IBEF data suggests that India’s healthcare market is likely to grow to USD 372 billion by 2022.
Vivek Tiwari, Founder & CEO-Medikabazaar
Today, businesses across industries are digitizing their operations at a rapid pace, and the Healthcare sector is no exception to this. The rise of emerging technologies has further given healthcare providers the ability to augment the roles of human teams by making tools and equipment more efficient and, as a result, streamline processes and functions. The implementation of these technologies has made for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment, as well as better organization of patient records, and internal operations amongst others.
According to IBEF data, India’s healthcare market is likely to grow to USD 372 billion by 2022 as a result of rising incomes, increased health-awareness, lifestyle diseases and greater access to insurance. While these factors are a good sign for the industry’s growth and expansion, significant revamping is necessary in order to get there, and the strategic use of technology is a major driver at play. Let us look at some of the ways in which technology is penetrating the healthcare landscape.
Enhancing allied healthcare processes:
Like several industrial enterprises are shifting to ‘smart factories’ thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), the healthcare sector now has access to ‘smart ambulances’, as well. Smart ambulances are equipped with the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) sensors, which enable them to send information on the vital signs of the patient to the doctor/hospital so that proactive measures can be taken in preparation for their arrival.
Technology is also transforming tools that are used to carry out basic tests and procedures and the administration of prescribed medicines to patients. Another area that is being enhanced with new technology is the early detection and diagnosis of major illnesses. For example, for breast cancer screening, specialists have developed devices like Braster Pro backed by AI to provide a screening process that is radiation-free, painless and provides accurate results almost instantly. This is achieved as the device uses thermographic imaging and a specially formulated liquid-crystal emulsion within a matrix, allowing it to register and record information about areas of the breast with higher temperatures. With the AI algorithms, the device can detect lesions and even slight irregularities in the breast structure within minutes, thus enabling doctors to take proactive measures as required. The fact that it is radiation and pain-free also makes it safe to screen younger women and girls.
Such technologies are contributing to better standards of medical care and the well-being of patients, as well as greater efficiency for hospitals and other medical establishments in terms of diagnosis, treatment and associated costs.
Optimizing patient engagement and supply-chain operations:
Healthcare providers are also increasingly making use of technologies such as AI to carry out efficient diagnosis and treatments of patients. For example, AI tools enable doctors to schedule appointments and give adequate attention to patients based on the severity of each case. This is facilitated through their accurate preliminary diagnosis aided by complex algorithms in the tools. They are also being implemented for use in facility operations.
There are a number of AI and ML-based tools on the rise which are helping healthcare establishments to track and monitor their stock-keeping units. This enables them to accurately predict and maintain the right amount of supplies at any given point of time, thus keeping them better equipped, minimizing wastage and allowing for the better allocation of finances for the same.
The above-mentioned technologies are only a handful of those that are bringing revolutionary changes to healthcare processes and procedures across the board. In addition to this, their effective implementation will also help to address the challenges of costs and accessibility for a wider number of people. In the long run, a combination of these factors will help to boost the capacity of India’s healthcare industry for the sustained delivery of high-quality products and services across the country.
Vivek Tiwari is Founder & CEO-Medikabazaar, a Mumbai-based company that aims to bridge the gap between healthcare providers and product suppliers to make quality healthcare products more accessible. Views expressed in the column are the author’s own.