From Super Computing to Health Informatics

Spread across 11 centres in India, C-DAC is working silently to usher in a healthcare revolution through ICT. Here’s an exclusive interview with C-DAC’s Director General, Prof. Rajat Moona


The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, better known as C-DAC has made major forays into Health Informatics and Digital Healthcare with the development of several technologies, software and hardware solutions and products. These include hospital management information systems, drug supply chain management system, telemedicine solutions, mobile healthcare solutions, healthcare standards, decision support systems and EHR/EMR Systems.
This is just one major area of work for C-DAC which is spread across 11 centres in the country and has a total of 2,800 employees. Originally established to carry out research and to develop High Performance Computers, the R&D of C-DAC has expanded to various other areas of ICTE such as grid and cloud computing, multilingual computing, heritage computing, professional electronics including VLSI and embedded systems, cyber security and cyber forensics, health informatics, software technologies and education related to these technologies.
Leading this iconic institution at its helm is Prof. Rajat Moona who arrived at C-DAC in 2011 from IIT Kanpur where he continues to serve as Professor of Computer Science.
A recipient of several awards and recognitions, Prof. Moona has been a Visiting Scientist to MIT and a senior Engineering Manager at Mentor Graphics. Here are some excerpts from his exclusive interview to BioSpectrum:

Q: C-DAC has done considerable amount of work in Health Informatics. When and how did this work begin?
A: Healthis one of the basic needs of human beings. With this view, C-DAC is deeply involved in Health Informatics to provide high class healthcare services and solutions. Our major objective is to support healthcare professionals, providers, industry, governance, and patients by providing world class hardware and software solutions; designed, developed and made in India.
As need and technology evolved, C-DAC provided and continues to provide Health Informatics technology from traditional standalone applications to modern-age mobile and cloud technology enabled applications and medical devices. C-DAC is involved in Health Informatics since 1996 when ASHA software was introduced to operate on medical images including X-RAY, MRI, etc. Around 1998, C-DAC extended Health Informatics support by including Hospital Management Information Systems (HMIS) to manage workflow of hospital processes. C-DAC has implemented the Health Informatics System at Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI), Lucknow. At that point of time our system proved to be the first of its kind for a super specialty hospital like SGPGI. Telemedicine systems were supported by C-DAC in early 2000s to provide remote diagnosis and treatment to patients by means of telecommunications technology. Now C-DAC is also focusing on international medical standards to enable high quality, extended security, medical record exchange in Health Informatics application and devices. Meanwhile, C-DAC developed Drug Supply Chain Management System, Decision Support Systems and Mobile Healthcare Solutions which have been released for use.

Q: Which are among the most popular softwares developed by C-DAC in this area?
A: Today C-DAC has a range of products and solutions in a variety of domains and environment. Each of them is targeted to differing usage scenarios and is used by the targeted user community. C-DAC has products and solution in:
• Hospital Management Information Systems (HMIS) - e-Sushrut, Tejhas, OncoHIS
• Drug Supply Chain Management System - e-Aushadhi
• Telemedicine Solutions - Mercury, e-Dhanwanthari, Sanjeevani
• Healthcare Standards - SDK for DICOM, HL7 standards and Toolkit for SNOMED CT
• Decision Support Systems - Ayusoft, EEG Analyzer, cerviScan, iCare@Home, Signal Processing System for Neurological Disorder Detection
• Mobile Healthcare Solutions - mSwasthya, MosQuIT, mCare
• EHR/EMR Systems - EMR System for Oncology, Distributed Healthcare Store, PHRMS
• Medical Electronics and hardware - Tarang, Fully Automatic Bio-Chemistry Analyzer, Digital Stethoscope, Wireless ECG Sensor
• Blood bank management system - e- Raktkosh

Q: To what extent has the Health Informatics software helped bring timely medical assistance and intervention to patients?
A: Health informatics software and hardware play a key role to facilitate timely and effective treatment to patients. Treatment may be provided by healthcare providers while patient's hospital stay need not be extended unnecessarily. Clinical departments, like laboratory, radiology, surgery, OPD, IPD or administrative departments and even multiple clinics/hospitals are inter-connected with the help of Health Informatics software resulting in speedy clinical process and improved healthcare. Patient efforts are reduced in such connected clinical environment. This time-saving factor is especially important with the increasingly growing healthcare needs.

Health Informatics allows patient participation in medical care and patients are empowered to play an active role in their healthcare. This is especially important for people who suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, obesity and cardiac conditions. Patients can monitor their medication usage and engage in dialogue with their doctors for help in making the right healthcare choices. With ability to store, retrieve and share medical records with care providers, the healthcare accuracy and avoidance of error has been increasing.

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