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
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,