Health check on Tech: CK Birla Hospitals CIO Mitali Biswas on moving the needle towards innovation | CIO

Health check on Tech: CK Birla Hospitals CIO Mitali Biswas on moving the needle towards innovation | CIO

How significant are concerns around cybersecurity and data privacy for CK Birla hospitals and healthcare in general?

Nearly 50% of my budget is spent on cybersecurity. We monitor all our layers – from our endpoint devices to our network and cloud.

The biggest challenge is cultivating user awareness in healthcare. Regardless of technical solutions, unless doctors and nurses handle data sensitively and restrict it to work devices, the problem will not abate. Likewise, consumers, i.e., patients are also unaware of data privacy practices.

India has just passed the Digital Personalization Data Protection Act 2023, which will optimistically put a lot more emphasis on data privacy and increase awareness.

How are you leveraging generative AI to enhance your services, improve operational efficiency, or make life easier for your patients?

We first plan to implement generative AI on the IT side, creating chat bots or to monitor our cloud expenses. A lot of our clinicians are also using AI for research papers. Implementing it on the clinical side will take additional trials, because we cannot risk anything in that area.

How do your expectations of your resources change as technology evolves rapidly?

Everybody in technology needs to cultivate a learning mindset. I have survived in technology for more than 20 years because I have dedicated time to learning.

Learning doesn’t always mean completing courses or gaining certifications, but more about keeping an open mind, experimenting and hands-on experience. During performance evaluations, one of the criteria my team is measured on is their commitment to gaining new skills.

Is there a challenge when it comes to the upskilling of your ground level staff at the hospitals?

There is, because digital transformation in any organization is not just about the technology, but also the employees’ mindset. People’s reluctance to adopt a new system can be sidestepped by applying a top-down approach or gamifying the learning process.

When embarking on digital transformation, it works to take the staff along on the journey. Involve them during the creation and testing process, so they develop a sense of ownership for the solutioning systems. Management support is paramount for these initiatives, as doctors and nurses are strapped for time for these additional activities, so it needs to be a part of their KPIs to make this a success.

As a leader, what learnings are you imparting to your team and how do you lead your team through turbulent times?

To effectively lead your team, you have to assure them that it’s okay to fail. Only then will they venture into experimentation or make bold attempts to foster innovation, for they know that their leader has their back. Once you inspire this confidence in your team, they’re incredibly proactive and lead the tasks themselves. My mantra has always been that if it’s a failure, it’s my failure. But if it’s a success, it’s our success.