As the Indian healthcare industry, expected to reach $372 billion this year, goes through a churning after more than two years of the pandemic, the customer-healthcare provider relationship has also undergone a radical change. In this arena, the combination of technology and public policy has transformed how patients access healthcare and interact with their healthcare providers, according to Raviganesh Venkataraman, CEO and Executive Director, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru
Venkataraman told IANS that in the digital India, every moment of transaction between the doctor and customer is now being captured simply, neatly and precisely using digital means, and one of the biggest benefits of being a cloud-native company is the ability to scale as we grow.
Some excerpts from the interview:
How did the pandemic accelerate your digital transformation journey?
In my view, Digital adoption has taken a quantum leap at both the organisational and industry levels with the pandemic. Consumers have moved dramatically towards online channels, and companies and industries have responded in turn.
It has rapidly accelerated the rate of digitisation of customer interactions by several years. A millennial customer at Cloudnine besides safe physical locations demanded safe doctor interactions and we launched tele- consultation services.
After interactions, our customers who have just delivered wanted all their initial vaccinations for their children at the comfort of their home, so we created home vaccination, lab tests and pharmacy services all is available at the comfort of their home.
Over the next 5-7 years, which are some of the disruptive emerging technologies to watch out for in the Indian healthcare landscape?
With the increasing consumerisation of healthcare, the customer-healthcare provider relationship has undergone radical change. In this arena, the combination of technology and public policy has transformed how patients access healthcare and interact with their healthcare providers.
Besides that, consumer devices, wearables, and apps and Electronic health records (EHRs) have been a growing part of customer care. The massive amount of EHR data goes far beyond patient health records, however, and can be used to conduct research, improve care, and build AI applications.
Care is moving outside of the hospital settings and much more to do with technology. Predictive Analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) will shape the future of many industries, including healthcare. This includes recording of data, saving raw data and keeping it safe and secure and leveraging it for greater patient insights.
Adoption of digital technology along with multi-disciplinary cooperation and a system-wide approach to health governance will support these technologies to grow in the healthcare setup.
How are you leveraging digital technology to reimagine customer experiences?
We live in a digitalised world and hospitals are no different. Hence we are in the process of digitising every aspect of customer interaction. Today’s customer is exposed to digital solutions in virtually every aspect of her life and she has come to expect that as the new normal.
There is an expectation of obtaining the same “swipe on the smart-phone convenience” even in her interaction with doctors. While we have provided digital solutions for many doctors right from the inception, we find that a lot of doctors actually don’t find enough time to use these tools or are perhaps not too comfortable typing information using a keyboard.
To overcome this challenge, one of the first things we have done (and we’re perhaps the first chain in the industry to do so), is to encourage the use of digital pen, for the doctors who are not comfortable typing. With this intervention, 100% of our prescriptions will get digitised – all items just need a tick with a digital pen after which the software is automatically updated.
We are also deploying AI tools that analyse all this information and bots that read and transcribe a doctor’s handwriting with ease. This to me is the fundamental piece, where all our hospitals and doctors are going the paperless route. Every moment of transaction between the doctor and customer is being captured simply, neatly and precisely using digital means.
Further, all this is available at a click of a button or a swipe of the finger to the customer on her smartphone. What we are trying to do is to put the power in the hands of the customer and this is a big shift for the healthcare industry. Digitisation here is crucial to making the transformation of healthcare to a customer-centric industry.
A key focus for us has been our app – the “Cloudnine” app. The app, while it empowers the customer, helps us in generating a lot of customer insights that open up new possibilities of business. We’ve always been looking at an ecosystem which comes together for the customer. And in this regard, we have never been shy of looking at new-age companies, new-age startups to get incorporated.
Our focus at Cloudnine is about building deep customer relationships at every stage of their journey with us. Each patient is unique seeking individualised and personalised care. We have therefore intensified our digital efforts – both for our customers as well as our doctors.
We see ourselves as pioneers in using digital technology in healthcare and one can expect many innovations in this space from us in the years to come. We have a robust HIMS which acts as the backend for our customer app efforts.
Recently, new tools have been designed to simplify the interaction between customers and chatbots. Our Chatbot or visual assistants help in booking appointments, retrieving lab reports etc and providing recommendations to the customers from time to time for all their common queries and questions related to their pregnancy journey.
What has AWS and cloud technology enabled you to do better? In terms of business outcomes, what benefits have you experienced because of running on AWS?
Most of Cloudnine’s software stack is built on top of AWS infrastructure. We heavily rely on AWS to deliver the best experience to our users, and with support from AWS, we can quickly test our ideas from proof of concept to pan India deployments.
One of the biggest benefits of being a cloud native company is the ability to scale as we grow. For example, we develop software that are specifically designed to make obstetrics and gynaecology, fertility and pediatric doctors’ life easy. Since these software are extensively used in-house, we are able to understand their needs and improve them over time.
The rapid deployment and provisioning allowed our engineers to quickly build, test and deploy an online counselling app within a span of less than two month during COVID lockdown. Cloudwatch-based alerts have been helpful a handful of times when we could find anomalies and fix them before they become a bigger problem.