Yesterday I was having a discussion with a few healthcare management students and what we essentially are trying to do is to understand the digital adoption, especially for emerging technologies, specifically we are trying to understand what is the adoption rate for emerging technology across hospitals in India.
During one of the discussions, a very bright and enthusiastic young man brought up the concept of EMR (Electronic Medical Record) /EHR (Electronic Health record) using them interchangeably. He did not have a full understanding of the subtle differences, but also, he overstated the obvious that India was well within our way to, you know, EMR adoption across various hospitals, which is, which is not accurate.
India at best has a lot of HIS (Health Information Management) systems, and we are going towards EMR adoption, we haven’t really gone there in the true sense. I also chanced upon a message from a good friend, where I read that Apollo hospitals, both in India and abroad, have managed to secure stage six HIMSS, a maturity model award for three key areas. And let me explain that in some detail.
First of all, Apollo Hospital has about 12,000 beds under its management. It’s India’s largest health care system, but also is one of Asia’s premier health systems. As a matter of fact, I think it’s the first in Asia to have achieved stage six maturity for him to moderate across three categories and probably second in the world.
What makes Apollo fascinating is in the last five years, this group has never had an unplanned downtime, and it’s held IT infrastructure. And that is phenomenal. Can you imagine running 12,000 beds across so many health and healthcare entities and not having a single minute of unplanned downtime.
Also, it is one of the few groups in India that has taken a lot of care about its data privacy and security processes and obviously has not had a publicly declared breach as yet. This gives us a sense of the kinds of investments the Apollo group has made in healthcare Full credit to Group CIO Arvind Siva Ramakrishnan but also, you know, there are so many smart people working with Apollo-like IT leaders, data scientists, and security professionals. I had some time ago I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Sujoy Kar who is the Chief Medical Information Officer at Apollo. So, I think the group has overall done well in terms of processes, talent, and technology.
HIMSS stands for Health Care Information and Management Systems Society, it is a predominantly North America-based group, which has devoted its entire existence to the propagation, maturity, and analysis of health IT standards
HIMSS runs various regional bodies as well in Europe, Asia, and India as well as in Australia. But HIMSS remains a predominantly North American body and there are standards that HIMSS subscribes to, which are called the maturity stages there is maturity from zero to seven across various categories, and in that HIMSS remains the go-to model. You want to understand where you are. If you really want to measure your healthcare it has to be according to the HIMSS maturity model. And the HIMSS maturity model works across seven categories including analytics, continuity of care, supply chain digital imaging, infrastructure, outpatient EMR, and adoption of an enterprise-wide electronic medical record system.
The highest-level maturity seven is for a totally integrated EMR. And it’s absolutely a very difficult stage to acquire. Currently, if you look at Apollo, Apollo is at number six or the sixth stage. And they’ve done it across three categories, which is very fascinating.
One is the digital imaging Adoption Model, or called DIAM, the outpatient electronic medical record adoption model called the O -EMRAM, and the infrastructure option model, which is called the INFRAM. And this is the second system in the world to have got stage six for DIAM, which is the digital imaging Adoption Model. What is fascinating about Apollo’s digital imaging model is the introduction and the mapping of biomarkers in their digital imaging process, which is among the most advanced level of digital imaging processing in the world.
The second area, obviously, they did so, well, if you consider the 70 hospitals that they run in the 12,000 beds is the integration of the Outpatient Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model with very good patient communication. We have been discussing patient experience in the last couple of episodes. You know, actually the previous episode I talked a lot about the patient experience. And if you look at how Apollo has done this, integrating things like payment communication, discussion boards, etc, with their outpatient EMR is fantastic. And that’s why they deserve to be on maturity level six, not to say no unplanned downtime, great emphasis on security, privacy, etc has given them the number six-stage which is a model on the infrastructure option model as well.
Now, why am I discussing all this? Because yesterday in my discussion with the bright management student, it seems there is a to be a lot of confusion around EMR EHR and HIE s. Now most Indian hospitals, at least the corporate ones, very large ones run health information management systems, no doubt about it. EMR is a complete EMR end-to-end EMR, there is no hospital in India onset. Apollo as you see is at level six, and they are probably the most ahead. So the others are also there in the process but we don’t have an end-to-end EMR yet. an EHR electronic health record is something that the government is working on. And this is what you should go and understand.
Things like the national digital health mission, your digital health ID, etc. They’ve come as a part of the EHR system, which is a way for a citizen to maintain his longitudinal health record. So a lot did and a long way to go, but let us savor this moment for India and for Apollo Hospitals. As always would love to hear your views.