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Data analytics, business intelligence tools play a pivotal role in identifying patterns, trends & correlations within our healthcare data : Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, CIO, Karkinos Healthcare

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Some edited excerpts from the interview:

What digital transformation initiatives have you taken to empower healthcare services?

At Karkinos, our digital transformation initiatives in healthcare, particularly in oncology, are driven by a holistic four D model. Early detection and screening for the top six prevalent cancers in the country are prioritised, with a focus on preventive measures and risk stratification. The diagnostic phase integrates molecular biology and genomics to enable precision therapy. The delivery model adopts a pyramid structure, optimising treatment levels for increased capacity and efficiency. Patient navigation is crucial for addressing concerns of both patients and their families. The discovery phase involves guiding decisions based on evidence-based protocols and data-driven insights. This multi-dimensional approach is supported by technology, including cloud solutions, mobile applications, AI/ML algorithms, and digital pathology. The scale is evident, with over 1.8 million screenings conducted in the last 15 months. Case studies highlight successful treatments, emphasising the efficient use of community care centers. Overall, our digital transformation strategy aims to bring care to the patients, leveraging technology for effective, accessible, and scalable oncology services.

How is your organisation leveraging digital innovation to create patient-centric solutions that enhance the overall healthcare experience for patients?

In our organisation, we leverage digital innovation to create patient-centric solutions that significantly enhance the overall healthcare experience. Embracing an omni-channel approach, we recognise the diversity in patient preferences and perceptions. Our communication strategies range from SMS links to mobile applications, ensuring accessibility for all. Language plays a crucial role, and we deliver information in easily understandable bits and bytes, often through videos. Engaging patients through reported outcome measures is integral to our approach. We scrutinise whether the patient’s reported outcome aligns with the expected clinical outcome, maintaining a goal of 100 percent match.

From a clinician’s perspective, our digital solutions focus on providing intuitive user interfaces and experiences. Our applications, whether web-based or mobile, incorporate cognitive algorithms, including AI/ML algorithms, prescriptive algorithms, and evidence-based checklists. This augmented intelligence serves as a consistent and reliable assistant to healthcare professionals. By embedding evidence-based protocols and pathways into the point-of-care workflow, we empower doctors to consistently deliver their best, minimising the possibility of errors and ensuring optimal patient care

How does your organisation use data analytics and business intelligence to make informed decisions and improve efficiency?

In Karkinos, our organisation strategically utilises data analytics and business intelligence as part of our discovery vertical. This specific vertical is dedicated to harnessing the power of data for informed decision-making and enhancing efficiency. We understand that data is a valuable asset that can guide us in making well-informed decisions. The goal is not just to make decisions but to empower decision-makers with the right information.

Our approach involves the use of prescriptive and predictive algorithms, evolving over time into cognitive algorithms. These algorithms enable us to analyse data comprehensively, providing insights into various aspects of patient care. The data analytics and business intelligence tools play a pivotal role in identifying patterns, trends, and correlations within our healthcare data.

By leveraging the power of data analytics, we aim to establish a symbolic understanding of how certain cases have been treated in the past. This knowledge serves as a valuable resource for decision-makers, offering insights into available options and potential outcomes. Ultimately, our commitment to evidence-based care practices is further strengthened through the strategic analysis of data.

How is your healthcare organisation currently leveraging artificial intelligence in its operations? Are there specific areas or use cases where AI has shown significant impact or potential?

Certainly, AI has demonstrated a significant impact in the healthcare domain. As mentioned earlier, our approach involves incorporating AI into the creation of content and implementing algorithms for prescriptive and predictive purposes. While transitioning from machine learning to AI requires substantial time and data validation, we have successfully witnessed the effectiveness of AI in various healthcare applications.

For instance, in radiology, AI algorithms have proven beneficial in assessing areas such as CT brain or CT chest during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to emphasise that the role of AI is not to replace clinicians but to assist them. AI ensures that clinicians do not overlook critical details that may escape the naked human eye. In our own initiatives at Karkinos, we have implemented AI algorithms in digital pathology to detect cancer nodules and ensure comprehensive analysis.

Beyond our specific projects, we’ve observed the positive impact of AI in diverse areas like diabetes prediction algorithms and cardiac assessments. AI-guided surgeries have become increasingly common, showcasing the collaborative relationship between technology and healthcare professionals. It’s crucial to recognise that AI is a tool that presents information to experts, empowering them to make informed decisions. The emphasis should always be on AI aiding and augmenting clinicians rather than replacing their expertise.

What measures have been put in place to ensure the cybersecurity of patient data and maintain the trust of healthcare service users?

Privacy and security are foundational principles in our healthcare initiatives at Karkinos. We strongly believe in adopting a security-by-design approach, integrating it seamlessly into the DNA of our entire solution platform rather than treating it as an overarching layer. This ensures that privacy is ingrained in the platform’s design, not merely a superficial cover.

Moreover, constant education and awareness are key elements of our privacy and security strategy. This extends to all stakeholders, including our employees, patients, their families, and even governmental agencies. Regular education is vital as mistakes, often unintentional, can happen, and it’s crucial to maintain a proactive stance in safeguarding sensitive information. Upholding the trust patients place in us for their healthcare is of utmost importance, requiring a mature and collaborative partnership approach rather than a solitary effort. This reflects our commitment to ensuring privacy and security every day and building a robust foundation of trust.

As a CIO, what is your strategic vision for the role of technology in healthcare over the next 3-5 years?

As the CIO of Karkinos, my strategic vision for the role of technology in healthcare over the next 3-5 years revolves around harnessing its transformative power to enhance the delivery of health services with quality and efficiency. Drawing parallels with the significant impact of technology in other sectors like finance, automotive, hospitality, and retail, I envision a similar trajectory for healthcare.

Recognizing the existing apprehensions related to privacy and the personal nature of healthcare, my approach is to address these concerns systematically. I advocate for technology becoming an integral and indispensable part of healthcare, not as an intrusive element but as a facilitator of better health outcomes. This entails adopting a balanced perspective, recognising the immense potential, and prioritising privacy and security.

I foresee a future where technology acts as a catalyst, optimising healthcare processes, ensuring precision in diagnostics and treatment through AI-driven algorithms, and facilitating seamless patient experiences. Education and awareness will remain paramount in navigating these changes, ensuring that stakeholders, including patients, feel empowered and informed.

Ultimately, my strategic vision revolves around embracing technology as a cornerstone in healthcare, fostering a harmonious integration that not only meets but exceeds the evolving expectations for quality and efficiency in health services.

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