Tech-integrated Govt schemes showing way forward

Lakshman SharmaAs India has a strong presence in IT, the Initiative of ICT in healthcare has a vision to deliver better health in terms of access, quality, affordability, efficient monitoring of health, says Lakshman Sharma, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Asian Institute of Medical Sciences in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

How technology integrated schemes of Government have improvised Indian healthcare sector?

In Indian healthcare sector, the Government has taken many initiatives, EHR is one of the technology initiative from the gorvement. The use of ICT (Information and Comunitation Technology) is called E-health or M-Health. In India, mobile technologies have been penetrating at a high rate. As India has a strong presence in IT, the Initiative of ICT in healthcare has a vision to deliver better health in terms of Access, Quality, Affordability, Efficient monitoring of health.

The objective and scope of these initiatives are to make all medical facilities available all the time from anywhere in the world through web, mobile services, SMS or call center services. Broadly, the intent is to cover online medical consultation, online medical records, online medicine supply management and exchange for patient information.

By providing electronic health records to every citizen of the country, the Government of India intends to introduce a uniform system for maintenance of Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records (EMR / EHR) by hospitals and healthcare providers in the country.

Objective of intigrated Health information is to enable the creation of standards compliant Electronic Health Records (EHRs) of citizens on an All-India basis along with the integration and interoperability of the EHRs through a comprehensive Health Information Exchange.

Some of the benefits of EMR / EHR are that they provide the backbone of technical infrastructure for leverage by national and State level initiatives. They improve quality and safety of patient care by reducing medication and medical errors. They increase efficiency by eliminating unnecessary paperwork. They improve public health reporting and monitoring. They facilitate efficient deployment of emerging technology and health care services. They provide a basic level of interoperability among Electronic Health Records (EHRs) maintained by individual physicians and organizations. They reduce health related cost.

How PPP model has been instrumental in providing quality and affordable healthcare facility to the general public?

The public-private partnership route is meant to improve healthcare delivery in India by 2022. Union Health Minister has said that while public health systems must be strengthened at all levels, healthcare needs to be supplemented through private sector participation.

With regard to healthcare infrastructure, at current rates, India will end up with a total bed density of 1.84 per 1,000 people against the global average of 2.9 and WHO guideline of 3.5 in 2022. If these figures have to improve, private sector has to play the role of provider and the industry and insurers will have to come up with innovative business models on investments, project planning and optimum deployment of capital at all income levels, especially in the rural and urban poor sectors.

In Jharkhand, the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences has already started affordable healthcare services.

What is the scope and opportunity for wellness industry in India?

Wellness is a concept which has been in vogue in India. Traditional health practices like yoga, Auyrveda and many other alternative medicines have been considered as the concept of physical as well as mental health. With the progress of time, wellness has become a concept that has assumed a dynamic definition, including the individuals desire for social acceptance and collective welfare.

Majorly influenced by changes in society and in the lifestyles of individuals, this change is because India has always been a favourite place for multi-national companies for outsourcing of projects due to cheap labour cost and high quality productivity.

This scenario has also increased the degree of resentment at workplaces which eventually leads to stress and illness among employees. The considerable decrease in the rate and quality of productivity is alarming for employers. This is where the wellness industry of India comes into the picture to save the day.

Wellness players have thus responded to this change, through a paradigm shift in their focus point. From traditional offerings like curative healthcare and value oriented mass products, today the emphasis is on new generational offerings like preventive healthcare, luxury products and personalised services.

The wellness industry in India has evolved rapidly from its nascent unstructured beginning in the early 1990s to a comprehensive ecosystem today. Moreover, India is becoming a hub for medical tourists from around the world.

To promote this change, the government launched a dedicated Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) (which now exists as a Ministry of AYUSH) with the aim of providing impetus to these ancient healthcare systems with a targeted thrust.

The wellness industry is being driven further by a range of factors including Indias young population, rising disposable incomes and an increase in the occurrence of both communicable and non- communicable diseases.

Strong economic growth in the last few years has resulted in a transition in dietary habits, which has led to a steep rise in lifestyle-related ailments.

Along with this, the Indian government is also launching a number of other programmes to promote the wellness industry of India.

The Make in India initiative is pushing the wellness as well as other industries much far ahead so as to bring much more investments and opportunities to our country. Old practices like Yoga and Ayurveda is Indias contribution to the global map. Therefore, concerted efforts should be put in to consolidate these sectors further and convert the business potentials to achieve maximum benefit for the country.

Reports suggest that around half of the Indians are not serious about regular exercise, balanced diet and other disciplined lifestyle habits. How can people be encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyle?

Indian urban people are the most effected of mental stress and health disorders due to their busy work schedule and job overload.

Urban youths dont get enough time and energy to adopt healthy food habits and hence miss out on important nutrients. Despite knowing about its harmful effects, they cant stop consuming junk as thats easily available and ready to eat.

With young people spending long hours at work, its important to get them talk about the importance of nutrition and good eating habits. Their outlook towards diet and exercise needs to change.

Adopting change in the midst of managing a healthy lifestyle can be a little disordered due to hectic everyday living. Instead of jumping over huge hurdles, it is advisable to make small changes in our lifestyle per week, to stick to it for a longer duration.

Begin our day with light stretches. Early morning stretches for even 5-10 minutes will help us wake up instantly, help us focus throughout the day, keep us energised, improve flexibility, regulate proper body circulation and improve coordination and relaxation in our body.

We should drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water every day, depending on our physical activity. Sufficient intake of water is very essential to kick out toxins from our body and to rejuvenate our cells. Whether it is red, yellow, blue or green add all colors of fruits and vegetables to our plate. The more the colour the better the health benefits we will drive.

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