By Kunal Kishore Dhawan
India is a vast country – geographically and in terms of its burgeoning population. With over 1.3 billion people scattered across rural and urban areas, the country also witnesses a healthcare disparity in accessibility; with urban India abounding with cutting-edge medical technologies and rural India lacking even the most preliminary healthcare infrastructure and services. And while the Covid-19 pandemic brought to light these discrepancies, it also catalysed a technological transformation to resolve these challenges.
Today’s post-pandemic world increasingly relies on technology to solve its most pressing concerns. When it comes to healthcare, technology’s potential to spawn accessible, affordable, and effective healthcare systems is endless. The marvels of healthcare technology come with an increased focus on patient-centered design. This fruitful intersection between technology and patient-centredness is restructuring and remodeling healthcare accessibility in India.
Personal and portable healthcare
To facilitate personalized and accessible patient care across different geographies in India, a slew of new technologies such as medical wearables, screening devices, 3D printing, remote analyzers and mobile health apps have emerged. Treatments will likely become more targeted as healthcare devices and equipment become smaller and more portable. This in turn can help make healthcare services more mobile, accessible and precise. Subsequently, healthcare providers will be able to increase staff and process efficiency and improve patient outcomes. Additionally, patients will be able to quickly access the best treatments instead of losing essential time in commuting or trying multiple interventions.
Cloud-based electronic medical records
Although an evasive goal up until now, electronic medical records (EMRs) that collate information across the ecosystem are slowly foraying into healthcare systems. Powered by AI, EHRs can drive process efficacies and improve decision-making to enhance quality in healthcare. The availability of extensive, real-time patient data at the point of care can drastically improve patient outcomes. Additionally, this data can be integrated into their daily care and wellbeing to encourage active patient participation. Increasing internet penetration has paved the way for healthcare data to be stored securely on the cloud to be accessed whenever required by various stakeholders.
Digital healthcare interventions
Indian consumers have grown accustomed to accessing information anytime, anywhere thanks to smartphones and the Internet. Many expect the same in healthcare as well. An increasing number of healthcare seekers are moving online to book appointments, seek consultations and medications and monitor health issues. Access to real-time healthcare information and intervention improves patient experience and outcomes. Additionally, patients can leverage these digital apps and channels to access their medical data, test history, appointment schedules, etc. Furthermore, automation and AI allow healthcare providers to spend more time with patients instead of documenting medical records.
Hybrid care approach
Post the outbreak of the pandemic, the healthcare sector witnessed a paradigm shift from in-person consultation and treatment to digital care. Further the accelerated adoption of technology in healthcare transformed patient and doctor interaction. The new workflows and adaptation to technologies brought together the best of telehealth and in-person treatment. This hybrid care model relies on technology for patient consultation, monitoring, and appointment scheduling, if a patient’s condition can be managed remotely. For patients, the hybrid model delivers convenience and is less time-consuming while the doctors or healthcare providers perceive it as an opportunity to deliver proactive care at a minimized cost.
To create sustainable healthcare solutions, the imperative is to create an ideal doctor-patient interaction. A healthcare system equipped with high-quality care, reduced medical errors and increased affordability can be the levers of improved accessibility of healthcare delivery. At this time, the intervention of health tech partners can bridge the gap of insufficient clinical and administrative resources, enhancing patient experience, mitigating medical errors, and unburdening the doctors from mundane tasks. This can enable a patient-centric, doctor-led healthcare system in India.
(The author is Co-founder, Navia Life Care. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)