Cloud is fast emerging as the torchbearer of healthcare industry: Garrett Ilg, President, Japan & Asia Pacific, Oracle

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May 03, 2021 1:15 AM

The healthcare transformation was under way even earlier, but the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated this transformation.

Cloud technology, along with unified ERP, finance, HCM, and supply chain, is already enabling healthcare payers, providers, and researchers to drive innovation, reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.

Healthcare providers today need access to critical information, consolidated from disparate data sources, in order to identify key areas and plan better for various contingencies that are likely to emerge. Garrett Ilg, president Japan & Asia Pacific, Oracle, talks about the role of cloud and innovation in an interview with Sudhir Chowdhary. Excerpts:

With the pandemic, we have seen unprecedented focus on healthcare. Do you see this as a sustained shift and how?
The healthcare transformation was under way even earlier, but the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated this transformation. In the past, efforts to transform were bogged down by factors such as criticality of systems involved and constricted budgets. This has changed over the last 12 months. For instance, the pandemic has changed the way trials are done. Trials today are decentralised so they are completed faster, since work can be conducted in parallel.

Healthcare professionals have showed a willingness to pivot in several ways to keep their important work going forward. Throughout the pandemic, organisations leveraged AI, ML, cloud, and data analytics tools. If 2020 compelled healthcare to take a close look at what needs to be improved, 2021 will reflect the progress the industry has made and how far it needs to go.

How do you see innovation in technology today taking centre stage within healthcare in Asia Pacific and India?
Technology innovations, specifically in cloud computing, bring a whole host of benefits to organisations in the healthcare industry. At the same time, advances in technology have brought a modern cloud environment to the forefront. In that regard, Asia-Pacific and India have made tremendous strides in healthcare innovation – thanks to their pro-technology growth policies and a young populace which is not limited by old technology.

Pharmaniaga Berhad, the largest integrated pharmaceutical group in Malaysia, is using cloud technology and Internet of Things applications to efficiently and safely deliver Covid-19 vaccines to health facilities across the country. Hulunbuir People’s Hospital in Inner Mongolia is using cloud technology to build and deploy a laptop-based application in just three days to digitise its admission processes, eliminating a paper-based one that risked spreading the virus. Researchers at South Australia’s Flinders University, working with local drug developer Vaxine Pty. Ltd., conducted heavy-duty testing of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate using cloud infrastructure. Healthtech is estimated to be valued at $80.7 billion in Asia-Pacific by 2025. I see cloud fast emerging as the torchbearer of the healthcare industry today.

In what ways does digital transformation help to smoothen the transition from volume-based to value-based care?
Cloud technology, along with unified ERP, finance, HCM, and supply chain, is already enabling healthcare payers, providers, and researchers to drive innovation, reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. For example, Oracle Cloud ERP has helped hospitals to simplify internal processes to focus solely on patient care.

What are some of the real-time challenges healthcare providers are facing in India?
While Indian healthcare space is known for its resilience and agility, it does face certain real-time challenges which need technology-enabled solutions. These may include security breaches, cyber theft, patient privacy, network blind spots, and process changes resulting from adoption of new technology. The answer to all these problems begins with network visibility, which allows you to see what you are up against, take a holistic look at your network to then monitor, collect and analyse that data through monitoring and security tools.

In short, healthcare providers need to invest in their finance, supply chain, HR, and other back-office systems. That’s because they need access to critical information, consolidated from disparate data sources, in order to identify areas to reduce spending near term, as well as plan better for various business scenarios likely to emerge.

How is Oracle enabling the growth journey of many healthcare providers and contributing to better, quicker healthcare delivery in India?
Through ‘humanising data’, Oracle has assisted organisations across the world in shoring up their healthcare capacities to improve overall delivery of medical services and patient experience. In India, we wanted to be a partner to healthcare institutions, helping them drive agile plans across finance and improve operations decision-making with Oracle ERP and EPM cloud solutions for healthcare.

Narayana Health, the largest heart hospital in the world, is a shining example of tech-enabled growth. Similarly, Omega Healthcare, Apollo Hospitals, Aurobindo Pharma and Fortis Hospitals are using Oracle’s Cloud applications like CRM, ERP, and even HCM to offer more integrated services to patients and employees.

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