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Healthcare IT solution Delivery and the Cloud

By Arvind N Sivaramakrishnan , CIO , Apollo Hospitals


Arvind N Sivaramakrishnan , CIO , Apollo Hospitals

Any field bereft of technology implementation is sure to be obsolete in their respective market space. Realizing this, we made efficient investment on the technology trends like cloud, mobility, analytics and social. We have leveraged technologies which are aligned to our business requirements. Among these technologies, mobile application is more compelling and has facilitated us to scale our products in very reasonable costs.

Since the traditional 'feet on the street' model proved futile, we are working towards augmenting productivity by leveraging Salesforce mobile technology. Mobile applications have enhanced interaction with our stakeholders whether it is a doctor, patient or healthcare provider. For example, daily call reporting to a doctor by any chemist is now easily handled through mobility.

Mobility had also enabled heightened warehousing management by integrating with barcode technology. It ensures that when we scan a product, the right product is entered without the possible human error. Our bulk of investment scores here as it enhance our productivity. Using mobile apps and electronics product brochures is proving far much easier to deliver medical representatives with the product information.

We are a pharma company where our products have a direct bearing on the consumers' health. Hence, it becomes our prime responsibility to strictly follow the regulatory authority. We are subject to audit from the regulatory authority both from India and overseas. We put a significant effort to strengthen the overall governance processes by ensuring that our system are compliant from the regulatory standpoint and hence the integrity of the system remains intact. In addition, we automated some of our key processors in the quality assurance side. There are process control, process change, control, and deviation management to ensure that these transactions remain transparent, robust, and reliable. The integrity of any system is a deciding parameter for the credibility of the processes and hence enhancing the compliance.

New Role with Technology

Few years back when SAP-ERP enabled the entire transaction to become automated, we invested in upgrading our ERP landscape which was India centric. In 2010, we did a series of global roll out, where we expanded our usage of ERP system globally which contributed its share of business revenue on SAP. Along with this global growth, we consequently followed a 24/7 support system window. Gradually there was a shift from being an automated transaction system to being business partners where now most of the strategy business units are being handled by the CIO. However, we faced industry level challenges in the growing investments in areas like business intelligence, quality management, supply chain and R&D. These, in turn, enabled us to drive higher productivity, data compliances, better analytics, and equipped us in making better decision.

Microsoft cloud based solutions are one of the largest adaptors across the sectors. We put our e-mails on the Cloud. We have integrated our entire Salesforce on the same system so as to avoid day-to- day daily task consuming our employees' time and efforts. From business standpoint, many of our peers have grown through acquisitions and we found it far easier to integrate the entire system on cloud which is a common platform.

Security Concerns

We accentuate employees towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). But, information security has been a major concern for us. We did a very significant program named KAVCH to address this information security in a very holistic manner and have addressed three aspects like people, process and technology. The threat lurking is about leakage of Internet Protocol (IP). To counter this security concern, we adopted IFMS framework. We have invested in technology front as well, like next-generation Firewall infrastructure for network security concern and invested in secure virtual data room technology where we have to share confidential information with collaborator outside the enterprise. Securing information has always been a global concern, especially when the information is put in cloud. To tackle this issue, before signing up with any cloud service provider, we go through a very strict application security protocol. The IT security head reports us and we do a necessarily detailed review of the service provider both from technology and infrastructure standpoint. Security parameters need to be met and in fact, we do a physical verification of the infrastructure of the service provider who assures us on data securities.

Our commitment to customers to provide them with authentic products which will be of high quality was proved when recently in the US we passed the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) in 2012. We provide SMS based anticounterfeit solution. It is a 9 digit number that gets printed on the medicine strip. Any consumer who is buying the strip from any chemist can send the code to a service member whereby getting the SMS authentication that it is manufactured by Lupin, which is an assurance for our customers that they buy authentic medicine and not duplicates.

Growing with Yearly Vision

In near future, we are going for ISO 2700 1 certification which will be a baseline for a secure and stable process. With a comprehensive roadmap year after year, where we focus to enhance four major areas in our company - business application, infrastructure & technology, risk & compliance and people. We have a well-defined target for ourselves. We work with Gartner and do a lot of benchmarking on our internal processes like infrastructure & operations, portfolio & people management, portfolio & project management, information architecture. It is a kind of a structured roadmap which we upgrade yearly.

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