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, a CRM solution
When you aim to build a world-class hospital, you need efficient
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 the database of patients and staff efficiently. It also needed to
connect specialists to the hospital network so that doctors could monitor the
The WHHI IT team, which consists of eight people, found that the most suitable
solution was to put in place two inter-linked systems. The team considered a
CRM solution custom-made to the hospitals needs and a network link that
they termed eICU. This system connects patients monitors to a Remote Access
Server (RAS) accessible over the Internet. The CRM system at WHHI not only helps
locate doctors, it 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
To develop and maintain a special relationship with doctors, patients, and corporates,
WHHI required an easily manageable system that would catalogue all the required
details. Moreover, with the bridging of the difference in service levels at
hotels and hospitals internationally, Vishal Bali, Vice-president Operations,
WHHI, believed that such implementations are required to incorporate efficiency
and improve customer service. The implementation was also required to track
feedback so that a patient satisfaction index could be generated.
To meet these requirements, the hospital approached an outfit called Think Ahead,
which conceived, developed and implemented a CRM application to specifically
meet WHHIs demands. 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: Hospitalisation should not be seen as an episode but
as a continuing patient-hospital relationship, it is not a one time transaction.
And the CRM solution has helped do just that.
- The company: Wockhardt Hospital and Heart
Institute (WHHI) admits 85 patients per day on an average. It already
caters to over 80,000 patients who have been treated earlier. 30 percent
of Wockhardts patients belong to the less developed interiors
- The need: WHHI required a solution to
manage details of its patients and staff, and make the life support
monitors of the ICU remotely accessible.
- The solution: WHHI deployed a custom-made
CRM solution by Think Ahead and set up an eICU, which connected the
patient monitors to a RAS.
- The advantage: The CRM helps circulate
newsletters, communicate with patients and doctors and generate accurate
reports. The eICU gives patients 24X7 coverage from their personal doctor
as well as other specialists.
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 surgical intensive care
unit has also been added to the system. The RASs can be accessed over the Internet
via a 2 Mbps line.
The eICU allows doctors to consult specialists in emergency situations. A resident
doctor can consult a senior consultant from the operation theatre and the CRM
solution helps retrieve the most suitable 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 or her doctor.
WHHIs 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 programme. 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 the chronically ill.
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 unauthorised access
and the software firewall acts as an active state packet filtering firewall.
The Total Internet Security Suite scans inbound and outbound network traffic.
The implementation cost was Rs 2 million, according to Bali. Perhaps, the level
of automation and improved efficiency due to this system could be used to establish
the systems 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 patient care improve the world over, Wockhardt will be
in step with its customer-centric initiatives.
With updates from Vinita Gupta