­lows staff to do their jobs through wire­less mo­bile equip­ment, ir­re­spec­tive of where they are. And the nat­u­ral byprod­uct of this is digi­ti­sa­tion. Sidra will be a pa­per-light hospi­tal where all the data is elec­tronic. The fourth pil­lar of Sidra's strat­egy is uni­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tion. All com­mu­ni­ca­tions are elec­tronic and in­te­grated. Our doc­tors, nurses and care­givers carry smart­phones and smart iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards which fa­cil­i­tate easy com­mu­ni­ca­tion with each other and with­out hav­ing to pick up a hard-wired phone. This also en­ables con­cepts like video col­lab­o­ra­tion and telemedicine,” he says.

The fifth area of fo­cus is to se­cure and strengthen the core that sup­ports cur­rent and fu­ture needs. “We need to en­sure a high­band­width, fast-per­form­ing net­work with ac­tive ro­bust in­fra­struc­ture and dat­a­cen­tres. To pro­vide care quickly you have to have a ro­bust in­fra­struc­ture. If a piece of IT soft­ware or tech­nol­ogy goes down, the other picks up so that you are al­ways on­line and al­ways ac­tive,” he says. “And the fi­nal strate­gic push is to­wards sys­tems au­to­ma­tion. Since ev­ery­thing is elec­tronic, data and trans­ac­tions have to be passed au­to­mat­i­cally be­tween de­part­ments. For exmaple, palm vein scan­ners au­to­mat­i­cally regis­ter pa­tients and digi­tised sig­na­ture pads help do away with pa­per records, record­ing sig­na­tures elec­tron­i­cally.”

This is what a dig­i­tal hospi­tal is all about,

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