Medicine is entering an age of democratisation as power shifts from hospitals, doctors and other caregivers to patients; this development is potentially leading to dramatic health care improvements. Given the technology adoption trends, the increased awareness among providers and consumers, the time is right for the healthcare industry in India to aggressively embrace this digital revolution.
But the true power of digital lies in providing care solutions to patients extending from healthy living, prevention, early diagnosis, treatment to managing the patient at home or in the community and further extending this to the home or primary care centers for chronic disease patients.
In India, we are already seeing the benefits of leveraging these digital technologies. It is helping in extending the accessibility and quality of care to areas that were not accessible before, helping hospitals improve the efficiency of hospitals, which in turn can provide a platform to bring down the cost of care.
There is improved workflow in hospitals, reduction of infrastructure costs by leveraging the Cloud, tools that help in faster and early diagnosis of a disease state are helping reduce the cost of delivery. Trained nurses with low cost tablets with appropriate applications are extending the reach of doctors and specialists to areas where care was not available before.
The cost of post-operative care is reducing through a combination of remote monitoring and video conferencing by ensuring that patients don’t have to travel to cities for regular checkups. The possibilities, thanks to digital technologies, are limitless.
The best example of technology can be sited in ICCC (IntelliSpace Consultative Critical Care), which remotely monitors patients and addresses the challenge of growing shortage of qualified physicians and nurses. It also is improving quality of care given to patients.
Added to this, there is an increasing awareness among consumers about personal health which is completely powered by technology. Devices are now available in the wellness space which help one monitor parameters. These help you to manage your life better.
The cycle for professional care is vastly improved. When you are admitted to hospital for care, the wellness data now available helps us manage the hospital care a lot better than what it would have otherwise been. Your trends are now available to doctors – anywhere, anytime, thanks to the data cloud.
Once back from hospital, you now have the home care domain which focuses on the recovery phase and advises you on the medications to be taken, the exercise regimen to be followed, the calories to be consumed, motivational videos and consultancies, interaction and sharing of feedback from peer groups, friends and relations via social media, the options are endless.
We believe that technology enabled digital solutions will help us achieve the vision of “anywhere, anytime healthcare”. This is no longer a Utopian myth, but a reality!
In the next article, we shall look at the dramatic changes that have taken place in the diagnosis space, thanks to technology.
Text by Ravi Ramaswamy
Ravi Ramaswamy is Senior Director, Philips Health Systems