Dr Oommen John: on the cutting edge of m-health

Oommen John is Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute. He completed his undergraduate and post graduate training in Internal Medicine at the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India. He has also undertaken executive business management training from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

Oommen has worked as a clinician in rural and urban settings and was responsible for coordinating the research activities of a network of hospitals in India and South Asia. He has also worked with the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva and SEARO in the area of Immunization and Vaccine Development, setting up of vaccine preventable disease surveillance and contributed to the drafting of the strategic framework for strengthening immunization coverage in WHO South East Asia Region.

His research interests include clinical decision support for improving clinical outcomes, health informatics and analytics, strengthening health systems through disruptive innovation. He is currently on the Executive Council of the Indian Association for Medical Informatics (IAMI) and is the Secretary of the IAMI Academy for Health Informatics; he contributes to a number of government, non-government and research advisory committees.

How long have you been working at The George Institute?

It would be two years this September.

What inspires you in the work you do and why?

Our work is directly impacting lives. I know that my effort is going to transform a person’s health and better still that the evidence we generate is informing and changing policy at scale.

What is your current research focus?

Understanding the determinants of clinical and economic outcomes in people with end stage renal disease, and designing and evaluating m-health tools for remote clinical monitoring in chronic diseases.

What are the examples of other work/projects you been involved with at The George Institute?

We are designing an m-health tool for home based monitoring and management of persons on peritoneal dialysis. We are also establishing collaborative platforms for crowd-sourced research on non-communicable diseases.

What is your professional background?

I am medical doctor by training, specialized in internal medicine. I love management science so have a formal qualification in management.

Are you currently studying and if so what?

Learning never stops, so I am doing a course on data analytics and visualization at the moment

What values of The George Institute do you appreciate the most and why?

Creativity: I like to challenge the status quo. The George Institute gives me immense opportunity to think disruptively and use my neurons in a turbo mode.

Focus on excellence: I like to be proud of my work output, it should look really good, creating a winning grant application, research paper or a mobile health application is like making a painting or an architectural monument to be appreciated and leaving a legacy.

Emphasis on impact: Knowing that my effort and output of our research is likely to change practice helps me stay focused and constantly keep looking for opportunities that would keep us at the cutting edge.

Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute?

Working at The George Institute is like working for your own start up, with immense inhouse mentoring and opportunities for funding even the wildest of ideas that can be translated into solutions, and products rigorously tested through an implementation research approach. What more can one ask for?

To unwind at the end of the day I…

Listen to jazz or cook a special meal for the family.

My first job was…

As Medical Officer managing a 30-bed health facility in a hill station.

My biggest achievement so far…

Being chosen to represent WHO SEARO region at the WHO Immunization Practices Advisory Council.