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Driving Healthcare innovation through Hospital Tech

Girish Koppar, Senior Manager IT, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, talks about co-founding Hospital Tech, a platform for CIOs to collaborate and share knowledge on successful IT implementations in hospitals. By Pooja Paryani

Twenty-three years ago, Girish Koppar started his career as a maintenance engineer, but he was always drawn towards IT. So, he didn’t stop himself and started learning more about the IT and successfully transitioned to the IT industry soon after. During his career, Girish has worked in various domains including textiles, manufacturing and finally healthcare. He’s currently the Senior Manager, IT at Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, and is constantly looking for ways to use his knowledge of technology to bring in a change. His efforts were recently recognised at the Hospitality and Healthcare Honours 2016 – Healthcare segment, where he won an award for Ecosystem Integration and Innovation.

During the eight years he’s spent in the healthcare vertical, Girish was able to witness some of the unique challenges healthcare CIOs face. He realised that IT was decentralised and a lot more could be done to harness the power of IT for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers. “I met likeminded people in the healthcare vertical and realised they also have the same pain areas like me in the IT segment,” says Girish.“There was a need for a common place to discuss these issues and share personal experiences as well as opinions. So we decided to form an organisation that would provide transformational and visionary leadership for successful adoption of digital technologies in hospitals.”

Building ongroup knowledge
“Hospital Tech enables us to share our experiences of applied technologies and also about the technologies that we are planning to implement. It’s not necessary that a technology that is new to me would be new to all; there are chances of someone already using the technology. So, in such cases, we are now able to get more insights before actually investing in the technology by sharing and leveraging the information about products, vendors, etc. I created a WhatsApp group along with a few other likeminded CIOs that served as a platform to share such information. Whenever anyone in the group needs advice while procuring a new product, infrastructure, etc, we ask for suggestions on this WhatsApp group. I must thank all the group members for actively participating and giving their inputs, which enables us to get first-hand information and a clear insight about various technologies, products and solutions.”

Making it formal
“After connecting on WhatsApp, we thought of expanding our circle, making it legal as well as open to all healthcare CIOs. We wanted our group to get more visibility so we started conducting our own events and actively participating in other events with our banner. However, it became important that we become a legal entity so that we can manage the administration and financial aspects better. Event sponsors would require us to be a legal entity, so we finally came up with our portal and registered our group as a charitable trust with the Charity Commissioner of Mumbai. People from different geographies who had previous experiences in forming such groups stepped forward to help us form this group and make it successful. We now intend on having our own events.  Vendors can approach us as we can help them in promoting their products. Hospital Tech gives CIOs a better place to connect and it is a win-win situation for vendors as they can now directly come to us to get connected with a specific hospital and its IT leader, while CIOs get vendor accessibility along with inputs from other CIOs on the products promoted.”

Opportunity for networking and team building
“Through Hospital Tech, CIOs get to meet like-minded people and get acquainted with new and emerging ideas. In the healthcare vertical CIOs are able to attend different forums and seminars on technology driven topics, and share their knowledge. The knowledge shared is not bookish, it’s practical in nature, which is very helpful. Our CIO members are very well experienced and they share a lot of insights on various technologies. It’s a way for CIOs to contribute to the industry, and a great platform for networking and learning. The by-product of networking is job creation in the market.”

CSR activities
“Before joining this industry I was completely unaware about thevarious hospital processes that are commonly applicable in this industry. But over time I feel that I am now well versed with the various processes as a common man. A lot of people are unaware about the basics when it comes to hospitals, doctors and treatments. So I would like to educate people and spread awareness about such common hospital processes and on how to deal in emergency situations. Through Hospital Tech we are going to launch an education programme for those who wish to join the industry in terms of technology and CSR activities, and provide career opportunities to people. We are in the process of drawing the roadmap and laying the foundation for this work.”

Challenges faced
“To start the group was not easy as, we all had to devote more time to it apart from the time we were spending at work. To nourish your dreams and objectives, making and managing time is very essential. There will be ups and downs; however, striking the right balance is imperative and one must have self-belief and be persistent. In time, CIOs realised the importance of Hospital Tech and its benefits, so it was the unanimous drive and need to come together that led to the formation of this association. There are several forums for CIOs, but none focussed exclusively on healthcare, so we filled that gap. We did a soft launch of Hospital Tech on August 27, 2016 at CIO Crown, where we organised a parallel healthcare track for healthcare CIOs. It was a great opportunity for us to create awareness of our group and to obtain more members.” 

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