CRM for life
When IT touches the heart
What puts Wockhardt Hospital and Heart Institute (WHHI) a
step ahead of other hospitals? For one, it's the hospital's eICU, which monitors
the patient's progress 24x7, and second is WHHI's CRM solution, which helps
to reach the right doctor at the right time. by Deepali Gupta
When you aim to build a world class hospital, you need world-class processes
in place. Keeping this goal in mind and to give patients better value for their
money, WHHI was looking for a solution that would allow the hospital to manage
its patient and staff details' database efficiently. It also needed to connect
specialists to the hospital network such that the doctors could monitor the
The WHHI IT team, which consists of four people, found that the most suitable
solution was to put in place two inter-linked systems. The foursome considered
a CRM solution custom-made to the hospital's needs and a network linking that
they termed eICU. This system connected the patients' monitors to an RAS accessible
over the internet.
The CRM system WHHI put into place not only helps identify the right doctor
for the right occasion, it now also generates reports. Plus it can sort categories
of patients such that the hospital has now been able to start clubs of people
with similar experiences.
To develop and maintain a special relationship with doctors, patients, and corporates,
WHHI required an easily manageable system that would catalog all the required
details. Moreover, with the narrowing difference in service level at hotels
and hospitals internationally, Vishal Bali, Vice President Operations, WHHI,
believed that such implementations are required to create an ambiance of efficiency.
The implementation was also required to track feedback to generate a patient
To meet these requirements, the hospital approached an outfit called Think Ahead,
which conceived, developed and implemented a CRM application to specifically
meet the demands of WHHI. The implementation generates feedback reports, occupancy
reports, average length of stay, waiting and discharge reports. While all these
reports were being filed even earlier, the solution has helped maintain and
update all the reports on a daily basis, obviating any chance of delay. The
accuracy rate of the reports has seen a new high as a result.
More importantly the CRM solution has automated relationship management. It
has resulted in the creation of the Happy Hearts' Club, a group of people who
have undergone similar heart surgeries at WHHI. At the forum, patients share
their experience and sometimes also learn from each other.
The CRM solution also automatically forwards newsletters and relevant information
to keep in touch with doctors and patients. Bali explained the importance of
this routine task: "Hospitalization should not be seen as an episode but
as a patient hospital relation, it is not a one time transaction." And
the CRM solution has helped with just that.
Besides the CRM system, WHHI has developed an eICU. The eICU consists of ICU
monitors on the side of the bed. These are connected to a Windows 2000 Server
that is linked to Remote Access Servers (RASs). The RASs can be accessed over
the internet via a 2 MBPS line.
The eICU allows doctors to consult specialists in life and death situations.
A resident doctor can consult a senior consultant while at the operation table
and the CRM solution helps retrieve the most suited consultant for a given case.
This way all decisions can be collaborative. Furthermore, in case of a smaller
problem the doctor is not required to rush to the hospital. The remote system
also means that every patient has 24X7 coverage from his/her doctor.
WHHI's association with Think Ahead led to other creative initiatives. The first
is the Virtual Family Visit. Relatives and friends can visit any patient online
in a virtual patient room. The system is capable of transferring audio, video,
text, and images.
Similarly, WHHI was also able to initiate a tele-medicine program. These are
video links established at medical colleges in the relatively less developed
parts of India. The doctors at WHHI use this link to address classes in these
colleges as well as to make routine follow-ups on chronic patients.
With so much data available over the internet it is natural that information
security would be a concern. To secure its network, the WHHI IT team has set
up a hardware and software firewall. The hardware blocks unauthorized access
and the software firewall acts as an active state packet filtering firewall.
The Total Internet Security Suite scans inbound and outbound network traffic.
Overall, the implementation cost WHHI close to Rs 2 million, according to Bali.
Perhaps, the level of automation and improved efficiency due to this system
could be used to establish the system's ROI. However, Bali does not look at
it from a profit perspective, but rather as a 'Staying in Business' investment.
According to him, as the standards for hospitals improve the world over, Wockhardt
must set a standard in India.
Deepali Gupta can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
<In a nutshell>
Wockhardt Hospital and Heart
Institute (WHHI) is a relatively new hospital, with close to 60 admissions
per day. It already caters to over 45,000 patients who have been treated
there. 30 percent of Wockhardt's patients belong to the less developed
interiors of India.
To provide continuous and
non-modular healthcare WHHI required a solution to manage its patient
and staff details' database, and make the life support monitors of the
ICU remotely accessible.
WHHI deployed a custom-made
CRM solution by Think Ahead and set up an eICU, which connected the patient
monitors to an RAS.
The CRM helps circulate
newsletters, keep contact with patients and doctors and generate accurate
reports. The eICU gives patients 24X7 coverage from their personal doctor
as well as other specialists.