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‘Technology Key to Better, Holistic Healthcare Delivery’

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Technology is the best way to improve efficiency and productivity of the healthcare delivery and reduce cost of care. Digital technologies help to collect, store and share critical patient data in a safe and secure way, says Somenath Nag, Director – Digital Innovation & Transformation Services, ALTEN Calsoft Labs, in a conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Q: How do you look back at 2018 in terms of new initiatives (technology and innovations) in healthcare space? How significant was your organisation’s contribution in 2018?.

In spite of the healthy growth, Indian healthcare still suffers from three critical weaknesses – access to care, cost of care and quality of care. A vast population of our country still neither has access to quality care nor can it afford quality care.

2018 witnessed a lot of trends evolving in the healthcare industry regarding how technology can contribute in uplifting the healthcare sector with improved care delivery. The Indian healthcare technology providers have brought innovation while refurbishing the sector by combining digital technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning with traditional practices in the healthcare.

2018 has also seen the concept of managed home care becoming reality. With the number of nuclear families increasing and with the increase of affordability, we see increasing demand in the areas of Managed Home care, Transitional care, and End of life/ Palliative care. Some of the care providers have started focusing in this area.

ALTEN Calsoft Labs (ACL) is in the forefront of providing digital health solutions to global health providers and payers. During this year ACL, along with its customers, participated in following digital health initiatives:

• AI & ML based solutions for automating prognosis from radiology images.

• Robotic Process Automation solutions for optimising insurance claim processing.

• mHealth solutions for providing home care.

• mHealth solutions to improve efficiency and productivity of the provider systems.

• Cloud based solutions for digitising health records.

Q: In the light of increasing role of technological advancements and innovations in healthcare delivery, what are your plans for 2019?

ACL will continue to focus on providing digital heal solutions to improve the access to care and quality of care. Apart from this, ACL will also focus on bridging the gap in the area skilled workforce by automating key business processes using artificial intelligence and robotics. Most of our new solutions will use mobile apps for end point delivery of care.

Q: How do you perceive growth of Indian healthcare market in 2019? Tell us about your expansion and collaboration plan this year.

The Indian healthcare industry will continue to grow in a healthy speed in 2019. In Union Budget 2018, the government gave a push to enhancing the healthcare system of the nation by launching the Ayushman Bharat, which will provide insurance cover to 10 crore families in India. This creates an opportunity for the private providers to build facilities and provide wider access to the people covered under this scheme.

During this year – 2019 — we will see higher adoption of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IOT), blockchain and 3D printing, which are necessary for building a modern technology landscape in healthcare delivery.

Q: Technologies have enhanced patient care in an unprecedented manner. Can you list out some technologies which will pave the way to transform healthcare sector in 2019?

Technology is the best way to improve the efficiency and productivity of the healthcare delivery and reduce cost of care. Digital technologies help to collect, store and share critical patient data in a safe and secure way. Analysing this data using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help doctors and caregivers to provide a much better analysis of the condition and recommendations to the patient by early detection of diseases based on certain triggers in vitals.

Wearables and smart sensors can help track patients’ vitals outside the hospital and help in prevent serious situations, especially to those who are at a higher risk, such as those with diabetes or a history of heart attacks. Digitisation of patient health records and EMRs have been one of the crucial steps which made such a transformation possible. Emerging technologies can be utilised to solve some of the specific challenges faced in India:

• AI, ML, and RPA based solutions to provide real-time patient information and assist with symptom-based prognosis/ diagnosis.

• Cloud, Mobility based remote consultation solution can improve access to care by bringing healthcare to remote areas with no access to basic healthcare facilities.

• Wearables and smart sensors can enable patient and healthcare providers to take proactive measures based on an analysis of vitals captured while being away from hospitals.

• Provide critical home care with the same level of care and cleanliness through managed services with the aid of mHealth and digital health solutions.

• Decentralise patient health records using blockchain technology to maintain a single source of truth and providing easy access by patients and approved providers.

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