Cloud Brightens Indian Healthcare


Cloud computing helps to streamline storage and easy accessibility of patient data, says Dr Neeraj Raj

Cloud technology is here to stay and play a vital role, particularly in the healthcare sector as it needs constant upgradation informs Dr Neeraj Raj, Director, MediSysEdutech in conversation with Prathiba Raju of Elets News Network (ENN)

Give us an insight into the prospects of cloud computing in Indian healthcare?

Cloud computing has proven to be a tremendous innovation in the digital scenario, changing the way IT solutions are delivered and put to use by end users. It plays a key role in increasing the efficiency and functioning of the healthcare industry for it is characterised by high volumes of patient and informative data. At MediSys, we focus on delivering quality healthcare education to current and future medical professionals using ICT based teaching and learning aids. The development of cloud storage has helped us decrease our IT spending, enabled information to be accessible from anywhere and helped increase efficiency.

Cloud computing in India is here to stay and plays a vital role in helping large and small scale industries grow, generating employment and boosting up the IT services in India.

Where does cloud computing fit in healthcare?

The healthcare industry is in an upward growth momentum, which requires constant innovation. The sector is now highly motivated, automated and dependent upon technology to run. Cloud computing is drastically helping streamline storage and easy accessibility of patient data, helping take medical education online making it more convenient and accessible, solving the problem of duplication of records and bridging the vast divide between the delivery of healthcare services in rural and urban areas.

However, the adoption of cloud-based services in day-to-day healthcare management has been slow and restricted due to several reasons. Besides confidentiality of patient information and compliance issues, India suffers from paper medical records, duplicate tests, filmbased radiological images, handwritten notes, fragmented IT systems, and silos of information. In addition to this, most healthcare providers use outdated legacy systems and have staff who are not geared for the adoption of a comprehensive cloud strategy. Laws and regulations too have not been updated, which become a hindrance in this regard.

Among Asia-Pacific region markets India seems to be more attractive markets in IT healthcare. Your comments.

IT healthcare development in the last 10 years has not seen as much growth in India as was expected. It is still in the nascent stage. The Western market has seen unprecedented growth in this regard owing the fact that the insurance sector there works hand in hand with the hospital’s IT sector. There is an immense potential for its growth in India and introducing a unique healthcare Id number for all individuals can further accelerate this.

Why many healthcare ventures, particularly start-ups and business are shifting to cloud, mobile technologies?

Healthcare start-ups have tremendous potential in India owing to the various challenges the sector faces regarding the availability and access of quality medical care, skewed doctor – patient ratio, and the shortage of hospital beds. Mobile and web-based technologies have now made it easier for patients to access everyday healthcare services from the comfort of their homes. In the personal healthcare space, cloudbased mobile technologies have seen a growth owing to the development of mobile and wearable devices as ways of tracking health problems especially the chronic ones. There has new trend of opting for home health services over just a hospital based approach.

ICT based medical education offerings like those provided by Medisys, are helping medical students enhance their skill sets, secure knowledge about diverse subjects across specialties from the comfort of their homes and helping in improving the medical examination pass ratio in the country. Medisys through its services aims at reducing the problem of the skewed doctorpatient ratio in the country and lack of qualified medical professionals in both rural and urban areas.

What according to you should be done to radically change the healthcare service delivery with ICT intervention? Is your company doing something in this regard?

The aim of ICT for Health will improve significantly the quality, access and efficacy of healthcare for all citizens. Every nation is seeking to improve the quality of its health care and at the same time to control escalating costs and ICT helps to achieve this.

There is an immense potential for the growth of IT healthcare in India and introducing a unique healthcare ID number for all individuals can further accelerate this

There are two elements in healthcare service delivery which are set to change the way ICT is used – first being the shift to home personalised services and secondly the availability of a large number of tools to connect patients to their doctors.

We at Medisys are addressing the fundamental problems of the skewed doctor patient ratio in the country, inaccessibility of quality medical care in rural areas, and the lack of specialist doctors. Through our ICT based learning aids, we empower general practitioners to become mini specialists, help enhance the knowledge and confidence level of doctors in rural areas through case-based courses and help aid medical students pass the required examination by providing them vast learning material across specialties and topics.

The courses built by Medisys for the Indian Medical Association have become the first ICT-based offerings (in their componentized format) to qualify for CME credits from the Medical Council in India. The objective of these courses is to enhance the knowledge, selfconfidence, and impact that a GP can make in public healthcare.

How useful would be cloud computing in rural healthcare?

Cloud infrastructure can help bridge the rural-urban divide in terms of accessibility of quality healthcare services. A few ways in which this is possible include:

• Patients from Tier II and III cities can consult doctors based in metro cities through Audio/video/web conferencing

• Given that specialty hospitals are scarce in smaller cities, technology can be used to locate the nearest hospitals, specialists in a region

• Facilitating online consultation and prescription services reducing the costs incurred by the patient in traveling to the closest metro cities drastically

• CME courses offered by e-medical universities like Medisys can be used by doctors in rural areas to enhance their skill-set, update their information and understanding of various disease cases across specialties

• UG-Med courses offered by Medisys can be used by medical students in rural areas to access a vast database of knowledge, cases and learning material without having to travel to metro cities as aids to pass their qualifying examination

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