First day of FE Digital Health Conclave 2021: Digital healthcare is the way forward to provide patient centric solutions

The FE Digital Health Conclave 2021 brought together thought leaders, key opinion leaders, industry stalwarts, innovators and officials from the government agencies to deliberate upon the emerging digital landscape.

FE Digital Health Conclave 2021, digital healthcare, Hospital Management Information System, HMIS, Dr R S Sharma, NHA, Union Health Ministry
NDHM will offer applications, technologies and platforms which are unique, scalable and frugal, robust and interoperable based on standards. These building blocks will enable the delivery of health services effectively.

Digitisation of healthcare has become the need of the hour and connected healthcare is the way forward to provide patient centric solutions for comprehensive and positive health outcomes, said Satyendar Jain, Minister of Health, Government of Delhi while delivering his Guest of Honour address on the occasion of FE Digital Health Conclave 2021 which started today and will conclude on December 10, 2021.

He further informed that in order to help all the people get accessible healthcare, Delhi Government has integrated all hospitals, polyclinics, mohalla clinics, laboratories and pharmacies through Hospital Management Information System (HMIS). This will enable healthcare providers to integrate databases of patients for seamless healthcare delivery. Besides this, the Minister also informed that all the citizens of Delhi will be provided health cards by 2022 to empower them to make informed health decisions based on their health data stored digitally.

“This will also enable them to take ownership of their health data based on data privacy. The health data  can only be shared with the healthcare providers and doctors based on patient consent,” Satyendar Jain concluded.

The FE Digital Health Conclave 2021 brought together thought leaders, key opinion leaders, industry stalwarts, innovators and officials from the government agencies to deliberate upon the emerging landscape.

While delivering his inaugural address, Dr R S Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority (NHA), Union Health Ministry said, “Both private and public healthcare providers and patients will have to leverage the potential of National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) with a sense of ownership to get accessible, quality and affordable healthcare.

NDHM was rolled out to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. There are 3 layers of digital India which comprises digital infrastructure, software and services on demand and citizen empowerment.

Dr Sharma further added that digital healthcare is very relevant and empowering today as we have much better digital connectivity today as compared to 8 years ago. Besides this, India alone has 1.8 billion mobile connections, 700 million internet connections and 600 million smartphones.

India has the cheapest data rate in the world. Almost every village has 4 G connectivity in the country. India has created a digital identity called Aadhar with 1.3 billion people registered under Aadhar. These digital servers have been rolled out on top of Aadhar which includes digital authentication services. More than 67 billion digital authentications have been done in the last 7 to 8 years ever since authentication services came into existence. Similarly, electronic KYC has been used to open bank accounts to get mobile connections and other services.

Today, 82% of adult Indians have bank accounts, wallets and other instruments through which they can do financial transactions. Payment space has also seen massive scale up with UPI clocking 4 billion transactions per month which is hassle free, instantaneous with no cost kind of transaction.

“Similarly, the transition to digital health will be citizen centric, inclusive, interoperable, affordable, accessible, accountable and discoverability of quality of healthcare, health professionals and health facilities will therefore take place in a big way,” Dr Sharma explained.

NDHM will offer applications, technologies and platforms which are unique, scalable and frugal, robust and interoperable based on standards. These building blocks will enable the delivery of health services effectively, he added.

“We are creating a number of registries which will be vetted and will have a verified list of doctors, ayurvedic practitioners, health professionals, paramedics, nurses, Ayush Vaidyas and other Indian systems of medicine. Health facility registry will form the list of hospitals, aarogya shalas and other traditional systems of medicine health facilities,” Dr Sharma informed.

“Personal health records of the people will be created with the help of applications, which can be stored and shared with the doctor. Digital video consultations will be enabled by seamless digital transactions, sharing of digital records and connectivity systems. By leveraging all these, we can increase access to healthcare remotely in a cost effective manner. Another good example of digital health is in the form of the CoWin platform which has clocked 1.16 billion vaccination and every vaccination is accounted for. There is no fudging of results. We have created these inter-operable platforms and softwares which are delivering services in various areas,” Dr Sharma concluded.

