August 2015

Technological Advancement in Healthcare

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Right mix of various technologies like IoT, Mhealth can boost telemedicine to the next level by ensuring better care to our rural population, says G Radhakrishnan Pillai, CIO, SRL Diagnostics


G Radhakrishnan Pillai
CIO, SRL Diagnostics

In today’s world, technology plays an important role in every industry as well as in our personal lives. Even though healthcare is slow in adopting information technology, IT has played a crucial role in healthcare in transforming the way healthcare services have been delivered.

Information technology is increasingly playing a role in almost all process, from patient registration to billing, from diagnostics tests to self-care tools, thereby becoming the backbone of the business. Mobile technology has changed the landscape in healthcare. Patient can use smartphone for an appointment with doctor or undergo full consultation in the privacy of their own homes, doctor can prescribe medicines or diagnostics tests using their mobiledevice, which is connected to their Hospital Information System and partner lab/pharmacy. Patient need not to visit pharmacy or diagnostics centres to buy medicine or book the test which will get delivered or serviced based on the prescription generated by the doctor. Patient has the option to further get reminders for administering right medicine dose at the right time. Test results are directly sent to the patient’s smartphone and patients can also store the electronic medical records (EMR) for future references.

Instant messaging is also one such tool that can be used for faster internal communication, especially in healthcare, where a lot of communication/collaboration happens between different stake holders to provide better care to patients.

Mhealth and WiFi technologies are also used in healthcare to a great extent and initially it was used to avoid cords and messy cabling but now mhealth is used as a collaborative and participative tool to engage service provider and customer for better patient care by ensuring the patient is an active player in his/her treatment.

I know one case study where WiFi was used early on in one of the psychiatric care hospitals abroad not to avoid messy cabling but to avoid psychiatric patient using cables to harm himself or other patients, thereby maximising patient care. So I believe that technology can be used innovatively to give maximum service.

Social collaboration tools, IoT (Internet of Things) and mhealth together is going to revolutionise healthcare by dramatically lowering costs and improve health by increasing the availability and quality of care. Social collaboration tool will be used as network layer to connect customer/ patient with service providers (doctor/ hospital/diagnostics labs etc.).

Patients will have wearable device and depending on the need of the customer/patient coupled with mhealth, the service providers can monitor the health of patient to provide holistic care at all times.

Hospitalised patients require close attention and can be constantly monitored using IoT-driven, non- invasive monitoring. This enables to collect comprehensive information, to analyse and store the information and then send the analysed data wirelessly to the care provider’s mobile device.

It replaces the process of having a health professional come by at regular intervals to check the patient’s vital signs, instead providing a continuous automated flow of information. In this way, it simultaneously improves the quality-of-care through constant attention and lowers the cost of care by eliminating the need for a healthcare provider to actively engage in data collection and analysis.

In my personal opinion right mix of various technologies like IoT, Mhealth can boost telemedicine to the next level by ensuring better care to our rural population.

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