To strengthen its digital healthcare platform, the Tamil Nadu government is looking at the Australian model of solutions by which the land Down Under has managed to cover 90% of its population under a digital record system. The state plans to forge partnerships with Australia’s Digital Health Agency on various aspects pertaining to the digitisation of the healthcare records.
While Tamil Nadu has a robust healthcare service, the government feels that the state’s healthcare is more of department-centric and cost -specific. According to the government, there is a need to shift to beneficiary-centric approach for which data is important. Given the realisation that due to lack of data there is a limitation to analyse the efficiency and utilisation of the services and hence plans to digitise the entire healthcare platform of the state.
The state government representatives have recently met a high-level Australian Digital Health delegates who are currently in India as a part of the Australia – India Business Exchange 2022 Business Mission to discuss about the possible partnership.
The delegation, organised by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, of the Australian government, met with the Tamil Nadu government and local healthcare industry representatives.
Speaking on the sidelines, Tamil Nadu finance minister Palanivel Thiagarajan, said the state has been at the forefront of healthcare with 3-4 doctors for every 1,000 people, which is 3-4 times the national average and better than the US ratio. “But the problem is we are department-centric and cost-specific, and we need to shift to beneficiary centric approach for data is important.”
The state’s National Health Mission is on the mission to develop an outcome-based approach to bring more clarity on the money spent on healthcare.
He said: “The finance mnistry takes active role in ensuring the efficiency with which the people’s money is spent. But today we don’t even collect data, we don’t how many show up for work or which machine is functioning and how many patients are benefiting. Since there is no data, there can’t be analysis as well,” the minister said adding that nearly 10-15 % of the state’s budget is towards health care.
Recalling his recent visit to Australia, the minister said he was impressed with remote medicine and remote consultations during the pandemic and the data transmission processes on vaccination statistics in Australia.
“I think we can learn a lot. There is natural fit. The people are easy to work with, there is cultural fit and lot of potential here to improve efficiency. We look forward to meaningful progress,” Thiagarajan said.
Abdul Ekram, trade and investment commissioner, Australian Trade and Investment Commission, said that the Australian MedTech solutions are significantly contributing to Indian healthcare ecosystem. Australian scalable digital solutions have the potential to be integrated into Tamil Nadu’s already existing digital health value chain.
Holger Kauffman, chief technology officer, Australian Digital Health Agency showcased how Australia managed to cover 90 % of its population under the My Health digital record system. Around 23.3 million are covered under the system with about four billion documents being processed.
Shilpa Prabhakar Satish, director, National Health Mission in her presentation showcased various digital initiatives taken up by Tamil Nadu and said efforts were being made to implement in-patient management systems at all health institutions across the state. She pointed out that after the Population Health Registry was developed, it would be integrated with the Health Management Information System.