Max Healthcare shares how he leveraged AI & other technologies to automate healthcare delivery.
Max Healthcare CIO on AI, cloud improving healthcare delivery Traditionally, healthcare sector in developing countries like India is known to have high operational costs, issues of access to healthcare and below par quality standards. Not only can technology change experiences for patients and their families, but it also has a huge impact on medical processes and the practices of healthcare professionals by ushering in more transparency and protocol standardisation.
Max Healthcare has a network of 14 hospitals with more than 2300 doctors offering treatment across all 29 specialties.
“At Max Healthcare, we are experimenting with technologies which could sense, think and act alike humans. This includes, deploying NLP to structurise e-prescriptions data, RPA which helped to automate tedious, time consuming ,repetitive tasks like financial reconciliation and institutional cost deductions," says Sumit Puri, CIO & Director IT,
Max Healthcare CIO on AI, cloud improving healthcare delivery "We are also piloting AI and machine learning algorithms for predicting possibility of readmission of myochardial infarction (heart attack) patients for enhanced patient safety and leveraging AI for faster and accurate processing of diagnostics and radiology tests. Another pilot project is speech to text technology for enabling clinical and radiology information to be captured accurately in systems. All of these technology investments have resulted in remarkable business growth aligned with transformed healthcare delivery”, he adds.
Gurgaon- based Puri has over decades of global experience in experimenting with technology with business growth. Prior to this, he worked with top organisations including Prudential Corporation Asia, Prudential Life Assurance – Indonesia, GE Capital International Services, GE Money India and Maruti Udyog. For him, “IT is the department that generates value for the enterprise, and the CIO is the business enabler”.
How are you experimenting with AI in transforming healthcare sector?
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform healthcare delivery and change healthcare for ever. With data-driven insights powered by artificial intelligence likely to be available soon, it can really augment knowledge , reduce operational costs, improve accessibility and quality in clinical delivery.
At Max Healthcare, we are experimenting with technologies which could sense, think and act alike humans.
Technologies which can sense – This includes aspects like NLP which are allowing us to structure the unstructured data entered by clinicians in e-Prescriptions. We are also piloting speech to text technology for enabling clinical and radiology information to be captured accurately in systems. Also, using point of care diagnostics in our bike and smart ambulances, we are transferring on real time basis, information of patient vitals from patient homes and point of care to our command center where clinicians can provide timely assistance to patients in transit.
Using Google maps and GIS technology, we have optimised transit times which has helped us in making bike ambulances reach emergency patients within 15 minutes just when they need them. This technology alone has facilitated Max Hospital ambulances in saving over 130 lives in the last 10 months since launch.
Technologies which can think – For this, we are collaborating with premier research institutions like Deakins University in Australia to use machine learning algorithms and leverage historical data to predict the risk of re-admission for cardiac (myrochardial infarction- heart attack) patients.
Technologies which can act - We are piloting robotic process automation to automate tedious, time consuming repetitive tasks like financial reconciliation and institutional cost deductions. We are also leveraging AI for faster and more accurate processing of diagnostics and radiology tests which will help enhance productivity significantly. Also, we are on the verge of deploying technologies like chat bots on our patient portal, which can assist our customers in handling routine queries and booking appointments.
What is the business impact of investing in technologies in healthcare services?
The industry is being transformed through tools and technologies that seamlessly leverage data, personalize member outreach and engagement, and improve provider collaboration for better outcomes. Technology, data and design elements need to converge for simplifying usage of IT systems by doctors and users in order to maximise impact of healthcare investments. In the doctor’s office, at the pharmacy, and on the phone to the contact center, innovative companies are looking outside-in to improve how patients and customers interact, so that the relationship and trust between hospitals and patients can be further strengthened.
Technologies like Tele-medicine and tele-consultation can also help bring patients and doctors together: According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than half of the hospitals in the United States use some form of telemedicine. Close to 1 million Americans use remote cardiac monitors and millions of patients worldwide use telemedicine to monitor their vital signs and reduce the need for hospital visits. The market for telemedicine is bound to grow in India as well where over 65-70% of clinicians are based in metros and large urban centers while more than 70% of population resides in small towns and villages with significantly low access to quality medical care. Telemedicine could be potentially life-saving, not to mention extremely convenient, for patients who live hours away from the nearest hospital and require immediate help. It may also spur more preventive treatment and fewer need for in person doctor interactions for follow-ups, second opinions etc..
Social media and patient community networks: Some institutions are leveraging social methods to improve collaboration and communication, both between doctors and patients as well as among patients themselves. This can help in creating self service based community support groups for diseases like oncology and mental health given the increasing lifestyle related diseases and stress levels prevalent in society today.
But as the saying goes, an excellent technology system is only as good as it adoption. As a proactive technology leader, in order to enhance usage and system adoption, it is imperative for me to continually leverage innovative technologies with simple, intuitive user interface design which facilitates clinician adoption and augments the emergence of health literate patients rather than compelling clinicians and patients to become technology literate.
Please share some insights of IT projects leveraging next gen technologies.
With maturing of next gen technologies like Artificial intelligence, Big Data and cloud, connectivity between doctors and patients will become even more easier resulting in better clinician-patient engagement irrespective of geographical distance. Also, next gen technologies like Blockchain will enable creation of collaborative industry ecosystems between insurance , pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations, leading to reduction of customer fraud , better customer authentication and improved patient safety outcomes through enhanced clinical care protocols.
Artificial intelligence, IOT and cloud in particular will enable next gen treatments like e-ICU, surgery at home, as clinical quality wearable devices powered by wireless connectivity will enable better prevention techniques in the comfort of people’s homes instead of hospitals. The cost of healthcare can also be reduced further by effective harnessing of collective network effects of AI and usage of machine learning algorithms which can facilitate personalised medicine, customised user based packages and further optimisation of material cost in surgeries etc.
Big Data and analytics will enable consolidation of clinical knowledge and creation of effective clinical decision support systems. This will result in integrated multi disciplinary treatments and holistic disease management by enabling collaboration of doctors across specialities and locations. Artificial intelligence could also evolve to facilitate ease of entry of disease symptoms by patients and enable more accurate triaging and initial diagnosis, given the paucity of time available to clinicians to go into the past history for individual patients.
Being an IT decision maker, How challenging is the contrast between investing in technology vs leveraging them in comparison of the global standards in healthcare?
Globally, there are mandates to use technologies like electronic health records and clinical standards like ICD10 and Snomed for diagnosis and surgical procedures. However, in India, this is largely practiced selectively by some private and government hospital chains based on individual hospital management and clinical discretion. While the standards for electronic healthcare have been notified by Government of India, widespread adoption is possibly several years away.
The heartening thing is that Max healthcare, with the support of the hospital management, has become one of the most digital hospital chains in India with the widespread usage of electronic health records, ePrescriptions and personalised customer portal which enables creation of integrated patient data across its network of hospitals. By effective leveraging of data and innovative emerging technologies like AI, IOT and cloud, we could create global cases studies on transforming cost of healthcare delivery and enhancing patient safety outcomes.