Wockhardt's Winning Technology Blueprint

by Julia Fernandes    Sep 13, 2004

Nestled in the silicon valley of India, Wockhardt Hopspital & Heart Institute, a dedicated super-specialty cardiac hospital has set new benchmarks for IT usage in the healthcare segment. It is these patient-centric IT milestones that enabled the hospital to recently bag the IT Users Awards 2004, conferred by NASSCOM, winning in the healthcare sector. CXOtoday uncovers the hospital’s winning technology agenda.

Sharing the first initiative- electronic ICU, Vishal Bali- vice president-operations, Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd, said, “An eICU is an electronically monitored intensive care unit that enables physicians from a remote location, to access in real time, expert advice and consultation for the care of their critically ill patients.”

Explaining how it works, he continued, “Bedside monitors in the ICU are connected to a gateway server, which is on the LAN. With remote access service being installed on the network, doctors from any remote location can dial in to this service. After due authentication they can connect to the specific bedside ICU monitor.”

For their core Hospital Information Systems (HIS), the hospital has deployed Patient Care Management System (PCMS), version 1.0. Developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the solution resides on an Oralce 9i database, deployed on Intel Xeon servers, running Red Hat Linux 7.1.

In recognition of the need to understand and maintain the special relationship between doctors, patients and corporates, the hospital has implemented a CRM application developed by Think Ahead. Apart from filing and generation of reports, it manages the database and reaches doctors and patients through mailers.

However, deployment of IT does not end there. The hospital has commenced the e-payment service, whereby users can make payments via a password, which is created and mailed to the user on upload of bills to the website. Users can enter their credit card details on the payment gateway through SSL encryption. The payment is authenticated by the IT personnel at the gateway after which it is forwarded for clearance.

In line with its patient-centric initiatives, the hospital has also started a Virtual Patient Room, which offers video recordings of patients, still images, and doctor’s report complete with an e-greeting card facility. The product runs on an Application Service Provider model again by Think Ahead, integrated into the hospital’s website using a Java applet.

The hospital’s existing network runs on a gigabit optic fibre backbone running a 100 Mbps LAN, supported by redundant uplinks for minimum downtime. The hospital follows a modular network approach using an open standard TCP/IP network. While ISDN is used for data transfer and videoconferencing, Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is used for remote access from the doctor’s end.

A firewall installed behind the hardware obstructs unauthorized access, and a software-based firewall configured at the gateway acts as an active state packet filtering firewall, protecting the internal network. For web security, a total Internet security suite scans all incoming and outbound network traffic, while the Web and DNS caching put in place has improved the bandwidth utilization of the Web link.

In terms of storage, the hospital uses RAID boxes, with DAT drives being used for additional backup. Additionally, a backup of critical data from clients is taken on a specific location on the server. Moreover, to introduce redundancy the hospital has setup a SQL database cluster.

Since its inception in 1989, Wockhardt Hospital & Heart Institute is a tertiary level heart center engaged in the field of cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, providing cardiac care to all age groups, including new borns.

Wockhardt Hospitals Limited is a chain of specialty hospitals in India under the Wockhardt Group currently operating the Wockhardt Hospital & Heart Institute, Bangalore, Wockhardt Hospital & Kidney Institute, Kolkata and the Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai.