Circa 2010 — Innovation in healthcare

It was year 2009, I was part of HealthHiway, an Apollo Hospitals subsidiary, part funded by Greylock Partners (same guys who did initial funding of LinkedIn). Our initial charter was to build a pan-India Health Information Exchange (HIE), in partnership with IBM. Though lots of deliberations and planning took place over many months, but the HIE hit many road-blocks, both in terms of our partnership with IBM, as well as on-boarding of other providers, payers, diagnostics centres, purely because they considered Apollo as their competition. Eventually, the HIE fizzled out, but it gave birth to creating a Personal Health Record (PHR) system, across Apollo Hospitals.

We called the PHR, as Apollo Prism (Apollo Hospitals trademark and copyright). The screen on the left is one of those 1st iterations of Apollo Prism. It was ‘ahead of the curve’ from many perspective. The mere fact that diagnostics reports (we started with diagnostics reports, on PHR) could be electronically given to a patient, that too on a smartphone, was forward thinking, in 2010. And to be able to transmit the report, in real-time, by extracting from Hospital Information System (HIS), as soon as it was ‘published’ on the HIS, was another innovative move. As far as our memory serves, Apollo Hospitals was the 1st such health system to roll this out, in India.

The work on Apollo Prism evolved at rapid pace and many new features were added. Patients really appreciated the ready and immediate access to their Health Records, in electronic format, on their smartphones. We expanded the types of diagnostics reports that can be extracted and presented on smartphones. Below is an example of LFT report on a smartphone.

Apollo Prism screen 2. Apollo Prism is a trademark of Apollo Hospitals, India

Technically, we had an agent on the server that was constantly pinging the database to look for any new record for a particular UHID. As soon as a record in the form of diagnostics report came up, it would fetch it, format it to be made appropriate to be presented on smartphone and send it to Apollo Prism database/ server. Apollo Prism system would then send a text message to the patient whose UHID data came, for them to view/ download. Initial versions were built on Ruby-on-rails but later versions were migrated to Java.

The PHR system was later expanded to take on more information and shared with patients. Patient engagement and appreciation increased and their feedback about service quality and responsiveness moved up many notches.

Program Management of such innovative systems has been there from very early stage and worked as a bridge between technology team and end-users, to be able to carve out best-in-class systems.

Disclaimer — Apollo logo, Apollo Prism are registered trademark of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. It is being mentioned here, purely, as part of a story