By Gaurav Gupta,
The Indian healthcare industry is at the cusp of a major digital transformation. While Covid-19 laid bare the inadequacies and pitfalls in our healthcare system, technology is enabling the sector to leapfrog the gaps in our existing medical care and infrastructure. The 2021 Future of Healthcare Report by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) predicts that about 80% of healthcare systems are aiming to increase their investment in digital healthcare tools in the coming five years.
Owing to the growing needs for personalized medicine, access to affordable healthcare services, and the crippling effects of Covid-19, more and more healthcare organizations are gravitating towards technological trends in the coming years. The advent of health technology is carving a new path for the future, one with improved patient outcomes, reduced medical costs, and enhanced care efficiency.
Here are a few technological interventions that can alter the healthcare landscape in 2022 and beyond.
As we are stepping in 2022 many healthcare providers are adopting digital therapeutics (DTx) to deliver medical care and evidence-based therapeutics interventions directly to the patients driven by high-quality software programs. This allows physicians to make an informed selection of the right solution for patients’ problems. As digital data is generated continuously and tracked it also helps to overcome the issue of non-adherence in chronic diseases, helping improve treatment outcomes. Germany has established itself as a pioneer in digital health innovation, with 73 million German citizens covered by public health and 24 apps approved for reimbursement. The country that paved the way for DTx has inspired neighboring countries with the likes of Belgium and France to follow their lead.
Remote Patient Monitoring
The concept of Remote Patient Monitoring gained huge popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when people had to follow movement restrictions and social distancing norms. RPM is slowly becoming the future of delivering healthcare services to patients by providing them with an array of medical devices such as implantables, blood pressure cuffs, sensors, and many others so doctors can access real-time patient data for better treatment. It is commonly recommended for discharged patients as it enables doctors to consistently monitor their patients and act on vital data which further reduces frequent visits of patients to doctors and expedites the recovery process. In addition, it works as a solution to allow doctors to break away from the traditional healthcare settings and reduce time, costs and deliver high-quality healthcare without meeting their patients. Navia was part of the launch of the First-of-its-kind smart device launched in India to track the usage pattern of metered-dose inhalers (MDI) by patients. The reusable device had built-in sensors to track daily usage and consumption pattern. Physicians using the app can monitor patient adherence to therapy to improve clinical outcomes
Smart wearables and devices
Wearable technology in healthcare allows patients to play a more active role in maintaining their health. Patients, equipped with wearable technologies, can track everything from heart rate to reproductive cycles. Doctors can also use this data to craft individualized healthcare plans. Furthermore, the data mined from wearables is more systematic and accurate in recording all medical details and vitals of the patient. The market of smart devices is not limited to fitness bands and smartwatches, there are smart inhalers, Smart hearing aids, sleep bands, bio patches, etc. Even the new Apple watch is not a fitness watch, it’s a health monitoring device and we can see that the focus of the company is shifting to medical wearable devices for health monitoring.
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders toppled the conventional care delivery model and enabled many healthcare providers to adopt telemedicine and virtual patient monitoring. Telemedicine not only makes healthcare more accessible and cost-effective but also increases patient engagement. It is especially beneficial for injured, immunocompromised, or patients located in remote areas who can now reach out to doctors virtually through a secure video connection. Telemedicine solutions have enabled quick diagnosis, real-time patient insights, and in some cases treatment without even paying a visit to the doctor. It is going to be a game-changer in the healthcare industry by bringing healthcare directly to the patient’s doorstep tailored to meet their individualized needs.
Digital Prescriptions & Digital Health records
Digital Prescription is one innovation that is transforming the healthcare landscape. e-Rx is a digital version of a paper prescription created by healthcare practitioners using digital means/software. Also, digital Prescriptions help in creating digital health records of patients which in turn improves patient outcomes as this reduces the chances of human error to interpreting wrong medicines, e-Rx proves to be beneficial for patients as well as doctors. The year 2022 is expected to witness a steep surge in the use of electronic prescriptions with the idea of reduced paperwork and longevity in storage.
As the healthcare sector continues to evolve, it leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation, Telemedicine, e-Rx, and cloud computing. With the integration of these new-age technologies, health-tech organizations are redrawing the healthcare landscape. Helmed by these emerging trends and accelerated digital transformation, doctors and practitioners are expected to pave their way to better care management and improved patient outcomes.
(The author is Co-founder Navia Life Care. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)