As an institution with a firm belief that Information Technology and its various manifestations are as vital to dispensing of quality healthcare as clinical expertise and best practices, a fact underlined by the institution being selected twice as the ‘ Best IT user in Healthcare’ by NASSCOM with KPMG and CNBC TV, Sankara Nethralaya took a major initiative in exploring new vistas in the field of IT in healthcare by organizing a symposium titled ‘Transforming Eye Care through Information Technology’ (TIET-2016) at the Sri V.D. Swami Auditorium at its main campus on the 19th of November 2016. The event was in keeping with the institution’s avowed and founding principle of disseminating knowledge for the common good and gave a deep insight and perspective on the role of IT and its scope for the future to healthcare professionals, administrators and IT personnel in healthcare and was well received by a packed hall of attendees. The seminar was addressed by an array of luminaries and high profile professionals from diverse backgrounds like Dr.Sumanth Raman, Domain Consultant Healthcare TCS, Dr.S.B. Bhatacharya, Head Health Informatics and Member National EHR Standardization Committee, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Dr. Ramamurthy, President AIOS, Mr. Ravi Viswanathan, President TCS, Dr. John Picconi from IBM Watson, Dr. Rahul Ali, Country Head, ORBIS, Dr. Vijay Narayanan, Head of Data Science and Director Algorithm, Microsoft Corporation, Dr SS. Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya and Dr. Sathya Venkatraman, Consulting Partner, Asia Pacific IBM to name a few.
Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Sankara Nethralaya Shri Chandramouli welcomed the gathering and gave an interesting genesis of his institution’s tryst with technology dating back to two decades and its pioneering role in storage and retrieval of data. Addressing by remote Dr.John Piccone took the audience on an enchanting trip on how his company IBM Watson Health deployed advanced Cognitive computing to enhance human experience and decode unstructured data, interpret natural language and interpret a worldwide database for better diagnosis and understanding of ailments. Dr. Sumanth Raman from TCS reiterated the same with his observation that the role of IT is not any more confined to storage and retrieval of data but as a dynamic, proactive and predicting mechanism taking healthcare from its role of illness management to wellness management. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Sudhir, Senior Consultant and Head of Sankara Nethralaya’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) gave a detailed account of his institution’s real time experience with EMR and how the training, implementation cost and challenges were made worthwhile by the benefits that accrued from the same.
Shi Ravi Viswanthan President, TCS congratulated Dr.Sudhir and his team for their role as pioneers in implementing EMR and hailed TCS and Sankara Nethralaya as partners in progress, he underlined the role of Information Technology in dispensing healthcare in a highly populous nation like India and hailed Dr.SS.Badrinath as a true visionary and EMR as his long term vision. Dr. Vijay Narayanan Head of Algorithm and Data Science at Microsoft gave an interesting account on a rather esoteric and surreal topic titled ‘Unreasonable effects of Algorithm’ and his organization’s interesting engagement in preventive healthcare with L.V.Prasad Eye institute deploying the same.
The first hand experience shared by senior doctors like Dr. Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant Sankara Nethralaya and several Medico-IT professionals in terms of accurate interpretation of images to helping in case studies drove home the point that Information Technology was not alien or inimical to dispensing healthcare as it is being construed but indispensable to the same and helped in underlining that technology far from replacing the human touch was actively enhancing personalization and the one to one engagement in healthcare delivery. The symposium on IT in healthcare also dwelt on more mundane topics like online payments, cyber safety and the leveraging of the web to engage and reach out the services of a hospital to its users.