Saravanan Sankaran, CIO, Aravind Eye Hospital On Tele-consultation, Tele-medicines

Saravanan Sankaran, CIO, Aravind Eye Hospital On Tele-consultation, Tele-medicines

-Dhamodaran Palani

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has severely compromised the existing healthcare delivery system. The pandemic poses several challenges in the regular patient care even in the urban cities, where healthcare delivery was generally deemed to be good. Aravind Eye Care System (AECS) is a leading eye-clinic has one of the largest facilities in the world for eye care. Over the years, this organization has evolved into a sophisticated system dedicated to compassionate service for sight. Saravanan Sankaran, CIO of the healthcare organization speaks on the way tech has evolved in the healthcare sector.

Saravanan Sankaran

What are the new technologies and changes the healthcare sector has undergone during this COVID time?

Evolving Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, global positioning systems, smartphones, wearables, and video conferencing solutions are being harnessed to support the healthcare sector and professionals’ response to COVID-19 across the world. These technologies had significantly helped tracking, contact tracing, including patient surveillance, location identification, and clinical management on the basis of mobile phone data and responses through smart applications.

The age-old tradition of a country like India is that the healthcare professional has physical interaction with a patient. In such a situation,
do you see virtual consulting can replace the traditional way?

Aravind Eye Care (AECS) has been pioneering in telemedicine as a practice for many rural and remote parts in southern India for many years. We have been successfully delivering Primary Eye Care (Vision Center) Solutions connected with our base hospitals from many remote locations where network connectivity was not even possible or available in the early days. COVID had created much more demand for teleconsultation and authorities have responded with the telemedicine guidelines and in the process of addressing the same.

There are software management systems for handling data, AECS has IHMS, Vision center management system tools, but with growing concerns for data, how does AECS see the usage of Cybersecurity as a service?

Cybersecurity in AECS is a focused area across all the IT functions and we have been consistently improving our ISMS process, tools, and governance across all IT Systems and operation control areas. We engage partners to transform our Information Security Systems strategically. With regards to the storage of large volumes of data will AECS look for cloud services that are publicly available such as Amazon web services, Microsoft Azure or you feel that physical stores will be good for hospitals?

Cloud services have been in adoption for the past 2 years and we have made some significant consolidation and optimization on our physical storage on-premises.

What are the steps taken by all AECS hospitals in introducing newer technologies in enhancing collaboration between patients and eye-specialists?

In AECS we have consistently brought technology interventions leveraging Deep Tech solutions using AI, ML, Data intelligence, and analytics to improve our Patient Care System and EMR Solutions to our healthcare professionals. We are on the journey towards digital transformation.

We hear much negative news on COVID. On the tech side, what are the positive angles of this pandemic?

COVID-19 had created a new way of living and working delivering essential health care support leveraging digital technology and Solutions. Technology as certainly improved the Business Resiliency via cloud adoption for all our critical applications. Enabling virtual collaboration using Video Conference solutions, remote working is a new normal for many of us during the pandemic lockdown. During this period the adoption of teleconsultation and telemedicine practice has
accelerated globally.