With Information Technology playing a crucial role in the evolution of industries across the spectrum, healthcare sector has also embraced it whole heartedly “ to its own advantage and to the advantage of healthcare seekers at large. Increasing penetration of IT in healthcare service delivery has yielded positive outcomes in terms of reduced costs, enhanced efficiency, interoperability of existing fragmented hospital systems and increased health awareness among the masses.
Although technology in the healthcare outlets has been there since early 90s, hospitals then would have just a small department for doing mundane things, such as billing and printing of medical reports, patient administration, purchases, finance, inventory management, etc. However, it was during those very days that the initial versions of todays advanced Hospital Information System (HIS) were born.
Towards the end of year 2000, major hospitals had HIS system to manage patient and employee data, material, lab and radiology, revenue and expenses, accounting, billing, etc. Later, within four to five years, Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Picture Archival & Communication System (PACS) were the two major developments that took place. EHR revolutionised the paperless patient records by automating them, while PACS helped patients and doctors by storing X-Ray, CT-scan, MRI images digitally.
By 2010, IT emerged as the core infrastructure for healthcare delivery, and over the past a few years, fast changing medical technology and availability of various technological diagnostic and therapeutic devices have completely revolutionised the way healthcare is delivered.
Increased adoption of telemedicine, HIS, electronic health records, mHealth and web-based services are going to only expand the digital patient data, necessitating deployment of robust IT infrastructure in the Indian healthcare organisations. In this backdrop, it is no surprise that Indias health-tech market is predicted to touch US$196 billion-mark by 2018. The figure looks all the more realistic in view of the Governments thrust on Healthcare for All by 2020.
This issue of eHealth presents a complete overview of the rapidly increasing convergence of IT and healthcare. Players in the domain speak on how this convergence can be translated into a huge opportunity for providers to improve the patient experience and operate more efficiently through augmented association and information sharing among themselves.
Besides, the February issue of the magazine also carries a section dedicated to profiles of various hospitals, with a focus on IT implementation there. A number of CIOs speak about the role technology is playing in their respective healthcare outlets.
In our mission to showcase the latest and the best in the health-tech sector, we look forward to your continued support and guidance.