How healthcare organisations are using data analytics to improve clinical outcomes
17 Aug, 2017

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Around eight months back, Wockhardt Hospitals, a chain of multi specialty hospitals, started using data analytics to understand the minutest details of the cost of  services provided by the group.  Explains Sumit Singh, CIO, Wockhardt Hospitals, “A large hospital is both capital and work force heavy entity with plenty of moving parts and functions. Further, we are present in multiple locations.”

A for-profit organisation, according to Singh, must understand the costs well to remain competitive and viable. The pressures on pricing stem from competition and government entities that enforce price control as well as expectations from the payer community. Data analytics has provided Wockhardt a sustainable method to monitor and understand the cost details along with being able to do insightful comparison between units. This has helped the group identify areas

The group has collaborated with a Mumbai-based data analytics company, Exponentia Data Labs, and chose the Qlik BI platform to do the ETL and render the output through various channels such as automated MIS, mobility apps and within the Qlik tool itself. The use of data analytics, which started with looking at the cost and profit and loss angle of the business for Wockhardt, would be expanded to other areas in the coming months.

Similarly, Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) has bundled BI and BAS tools with HIS to deliver a business analytical solution with near real-time synchronisation. It uses BA solution Deepsee from Intersystem which is on the same platform as the HIS Trakcare which is on CACHE. This real time integration and reporting was made easy for the hospital to consider and adopt it. SGRH is using data analytics mainly for finance and business-related decisions.

Says   Niranjan Ramakrishnan, CIO, SGRH, “Whether we need to buy a new equipment, upgrade a department, tap a new market, we no longer need to wait for the department concerned to give us data. We no longer need to involve the finance and the IT and then wait for the management to validate the data. Our BI tool helps us arrive at the decision in the quickest possible time.”  Down south, Hyderabad’s American Oncology Institute (AOI) is also using data analytics in areas ranging from operations to business development to supply chain.  According to Nilesh Gupta, zonal director, AOI, “Data analytics is used by us as it supports management to assess different business problems more objectively and makes decisions based on data rather than opinions.”

Data analytics, which has made inroads in Indian healthcare, is in infancy in India as most hospitals continue to derive analysis based on MIS report. According to, Madhu Aravind, CEO, Searchlight Health, a Bengaluru-based healthcare analytics company and subsidiary of Piramal Enterprises Limited, “Typically, when a hospital says it is doing data analytics it means it has a BI tool and creates various retrospective business reports out of it.  This is the most rudimentary of data analytics.”

Adds Ramendra Shukla, COO and director, Exponentia Data Labs, “Over the last couple of years, healthcare organisations have started investing in BI, automation and data management specifically in infrastructure, integrating siloed data sets, etc. Analytics is now being used for performance monitoring, driving operational efficiencies and reducing costs in the system.” Some healthcare organisations have started using advanced analytics for their operational planning, geo analytics and customer profiling for campaigns.

According to Dr Shibaji Chattopadhyay, zonal director with AOI and visiting faculty on data analytics at IIM, Kolkata, “The most core and important issue in the usage of data analytics is not the analytical aspect, but the data capture and data flow, as relevant data at correct time capture is the most important aspect of data analytics.” He laments that as India lacks a central healthcare repository, one can’t analyse the sector data and trends.


The group’s first data analytics project was focused on understanding the minutest details of cost of any service that it provides. Prior to this, Wockhardt Hospitals used to do periodic manual exercise that was time consuming and prone to errors. Says Sumit Singh, CIO, Wockhardt Hospitals, “Now we are able to get the same at a macro level for the entire group or to very fine grain service level with just a few clicks of a mouse. Further, we were able to add planning and forecasting elements by adding what-if analysis as well as an added feature.”

Data analytics has helped the group understand the real cost structure of its services. “Data analytics has provided us a sustainable method to monitor and understand the details along with being able to do proper apples to apples comparison between units. This has helped us identify areas where we do good as well as areas of improvements and concerns, At the end of the day, it becomes an important decision making tool for the management both at the helm of affairs and also those managing operations,” says Singh.

Initially, the group incubated, modified and rolled out data analytics at one of its units and post its successful implementation, it was relatively an easy path in both implementation and training at the other centres. “Our initial foray was looking at the cost and profit and loss angle of the business. Now we are in concept stage to look at the clinical data, so that we can have a more customised communication and interaction with our existing patient base. Now not only we will provide relevant health tips and how to manage their health, but also improve awareness of our services to them which would result in more footfalls to the hospital. This will be a win-win for both the patient and our hospital,” says Singh.

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