'ICT' Key Element in Transforming Conventional Healthcare: Apollo CEO
January 2018

‘ICT’ Key Element in Transforming Conventional Healthcare

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Apollo Remote Health Care intends to create a cost-effective and accountable access to quality medical doctors for primary and expert consultation for empowering rural and semi-urban patients at a global level, says Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Remote Healthcare, in an interview with Elets News Network (ENN).

 

Vikram ThaplooTelecommunication and Information Technology are playing a pivotal role in transforming India. What expansion do you see in this regard as far as health services are concerned?

The growth trend in the field of Telecommunication & IT Sector is seen to be parallelly being reflected in the Telemedicine Sector. It is quite evident that the acceptance of people towards telecommunication as a mode of interaction with healthcare providers is increasing and stabilising at a greater pace in the last few years as compared to the last decade. The amalgamation of this growing acceptance along with the continuous innovation in the Healthcare IT Sector is resulting in the development of a complete standalone Health Care Service Delivery System that can even collaborate seamlessly with any other healthcare verticals.

Access to healthcare has now become easier and most cost-effective than ever and credit can be duly given to the Telemedicine sector. Even doctors are now in more supportive stance to telemedicine, as they can deliver their valued services from anywhere and anytime.

The age we are living in is seeing a lot of advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML), and healthcare system is no more a stranger to this field. Development of highly advanced Disease Progression Algorithms, Clinical Decision Support Systems etc., is letting us further enhance the scope of Telemedicine by standardising the diagnostic capabilities of every doctor and also standardising the modes of intervention.

A steady inclination towards digitalisation of healthcare data along with development of advanced data analysis tools would help us understand the prime areas of focus for further strengthening of healthcare services and would help us crystallising our vision for telemedicine

What is the significance of telemedicine and distant medical facilities in India. How will it help in overcoming the challenges in the rural areas?

Through Telemedicine the major concerns with India’s healthcare system like low doctor-patient ratio, lack of strengthened primary healthcare services can directly be addressed.

Telemedicine is playing a significant role in enhancing the scope of services in the remote locations in India with minimal medical facilities. Technology is significantly blurring the lines between various levels of healthcare service delivery. Sub-centres, rural primary health centres that usually offer paramedic services are now able to access advanced medical services like specialist consultations, diagnostic services, emergency and intensive care services, tertiary care services like mobile dialysis units etc without the presence of highly skilled healthcare service provider or high-end infrastructure at the remote location.

Remote monitoring capabilities of Telemedicine are helping us deliver international standard healthcare services at even the most remote locations. Therefore, Government of India has been portraying keen interest in establishing a centrally monitored healthcare service delivery system that leads to the development of various PPP models of healthcare service delivery. The Micro monitoring capabilities of Telemedicine offer utmost visibility on each and every process that in turn offers segmented analysis of the expenditure and areas of concern. It has also empowered the Government to plan and strategise the development of better healthcare systems.

Tell us about Apollo Remote Health Care, and its role in transforming medical services in alignment with Information and Communications Technology (ICT)?

With the vision of bringing healthcare of international standards within the reach of every individual, Dr Prathap C Reddy, founder of Apollo Hospitals Group, established Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (ATNF) in 1999 and later Apollo Telehealth Services (ATHS) in the year 2010.

Apollo today offers telemedicine services; general practitioners and specialists consultation with integrated diagnostics, EMR, and pharmacy to places where access to healthcare is difficult. Its systems (Infrastructure and clinical protocols), diagnostic devices, internet technology, software and the team of technical and clinical expertise bring together the service delivery to customers. Thus, the development of ICT acts as a critical element in transforming the conventional healthcare to digital healthcare.

I See, Apollo Remote healthcare playing a significant role in 2018 as our team is growing stronger each day in terms of subject expertise and innovation in building the bridges between Healthcare services and Information Technology. Combining the presence & expertise of Apollo Hospitals group in the healthcare and healthcare enabled services (Remote healthcare, Apollo Home Care, Apollo Wellness, Apollo Sugar, Apollo Munich etc) we will be able to develop comprehensive & state of the art health packages for diverse population groups including both urban & rural sectors.

Apprise us about Apollo’s Himachal Pradesh Telehealth Programme. Do you have any plan to work with the State Government in PPP Mode?

The HP- Apollo Telehealth services programme was first of its kind health care service delivery innovation in India. The programme provides much-needed emergency, speciality and super-speciality consultation services to locations at 14,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayan mountain range. Established initially as a proof of concept, technology-enabled service delivery model, it is now a time-tested programme. The programme has been rendering remote health care services, since 2 years and is being implemented by Apollo Telehealth Services (ATHS).

We already have taken the concept to scale and have operationalized PPP Projects with the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and working with few more states. Revolutionising Healthcare with Information Technology is our primary goal.

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