How Fortis Improves Patient Care With Microsoft Azure

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 13, 2018


Fortis Healthcare incorporated the latest IT infrastructure to ensure that they are providing their patients with a uniform experience. Microsoft Azure’s was instrumental in enabling Fortis in doing the same. But, it was just the beginning. What Fortis and Microsoft are together developing for the future, forms the crux of this journey. 

The Journey So Far

Over the last decade, with the advancement of web 2.0, mobile, cloud computing, predictive analytics and much more, organizations gained the ability to reach out to and care for their customers in ways that were not possible before. Fortis Healthcare was keen on leveraging these technologies to give the optimum experience to their patients. In 2012, Fortis’ management concluded that it was time to upgrade their patient care technologies.

The goal was to deliver value to the organization by turning IT into a service provider rather than a service manager. Fortis realized that its highly distributed, fragmented, and localized IT setup could be a potential deterrent to this goal. Each hospital was running its own ERP, on premise. This kept Fortis from providing a seamless and uniform patient experience across its hospitals, like inability in sharing patient records within different Fortis hospitals. Similar issues existed in other areas as well. For example, a newly developed application would take months to be deployed as it had to be done on premise, within each of the hospitals.

Fortis needed an effective, centralized IT infrastructure that was flexible, adaptive, scalable, and secure. Fortis started the search by mapping the needs of various departments within the organization. Then they evaluated the numerous offerings available in the market. Microsoft, with its interest in Fortis’ objectives and understanding of the importance of a strong platform, proved to be the perfect fit. Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service was recommended as it offered managed infrastructure and services, while bringing in the desired agility. Fortis concluded that, owing to the high cost associated with maintaining the desired security, a public cloud would offer better security than what can be maintained on premise. Then the migration to Microsoft Azure began.

“This was a risk and a big commitment from us, especially the cloud only strategy. We knew that Microsoft was as invested in the platform as we were and this was a good enough assurance for us,” says Veneeth Purushotaman, Chief Information Officer Fortis Healthcare Ltd. In a span of 8 months, with support from Microsoft, Fortis moved all their applications, ranging from Hospital Information System (HIS) to Oracle Financials, Oracle Supply Chain, application servers, intranet, and more to Azure. Today, Fortis hospitals are on Microsoft Azure.

Post implementation, IT started playing a leadership role in bringing business initiatives to life. As business managers took ownership of line-of-business applications such as CRM, ERP, and HRIS, Fortis’ management gained a better perspective on the IT investments that deliver business goals. Azure helped reduce the complexity and long lead times in testing and deploying new applications. For example, Fortis launched its Patient Care Portal across its hospitals in a day, as opposed to the three-four months it would have taken previously. Similarly, there was a 50 percent reduction of the total cost of ownership, due to the lower acquisition costs, and significantly lower infrastructure management needs. Every Fortis hospital, now reports better patient care experience, even with the increase in transaction volume. 

The Journey Ahead

Looking back, the decision to move from an on-premise setup to the Cloud was a brave move. For an organization, as big as Fortis, the reasons had to be compelling enough to justify such a move. “The decision was primarily driven by the understanding that moving to the Cloud would make us Nimble enough to scale and optimize based on the changing business requirements. The ability to pay based on the resources used gave us the optimization in cost.”  Now having successfully completed phase one of cloud adoption, Fortis management is ready to embrace the next phase. This will see other technological deployments of Fortis being moved to the cloud.  “As part of our growth and technology strategy, we are currently developing an Organizational HIS which would be hosted on the Cloud.  I believe, in the next 24-36 months we would move all of our ‘Cloud Ready’ applications to the Public Cloud,” Says Veneeth Purushotaman.

Fortis is also considering Data Analytics. The idea is to get deep into analytics once the process and data has matured over a period of 12 to 24 months. This is a part of Fortis’ strategy for 2017-18.

Another area that the Fortis management is focused on is Predictive Healthcare. Fortis has already started working on multiple solutions with various partners in this space. Soon enough, the management believes, that Fortis can be a leader in the Predictive Healthcare space.

According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global healthcare cloud computing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 21% during the forecast period. This research report titled ‘Global Healthcare Cloud Computing Market 2017-2021’ provides an in-depth analysis of the market regarding revenue and emerging market trends. [Read the full report here]

“The cloud-based software market in the healthcare industry is booming due to the rising volume of subscriptions and license renewals of medical software. Many hospitals also deploy cloud-based solutions for immediate retrieval of patient data. The rising demand for advanced and remote healthcare services has accelerated the sales of cloud-based software in the healthcare industry,” said Amit Sharma, lead analyst at Technavio for enterprise application research.

According to Technavio, the global platform as a service (PaaS) in the healthcare market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20%. PaaS solutions such as Microsoft Azure provide cloud platform solutions for application development and management services are expected to see a boom time ahead, the report said.