The first day covered relevant topics under the theme – ‘From Frugal Healing to Value-Based Care’.

While speaking on the panel discussion on Digital Healthcare Acceleration in the Post Covid Era, Bhaskar Katamneni, Commissioner, Health and MD, National Health Mission, Department Of Health & Family Welfare, Government Of Andhra Pradesh, informed, “Under the national action plan on communicable diseases, every citizen health and demographic parameters in the state have been collected and clubbed to create digital ID with the consent of the citizen. Since digital interventions have become very important, the total 5.5 crore population of the state will have digital health ids in the coming six months. Medical professionals and hospitals will also be registered in the form of a health professional registry as part of the digital health mission. There are over 40,000 digital id created per day and we intend to scale it up to 5 to 6 lakh per day.”

In house hospital management systems are already working in all hospitals by seeding digital id health data. This will enable a seamless digital platform for all patients to access and share records on diagnostic tests, prescription and medicines received on online mode.”

During the panel discussion, Niraj Kumar Bansod, Director of Directorate Health Services, Department Of Health & Family Welfare, Government Of Chhattisgarh, “Chhatisgarh is making progress in digital healthcare. The state is on the course of adopting NDHM by registration of healthcare professionals and hospitals and making digital health IDs. We have developed monitoring systems to monitor patients and also home isolation patients through telemedicine. We have built in-house systems where ANMs have been empowered to connect and deliver healthcare to remote areas with the help of mobile applications.”

Swati Rangachari, Vice President & Country Leader, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, UnitedHealth Group, said, “It is a great learning experience to witness the seamlessness in terms of operationalization of Ayushman Bharat National Digital Mission in which registries are managed at the cloud level which has been able to solve the issue of scalability so that any technological modality and tool can plug into the system. This framework is well established with well- articulated and operationalizing of registries and standards are uniform and has the flexibility of bringing in more change.”

Ameera Shah, Managing Director, Metropolis Healthcare Limited said, “Digital health was at a nascent stage and Covid-19 pushed it forward. There has been a transformational leap in the way healthcare potentially operates from the pre-covid era to post covid era. While on one hand you have digital healthcare companies trying to aggregate demand while on the supply side things are highly fragmented. While we know that 70 % of decisions are based on diagnostics, there are an estimated 1.50 lakhs labs in the country with no regulatory framework in place. Since there is no registration methodology one is given to understand that there is no governance framework within the country which could put minimum standards for effective regulation of labs. This has led to proliferation and mushrooming of labs which has increased accessibility but has reduced quality.”

“In the digital health era, the government will have to put up a regulatory framework as to who is going to operate. The challenge is also to how do we integrate the back end systems of unorganized players or labs which are operating without computers. There is an urgent need to integrate health records. We require modalities for that to happen to be able to create patient history in the form of health IDs to allow records to be traced,” Ameera added.

While speaking on the panel discussion on ‘Hybrid Care For A Healthy Future’, Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD & CEO, Fortis Healthcare Ltd said, “Pandemic forced us to accelerate the process of telemedicine and hybrid care. With the Covid-19 wave now receding, people have now started to come out for physical consultations but there are areas like mental health and primary care which have completely moved to virtual platforms which will keep growing. This will further improve chronic disease and care management and improve outcomes.

While moderating the session, Dr Rana Mehta, Partner & Leader Healthcare, PwC Services LLP said, “Covid -19 has made us realize the need for universal healthcare. There is a political consensus globally that there needs to be a universal healthcare which is affordable and accessible through digital interventions.

