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Transformation of India’s healthcare sector through Technology

With the government’s renewed focus to achieve universal healthcare through Ayushman Bharat, digitisation of health records and Mission Indradhanush, the healthcare system in the country will be largely defined by technological advancements and digitally enabled care

Ayushman Bharat, Digital Health, Indian healthcare sector, health news, health updates,
The Indian healthcare sector has grown dramatically in the last two years, particularly during the COVID pandemic. (Image Credit: Pixabay)

By Dr. Ankit Gupta

Over the past few decades, India has made remarkable strides in health parameters like immunisation, mortality rates, life expectancy and others. It has successfully eradicated numerous diseases, including polio, smallpox and guinea worm disease. On top of that, the country has also emerged as the largest provider of generics globally.

As businesses explore innovative ways to provide care and get better disease management insights, the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred the adoption of digital technologies in the healthcare sector. Today, emerging technologies are helping to develop novel, better treatments while lowering costs. Although certain technologies have yet to be completely explored, they have resulted in a major shift in the sector.. Here’s a look at some of the key strategies that can aid India to develop a strong, robust healthcare system for the future.

Digital Health

With the government’s renewed focus to achieve universal healthcare through Ayushman Bharat, digitisation of health records and Mission Indradhanush, the healthcare system in the country will be largely defined by technological advancements and digitally enabled care. Therefore, it becomes imperative for healthcare providers to embark on a digital journey by digitising medical records, automating manual processes, leveraging data analytics and implementing ML/AI/IOMT to enhance personalised care and patient experiences. Also, robotic process automation (RPA) will gain prominence by automating rule-based tasks and tasks that need cognitive abilities. To stay successful, engaged, relevant and sustainable, healthcare providers would need to heavily invest in digital technologies.

Besides investing in the adoption of digital technologies, healthcare providers will also need to augment their organisation’s digital literacy to create a tech-enabled workforce. With a digitally skilled workforce, healthcare providers will be more competitive and productive in the coming times. Leadership teams will be needed to create a comprehensive digital strategy and develop the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) to establish digitally-enabled healthcare organisations.
Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

The Indian healthcare sector has grown dramatically in the last two years, particularly during the COVID pandemic. The active participation of the government, as well as advancements in technology and the digitization of healthcare services, have enabled this development. In the Indian healthcare sector, a number of trends have emerged that are employing cutting-edge technology to simplify and improve the patient experience.

Looking at the future, it is quite evident that the healthcare system of the country will be under pressure to enhance the efficiency of care and quality and search for new ways to use systems, data and distributed provider networks focused more on disease prevention and wellness. As a result, healthcare systems will require to be more integrated, while using technology to enhance care and delivery.

PPP models can serve as the next evolution improving access to care as well as the quality of care. By partnering with the private sector, the government can gain access to innovative and flexible practices—like the inception of comprehensive IT systems and human resource management practices—allowing the government to improve service delivery and expand capacity more efficiently. The government also has access to financing sources and is able to share risks with the private sector. In a PPP model, the management expertise and experience of the private sector in developing and running successful organizations can prove crucial in revamping existing medical facilities to come up with an efficient healthcare system.

Understanding Smart Consumer Behaviour and Needs

Over the last decade, the country has witnessed a rapid transformation in the consumption pattern fuelled by the growth of the internet, mobile connectivity, social media and technological developments. The healthcare industry is not untouched by the new trends. Amidst growing awareness of health-related needs and issues, patients’ participation will gradually transform from ‘Passive’ to ’Active’. There will be a paradigm shift to patient-driven healthcare delivery with patients playing an active role in decision-making related to their health management, treatment and outcomes. Providers will need to relook at patients as smart consumers and accordingly reconfigure their services and business models. Simply responding to episodic healthcare even will become obsolete and providers have to go the extra mile to retain and engage patients as customers, focussing on comprehensive care.

Final Words

Besides what has been discussed so far, patient safety in healthcare delivery requires greater attention. Measuring and monitoring medical errors and sentinel events need to become the culture among healthcare organisations. Over the coming years, the healthcare system in India will be shaped by different forces. These key changes will force healthcare providers to provide better health outcomes all the while managing changing patient behaviour.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the healthcare field, it will aid in research and development, as well as the finding of remedies for diseases like Covid and lifestyle disorders like cancer and diabetes.

(The author is the Managing Director, The Park and Signature Group of Hospitals. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)

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