1. EGov: Healthcare gets a digital boost

EGov: Healthcare gets a digital boost

IT-enabled platforms like web meetings and online video tools can provide quality medical care to a diversified set of population

Published: August 25, 2016 6:05 AM

The swiftness at which our universe is digitalising is remarkable; every day simple tasks like booking a cab, buying provisions etc. have submitted to the growing need to be digitalisation. Technology rules our lives today, giving people convenience and efficiency. So why mainstream healthcare sector should lag behind and not participate in the race towards digitalisation?

Technological intervention is what the current healthcare system demands, especially amidst spiraling medical expense, poor infrastructure and low-quality healthcare. Internet and its applications has definitely brought a dynamic change in the industry, becoming one of the most promising sectors in today’s time. Undeniably, it is the advent of technology that has transformed our lives, enabling all commercial activities—from shopping to hotel booking, to take place on a virtual medium such as the internet. What’s interesting is the fact that the healthcare sector has also joined the bandwagon, followed by an unprecedented rise in medical aggregators. In India, there is only one doctor for every 1,700 people, according to World Bank Survey, 2012.

Hence, one of the greatest challenges India is facing is to provide quality medical care to the huge and diversified set of population, which do not have access to specialty doctors and physicians due to socioeconomic and geographical limitations. Through IT-enabled platforms, such as web meetings and online video tools, we can bring medical experts everywhere. Video/online consultations are great tools to connect doctors in metro cities to the communities in remote areas. Such technologies break all barriers that stand in the way of quality patient care, be it geographical, time or monetary.
Digital technologies enable us to use smartphones, that has encouraged people of all age groups to access Internet,  on making it easier for them to adopt this unconventional approach to healthcare. The emergence of e-pharmacies is a great convenience in these times. These technologies deliver medicines and supplies to the patient’s doorsteps, which is incredibly beneficial to people living in hard-to-reach areas. Nowadays, patients can go to the nearest medical centre that has videoconferencing facilities and connect with specialists in metro cities.

This will save patients the time and expense of travelling long distances for a consultation. Doctors can view digital photos of wounds, review reports and access patient’s lab results through electronic medical record systems, leading up to speedy diagnose/treatment procedures and recovery, improving the overall quality of patient care.

Rural India lacks basic services and infrastructure required for accessing minimum healthcare services. Such areas report more deaths due to communicable diseases, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions, which can easily be avoided if given proper direct access to healthcare. This is where digital platforms come in, giving access to upgraded healthcare professionals and medical services that are available in the urban areas where, leading health technologies are empowering users via health and fitness tips through their apps.

In a massively populated country like India, the emergence of technology in the medical sector will definitely contribute to better healthcare. This is why it is imperative to embrace digital technologies and implement well-thought models that have the potential to accelerate public health in laying the foundation of a strong and prosperous India.

The writer Nishi Gandotra is co-founder and director, Saveonmedicals.com, a Gurgaon-based
e-healthcare firm

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