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Technology developments for Indian hospital chain

Founded in 1983, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited is an Indian hospital chain based in Chennai.

Its chief information officer, Mr Arvind Sivaramakrishnan said that the organisation is using technology to ensure patients and the health system, that includes their operations support services, are well-connected.

The chain is one of the first hospitals to leverage technology to facilitate healthcare delivery. It plans to unveil the country’s first-ever Proton Treatment Cancer Centre and it is estimated to serve over three billion people.

Proton Therapy is currently the most cutting-edge and targeted cancer treatment due to its advanced dose distribution and minimal side effects that helps treat cancer more efficiently.

The standard radiation therapy consists of X-ray beams that deposit their energy along the path of the beam, to a tumour and beyond, that leads to radiation being distributed not only to the tumour but also to the healthy tissues near the tumour, causing damage to the normal tissue or organs around the tumour.

Proton therapy enables the location of the release of the energy to be controlled and can precisely target the tumour, only affecting the targeted tumour cells, while avoiding healthy tissues and organs.

A proton beam is just millimetres wide and allows the effective treatment of complex tumours in the eye, brain, prostate, as well as cancers in children, limiting the harm done on healthy tissue and critical organs.

According to their website, Apollo has other state-of-the-art cancer treatment technologies, including the TrueBeam STX treatment. The TrueBeam STX treats cancer anywhere in the body where radiation treatment is indicated, including cancers of the lung, breast, prostate and head and neck.

Treatment techniques, all of which can be delivered under respiratory gated conditions, include 3D-CRT (three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy), Dynamic IMRT (intensity-modulated radiotherapy), Rapid Arc radiotherapy technology, and 4D planning and treatments, among others.

Having a track record of experimenting with new technologies, Apollo has also adopted the 320 Slice CT Scan system. It is an advanced imaging system that scans an entire body, in less than one minute. It helps to accurately identify any abnormality. The system uses X-Rays to obtain cross-sectional images or “slices “of the targeted area.

Apollo uses a wide variety of tech tools including analytics, personal health record (PHR), a hybrid cloud computing model, and mobility applications.

The company has also explored other tech areas like the internet of things (IoT), for both within the hospital and outside. Fitbits, for example, are one level of IoT. The second level is to use IoT for a connected healthcare environment. Connecting the diagnostic and other healthcare equipment with intelligence built in, Mr Arvind Sivaramakrishnan said.

Apollo stores millions of information it collects from patients, including data from AskApollo, its integrated patient engagement platform, and Apollo Prism, the PHR application.

Earlier this week, Apollo Hospitals won an Asia Pacific HIMSS-Elsevier Digital Healthcare Award for Outstanding ICT Innovation.

This event was the sixth annual HIMSS-Elsevier Digital Healthcare Award for the Asia Pacific region. Apollo won the award for a Multifactorial Cardiovascular Risk Prediction Tool. This is the first EMR Integrated heart risk-related project and risk model in India, which uses retrospective and prospective data.

The objective of the project was to come up with a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk score prediction model that accounted for risk factors related to cardiac disease specifically designed for the Indian population. The technology can be integrated into the organisation’s EMR (electronic medical record).

On 12 November 2018, the Apollo appointed Medvarsity, India’s largest online medical training company, to train over 250 nurses. Under the program, the nurses will study new the technologies in managing a ward or unit in any healthcare setting through a Ward Sister Course.

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