The Health Hiway – Technical Perspective : Mohammed Hussain Naseem, Vice President – Healthcare IBM India

What was the inspiration and business case behind conceptualising the Health Hiway initiative?
Health industry is knowledge based, and produces tons of data in every patient interaction. Despite being data rich, this industry is information poor. If this information can be harnessed effectively, it will have direct impact on cost of treatment, quality of care, reach of care delivery in vast Indian landscape, and finally result in significant operational efficiency. If IT is deployed effectively at the foundation stage, it can make a huge difference. To lay the foundation of information based healthcare system, a National Health Data Network (NHDN) is created, which is named as Health Hiway initiative.

Kindly provide a brief snapshot of the technological background and architectural overview of Health Hiway.
NHDN or Health Hiway, as it is popularly known is in software jargon a transaction engine. A secure, scalable, open, standard based platform, which has infrastructure layer at the bottom, an intra-operable, SOA-based middleware to exchange/share information seamlessly, and application layer at the top, which has a basket of offerings in healthcare-IT space like – Claims, ERP, Business Intelligence, CRM, Portal, Clinical Systems, Disease management, Dashboards, Content Management, EMR etc. It defines and support necessary standards, policies, network services, regulations & business rules.

What were the major challenges while designing and developing the technical framework?
IBM Research Lab has done similar work in other developed geographies, and in other industry verticals. Challenge was to make it work in Indian environment. Hence, last two years were spent in making sure it has nuances which suits the Indian healthcare industry.

What is the target user group of Health Hiway, and how is it designed to deliver low-cost, IT capabilities for the users?
Target group at this stage is Mid-Size hospitals (50-200 bed category).

The objective is to provide world class health IT applications, which are easy to deploy & use, priced right, and adhere to the best clinical & business practices. Applications are carefully chosen so they adhere to above guidelines, pre-configured to suit the need of mid-size hospitals, and delivered on utility model.

What are the basic IT infrastructural requirements and capabilities for a potential user of the Hiway? Starting from registering as a member, what is the average turn-around time  for any mid-segment hospital to fully automate its operations using the Hiway advantage?
As many of Health Hiway applications are delivered on SaaS (Software as a Service) model, basic IT infrastructural requirements can be minimum. After registration as a member, a hospital has to be prepared for Hiway readiness training. The duration of this can vary from few days to few weeks, depending on how many applications are engaged for service. Typical time for a hospital with 2-3 applications can vary between 6-8 weeks.