Technology on the brink of revolutionizing Indian healthcare

Author: ETHealthworld l December 02, 2019 l Image Credits: Forbes India
The healthcare industry, being one of the most important and complex industries, is undergoing rapid transformation with the announcement of new government policies, competencies, and procedures. The prime focus in the last three decades has been on improving healthcare delivery, provide quality treatment, better disease management, with cutting-edge technological solutions.
Healthcare in India
Remarkable progress is seen across health indicators in India with the most important of all being the life expectancy. As per India United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the average life expectancy of Indians is expected to improve by 5.4 years — from 68.8 years in 2015–20 to 74.2 years in 2045–50. The Indian healthcare industry is also pegged to grow at a CAGR of 22.87% during 2015–20 and reach USD 280 billion by 2020. Moreover, conventional healthcare delivery in India requires an additional USD 245 billion by the year 2034, which can be reduced by USD 90 billion with practical usage of technology and preventive care.
Therefore, it puts massive pressure on the healthcare systems, and its an indispensable requirement to bring about disruptive changes and technological innovations. We need to rethink and redesign processes by utilizing new technology-enabled capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and automation.
The government focus on healthcare services
The Indian government has also realized the need of the hour. It continues to focus on improving healthcare facilities with the launch of Ayushman Bharat, National Health Protection Mission in August 2018 and other schemes like "Mission Indradhanush" to improve immunization coverage in the country, reflecting the focus on putting the patient first in the healthcare ecosystem. With such initiatives and a renewed focus on patients, Indian healthcare providers have a challenge & opportunity at hand to optimize technology to their benefit and maximize their business potential. Hence, it is essential that they focus on improving operations, improve the quality of care, fraud, waste, and overall medical costs.
Technology transform the healthcare industry - The Digital Patient
The healthcare systems in the last two decades in India have made consistent progress. The patient experience is at the center of service delivery leading to an overhaul of traditional technology systems driving the industry toward a complete digital transformation. By branching out into new digital platforms - whether it's a bespoke app or a social media page - to grant security to patients and create a digital journey that is safe, secure, high quality, and reflects patient and clinician needs. As part of this, it is quintessential on healthcare providers part to assess their whole ecosystem – precisely how data, technology, and communication models are connected and applied – to provide a consistent patient experience across channels.
Adapting to Innovation - Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing and IoT
The industry is capitalizing on technology, empowering patients to manage their healthcare at the touch of a click. Transitioning from paper to digital, improving patient interaction, the use of Artificial Intelligence, and IoT are likely to open doors for healthcare providers and patients to benefit from an integrated service, offering a customized experience and allowing people to be more accountable and create awareness about their health.
With technologies like AI, healthcare experts can automate their basic medical tasks, allowing them to focus on other complicated asks of their job such as delicate cases and thus working as a supporting tool that gives a piece of advice to patients, provide digital consultation, essential health monitoring among others.
3D printing is one such technology that could overhaul healthcare, in which organs and devices have a pertinent role to play. Recent advancements within 3D printing have helped in making products that are stronger and safer, leading to lowered medical costs & better outcomes.
The Internet of Things (IoT) & advanced analytics has undoubtedly transformed the healthcare industry by redefining the way the patient and healthcare providers interact. IoT helps patients, clinicians, families, hospitals, and medical insurance companies with distinct applications. Digital patient services such as workflow automation, digitized processes, and omnichannel communications let a healthcare service provider alleviate pain points across the patient experience. With such procedures in place to handle patent communications and medical records, it is easier to empower the staff and create an experience that is hassle-free for patients.
Data security in modern healthcare
80% of healthcare experts in India have exchanged patient data with other professionals inside their healthcare facility. Data collected for the betterment of patients and used to develop new medical treatments and processes can be used in a malicious manner such as fraud, identity theft, theft of research and development, disrupting patient care. Since patient data is susceptible, it is paramount for healthcare providers to have a robust and reliable information security service in place. They should not only react and protect the healthcare data but also foresee probable risks that might arise in the future and prevent them from occurring. Summing up, by providing patients with digital tools, it establishes a new, healthier, and more affordable relationship between them and the healthcare service providers. Healthcare providers must understand the importance of technology as a real disruptor for the sector and take concrete steps to evolve with the changing healthcare ecosystem of the future.
By Ritesh Gandotra, the Director at Xerox Business Services, Xerox India.