In all that that has happened over the past year, healthcare workers and organizations have faced the need for information technology like never before. The pandemic has emphasized the need for automation in healthcare organizations. Yet there are many challenges faced by the healthcare IT industry. Also, many patients are not fully engaged in digital healthcare and remain unaware of their services and their benefits. Medicircle presents a series of healthcare CIOs and IT managers showcasing viewpoints of IT personnel on the challenges and opportunities that healthcare information technology shall bring about to the world post-COVID.
Bitopan Sarma Baruah is the Head IT and Business Process at Excelcare Hospitals, Guwahati. He has more than 14 years of experience in implementing, operating, and enhancing large-scale IT projects, Greenfield Business Operations for Healthcare, Education, FMCG, Telecom, and Government-PPP. He has the expertise & proven track record of rolling up new setups, projects across Assam & North Eastern States and has a comprehensive experience in defining Business Roadmap with Technology.
Excelcare Hospitals, a unit of Asclepius Hospitals and Health Care Pvt. Ltd. is a super-specialty hospital located at Boragaon, Guwahati. The Hospital is designed to give the North Eastern Region and its people a world-class healthcare institute for a healthier tomorrow.
Need of Behavioral Changes Towards Innovation
Bitopan emphasizes that there is a need for behavioral change towards innovation enabled through IT in the healthcare sector. He points out that acceptance of IT has certainly increased in healthcare from what it was in the past but there is a need to address the following challenges:
“We need to open up to new ideas. We [the departments of a hospital] and regulatory authorities are all here to improve the patient experience and deliver patient care seamlessly and in a better way so all stakeholders need to be open towards adopting the changes and display increased acceptance towards it. Capacity building is a major issue in the healthcare industry. The systematic approach to be adaptive towards IT technology should be integrated with the medical curriculum so that there is capacity building. Not only the technical leaders and business leaders but other stakeholders of healthcare should be prepared to be adaptive towards the fast-changing technology. There should be involvement and regulatory acceptance from the key decision-makers so that healthcare quality can be improved through technology.
These are all non-technical requirements to work upon and just require behavioral changes towards innovation,” says Bitopan.
Standardization of IT across the Industry is required for Meaningful Outputs to Patients
Bitopan mentions that “Though there have been some adoptions of technology, what is missing is the standardization of the model of operations across the industry. We need to go for business transformation. We need to think on the lines of how we can impact the business and how we can embed the processes. At the end of the day, we are just having a paper printout of medical reports and records. That is how things are evolving in India right now. But in healthcare, all the stakeholders including the clinicians, nurses, doctors, business leaders, IT personnel have to come forward to make the best use of so much data that is available for the benefit of the patients. Hence all the healthcare departments need to understand the business processes too to adopt and analyze the client requirements. We need to be more adaptive so that the technology-based delivery of healthcare does not get hampered. Post-Covid there have been momentums of the way things are moving in the field of telemedicine and video consultations etc. This momentum should continue,” says Bitopan.
Satisfying Personal Journey
Bitopan says, “Healthcare IT is an umbrella where there are a wide variety of services. Working in healthcare IT has been a satisfying domain to work in as it is a profession that enables serving mankind.”
(Edited by Amrita Priya)