Dr Nandakumar Jairam, Independent Healthcare Advisor & Consultant, MEMG said, “Healthcare needs are today directed towards management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their complications. Hospitals are oriented towards curative aspects but that needs to be changed. Preventive care and wellness rests with the patient himself reason being healthcare cost and non-availability of specialized doctors and technology. Today, with the help of apps one can diagnose blood sugar and blood pressure and enable it to change and correct by the knowledge one possesses through medication and lifestyle modifications in an effective way.”

“Telemedicine has allowed remote care and procedures can be done with the specialist doctors sitting in remote locations. Besides this, use of artificial intelligence has ensured healthcare reaches a better level of sophistication,” Dr Jairam added.

Dr Avadhut Parab,Global CIO, Wockhardt Ltd said , “Primary healthcare has become accessible to the needy and poor through digital interventions. Even in areas like clinical trials, there is less intervention in terms of human repetitive reviews due to use of technological tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI). Simulations are taking less time due to usage of smart and intelligent devices. There is a trend of complementing technology with processes which until now were mostly skilled human dependent.”

Sharing his views on the panel discussion, Kunal Kishore Dhawan, Co-Founder, Navia said, “Based on the experiences over the last 18 months of the pandemic, doctors who were earlier reluctant on the digital technology shift have realized how best adoption of technologies can help them enhance efficiencies in terms of interacting with the patients for better health outcomes.”

“We at Navia have experienced how building an easy to use product that takes into account Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and pref-filled clinical protocols became critical in terms of providing the right kind of platforms for doctors to use,” he further added.

While speaking on the panel discussion, Creating Value Based Care Through Big Data, Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, CIO, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise, “Translating big data can bring in actionable insights at the point of care. That is the power of big data. We have to be systematic in terms of how we can use it and what we are trying to derive and what we can do to ensure that data we are training this algorithm for is accurate. So, training the data and making it effective is the way forward.”

“Consuming big data at all aspects of healthcare delivery is to ensure that insights are embedded in the work process. Big data will, therefore, cover all aspects of healthcare delivery which will not only include treatment or clinical care but also supply chain, human capital management, revenue cycle and service management as well,” Sivaramakrishnan added.

During the discussion, Mitali Biswas, CIO,CK Birla Hospital said, “Healthcare has been far behind in terms of digital adoption. We have now started capturing data and have realized its potential towards utilizing it for operational efficiency, clinical excellence and patient health outcomes.”

As a part of the discussion, Shuvankar P., Senior Director, Information Technology & Dy.CIO, Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt. Ltd spoke on the need for structured data and aligning prices with health outcomes to deliver value based care

While speaking on panel discussion on the Role Of Pharma In Creating Patient Centric Healthcare Ecosystem, Vibhuti Gupta, Head – Strategy, Commercial Excellence & Learning, Cipla India Business said, “Covid -19 made pharma companies to revisit their business models to draw more patient engagement and make it more patient centric rather than product centric.”

Sheetal Ranganathan,Chief Strategy Office, Roche Pharma India said, “To stay relevant, there is a need for pharma companies towards digital customer engagement and co creation of solutions along with patients through digital interventions.”

While Phanimitra B S, Head Digital Transformation- India & Emerging Markets, Dr. Reddy’s emphasized the need for patient centric design to effectively utilize data for better health outcomes, Joy Chakraborty, COO, P.D.Hinduja, Hospital & MedicalResearch Centre shared how digital interventions helped deliver seamless healthcare services through integration of patients records alongwith streamlining the online billing and discharge system in the hospital.

During the Conclave, Vikalp Sahni, Founder & CEO, spoke about the future of digital healthcare through connected devices and Cindy Maike – VP Industry Solutions & Value Management –Cloudera delivered a talk on the data revolution in healthcare.

Potential participants for the conclave are central & state government decision makers, task force members, CEOs & CIOs, CTOs & procurement heads of hospitals, healthcare & pharma companies, medical directors from autonomous institutions (AIIMS, NIMHANS, PGIMER & Govt Medical Colleges, etc), corporates from health tech companies and health tech entrepreneurs.


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