IT and business should synchronize to create value

by Sohini Bagchi    May 16, 2013

R S Rajan Batra

In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, R S Rajan, CIO, Dr Batra’s, explains the changing role of CIOs in the healthcare sector and how CIOs can build new core competencies into the IT spectrum to deliver maximum business value. Excerpt.

What are the challenges in the healthcare industry and how IT can help address those challenges?

Information technology is progressing at a frenetic pace and the healthcare industry is undergoing a groundbreaking transformation driven in large part by technologic innovation that is leading to new devices, systems and business models. The challenge is to develop systems that are competitive and strategic in providing processes that are prompt, real-time, easily accessible, accurate, as well as secure. For example, we, at Dr Batra’s, have been constantly innovating portals, systems and processes to meet such dynamic challenges. We do this by utilizing the creative skills of our developing team, guided by business insights provided by the core management team.

How do you ensure that every IT deployment brings business value within the organization?

I strongly believe that Information Technology is the backbone of every organization. But the real success of IT comes with its use and value it brings rather than the deployment. The various IT deployments within Dr. Batra’s have helped the company gain competitive advantage. We ensure this by providing services that drive customer satisfaction, clinical excellence, real-time business analysis and decision-support systems. It all depends upon how best the company can use information technology that makes all the difference. Choosing and deploying the right solution is the most important part of dealing with IT. It helps an organization maximize its performance and satisfy customers, while at the same time, making and maintaining healthcare leadership is just as critical.

How does the company use emerging technologies such as cloud, mobile, analytics to innovate?

Dr Batra’s IT systems are built on intranet and mobile platforms. This allows our medical team to add, view and modify patient’s progress data, manage appointments, act on patient feedback, as well as escalate difficult cases to our Medical Expert Committee (MEC) on real-time basis. With our Cyber Clinic, we are able to chat with and treat patients from all over the world. We have real-time reporting of business data, process compliance as well as individual performance to senior management as our Management Information System (MIS) is also available on mobile devices.We have developed and are developing newer systems using mobile applications and cloud so that our patients can also have access to their personal transactional data. We are bullish about mobile and online health systems as these facilitate newer ways of interacting and providing healthcare and are the future of healthcare industry. We have developed some of our mobile applications internally and use these for real-time access. E-health applications for patients have also been developed and used. We are in the next phase of development and will be coming up with many more solutions soon. We have also deployed analytics on the web across the organization that has given senior management access to real-time data, enabling them to make faster decisions. Cloud technology is making entry in the organization for hosting web applications for our different verticals to be accessed by many.

Do you think the CIO’s role evolving in healthcares sector? If yes, how it is changing?

Any strategic idea within an organization is created by a business person who has the knowledge of technology. It is much like the fusion music where IT and business should synchronize to create value. The roles and responsibilities of CIOs are not confined to only managing IT any more. The new role enables them to get familiar to the ever-changing business dynamics and evolve to the next level in the corporate set up. IT is undergoing a dramatic transition from a utility or service provider to enabler of innovation and business exemplar. As a result, CIOs should proactively build new core competencies into the IT spectrum in the organization to enable strategic partnering with the business.

What are the ICT solutions you are planning to deploy in the future?

Going forward, we are planning to deploy more systems on cloud, building new interfaces with medical equipment and advancement in the field of m-health, tele-medicine. We are working on virtual consulting to improve patient experience and treatment outcomes, decision support and intelligent systems for physicians. For these virtual interacting systems, we are using social media, as an extended area of interaction.