by Shubhra Rishi

Artemis Hospital Digitizes Data Storage to Save Costs

Jan 11, 2015 3 mins
Analytics Budgeting Databases

Artemis Hospital saved heavily on physical storage cost by deploying a large, cloud-based document management system. 

Artemis certainly isn’t the first hospital to implement a document management system, but it is one of the very few hospitals that has been able to execute it effectively, says Kapil Mehrotra, chief information officer of Artemis Hospitals, an eight-year-old multispecialty hospital which is also the first JCI and NABH accredited hospital in Gurgaon.

A few months into his job, Mehrotra realized that they were spending more than Rs 25 lakh every year for storing medical records in a rented space. There were large bundles of paper tucked away in a room that wasn’t being utilized properly. If that wasn’t all, the files contained patient data that no longer needed to be stored, as medical guidelines by the government requires information for only up to five years to be saved. “But we didn’t want to destroy patient data which crossed the five-year deadline,” says Mehrotra.

Thus began the tryst to find a document management system which would be simple to use and would digitize medical records effectively. “We wanted a solution that would be reliable, manageable, secure, and cost-effective,” says Mehrotra. Finally, a cloud-based system was chosen which adhered to the hospital’s two main concerns: cost and security.

One of the main challenges was to find order in chaos. There was data as old as eight years, and Artemis didn’t want to digitize everything at once. It chose to digitize medical records from 2007 to 2010 using the new cloud-based document management system. The result was digitizing a total of 27,000 files, or roughly one crore pages. The entire process was carried out with little or no manual intervention. Once the records were fed into the system, the rest of the process—from converting pages into the PDF format to storing files on a specific location on the server—was mostly automated. Digitization was undertaken with minimum effort.

Once the hospital was done with the humungous task of digitizing all patient data, Mehrotra realized what a fruitful investment it had been. He says that the new system uses six parameters—doctor name, patient identity, date of birth, name, location, and the treatment category—which simplifies the search and gives results in merely three seconds.

Another challenge that Mehrotra had to overcome was securing data. “Since it is confidential information, only the MRD head has access to the system, and all requests are channeled through him,” says Mehrotra.

One of the major benefits of the implementation was that the hospital saved heavily on costs. “For investing in any document management system, a minimum investment of Rs 3 crore is required,” he says. Mehrotra spent only Rs 6 lakh on the new system and it has already saved the hospital Rs 25 lakh on physical storage cost annually.

Due to the success of the project, Artemis’ finance and HR departments also expressed interest in digitizing their respective records. According to Mehrotra, the finance guidelines allow the hospital’s financial department to retain records up to 10 years, but it wants to initiate the digitization process — imitating the success of Mehrotra’s initiative which was deployed in a span of just four months.