As a wide array of diseases is on the rise, the healthcare industry seems to be gearing up for more innovation and solutions inspired by government support and initiatives to build a robust healthcare sector. Industry players envisage bringing a paradigm shift in the healthcare delivery empowered by new-age digital technologies and modern diagnostic tools, writes Mukul Kumar Mishra for Elets News Network (ENN).
2018 was a year to reckon with in terms of plethora of healthcare initiatives by the Government, prominent among them being the Ayushman Bharat. These initiatives coupled with technological advancements by private players appear set to be key instruments in augmenting healthcare delivery system in the coming days.
With the aim to foster patient care, industry players are working on modern-day technology trends to benefit people of all strata of life.
Industry players who have years of experience overseeing delivery of services in healthcare sector, gave eHEALTH an insight about the market, offering huge opportunity and challenges for stakeholders to meet up to the increasing demand of personalised healthcare.
These market players also unveiled plans about their latest products and any collaboration strategy for 2019. eHealth magazine aimed to explore how some of these players look at ‘Vision 2019’ and what they wish from the government or how they are planning to leverage technology in almost every area of care including cancer care, heart related issues, telemedicine and mobile apps to provide last-mile healthcare delivery.
According to Selva Kumar Devannam, Managing Director, Trimed Solutions Pvt Ltd., “The Government is making lots of concerted efforts to provide affordable healthcare facilities to poor population through programmes like free dialysis and diagnostics services, ePHC, teleradiology services, telemedicine and biomedical equipment maintenance services.”
ALTEN Calsoft Labs’s (ACL) Somenath Nag says that his organisation will focus on providing digital health solutions to improve the access to care and quality of care. In addition, ACL will also focus on bridging the gap in the area skilled workforce by automating key business processes using artificial intelligence and robotics.
“To provide Universal Health Coverage and get into real predictive care, our plan is to leverage technologies like health IoT, big data, patient generated data, clinical decision support systems, artificial intelligence, and machine learning,” Balaji Krishnammagaru, Co-founder & MD, MedOnGo said when asked about the organisation’s plan in 2019.
Asked to reveal mission and vision of R&M India, Murugesan R, Senior Director, Sales, said, “Our vision is to make sure that the healthcare industry uses the anti-microbial products in their operational theatres and laboratories which will help the patients to avoid infections. We will be organising the industry-based educational programmes for the IT teams in the healthcare industry.”
“Our product line at Medimojo is built around these major variables – quality, affordability and personalisation. We make available easy to install and affordable SaaS (Software as a Service) based platform to providers. They don’t need to spend huge money on buying the software and clouds,” Shikha Suman, Founder & CEO, Medimojo said unveiling the plan 2019.
It looks industry players are all set to cater people with advance level of patient care. As non-communicable diseases, lifestyle ailments are increasing in unprecedented manner, these players are bound to come up with evolved innovative solutions to cater huge Indian population.
Though infrastructure is proving to be a big stumbling block in a way to healthcare delivery, nevertheless, cumulative efforts by both private and Government are helping sustainable healthcare delivery model to become a reality.
Indian Healthcare and An Experience with Transformation
With many more technology trends in the offing, the Indian healthcare sector is continuously undergoing a transformation and likely to move towards value-based care in 2019. The future of healthcare delivery is progressively moving from reactive care to preventive healthcare.
“With innovative mobile applications, vaccination reminders, digital healthcare records and report sharing, the concept of ‘care anywhere’ is coming into the real healthcare delivery picture. In every way, technology is optimising care in clinics through e-clinics and virtual hospitals,” said Mudit Vijayvergiya, Co-Founder, Curofy.
Cutting-edge diagnostic equipment, innovative solutions, and mobile applications are helping healthcare service providers to address traditional challenges enabling people to avail better patient care in terms of accessibility affordability and quality.
Huge demand for quality healthcare
Due to unprecedented rise in noncommunicable diseases and increase in income level of neo-middle class, today, people are becoming more aware and cautious of their well being with information and tools available at their disposal. Stress and mental health concerns have further encouraged consumers to be more connected with their overall health. Sumit Puri, Chief Information Officer, Max Healthcare, said: “With rapid advancements in the rise of vector borne and lifestyle related diseases, the cost of healthcare is increasing with insurance organisations and healthcare institutions all striving to leverage data effectively and invest in prevention and holistic care rather than highly expensive curative care.”
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in digital adoption by hospitals and doctors giving a new meaning to patient care. From day routines to complex workflows, digital has left its imprint at every juncture of healthcare delivery. Adoption of modern digital tools by healthcare practitioners is helping the Indian healthcare sector to move towards a better future.
“Migrating non-sensitive patient data to the patient portal and the private cloud is a revolutionary step that increases accessibility of clinical information to medical professionals and decreases waiting time for patients to get admission,” Puri further said.
Dr B R Das, Advisor and Mentor, SRL Diagnostics, says, “The roles of digital technologies, big data, and precision medicine in healthcare are rapidly shifting from drivers of marginal efficiency to enablers of fundamental innovation.” “Microfluidics, Liquid biopsies, Next Generation Sequencing, and Digital Technologies will continue to be our major focus in coming years,” Das reveals.
Technologies and innovations catapulted healthcare delivery in 2018
As is commonly said, the India’s healthcare industry, one of the fastest growing sectors, is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020. It offers a huge opportunity to industry players to cater people with better patient care.
“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,” according to Somenath Nag, Director – Digital Innovation & Transformation Services, ALTEN Calsoft Labs.
A section of experts believes that data is the crucial thing in healthcare sector and, managing and converting that into valuable insight continues to be a major focus for providers. Turning data into action is proving to be a new source of innovation and service-oriented future revenue streams for healthcare players.
“Technology has enabled people to optimise their health and lifestyle through wearable devices such as smart watches, activity trackers, fit bits, etc. Such devices which can monitor body vitals are helping people set goals, track and accomplish them,” says Devannam of Trimed Solutions Pvt Ltd.
Das of SRL Diagnostics believes 2018 remarkably focused on precision medicine, non-invasive technologies and harnessing the power of digital technologies and data analytics. The advent of precision medicine is a result of countless innovations in an array of fields, including genomic sequencing, big data and analytics, bioinformatics, bio-engineering etc.
“Precision medicine and immunotherapy are changing the landscape of cancer treatment. Liquid biopsy provides attractive investment opportunities for diagnostic companies. The focus on blood biomarkers, such as ctDNA and CTCs, has unleashed the potential to now track and monitor tumours in a non-invasive manner,” he said.
K Lakshmi Kumari, Director (Administration and IT), eVaidya Pvt Ltd believes innovative practices will rule the roost.
“Few innovations which will change the healthcare delivery systems in India include medical supply distribution by drone, remote patient monitoring, advances in diabetes care: Artificial pancreas, teleradiology, and advances in cancer care.”
“Our focus in 2019 will be to provide better healthcare facilities to the unserved. As far as latest technology is concerned, we will explore the fields of teleradiology and remote patient monitoring technologies this year,” Kumari adds.
Trends Setting the pitch for Better Care in 2019
Corporate hospital chains, tech giants and startups are working on developing Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Machine Learning based diagnostic solutions for removing the distance and cost barriers.
Keeping in mind the healthcare requirements of people in the wake of rising lifestyle diseases, they are coming up with solutions which provide quick diagnosis and real time treatment of fatal diseases like cancer and heart ailments.
“There has been a spike in the sales of body ideal measurement devices in recent times. Tools that allow people to measure their blood-pressure, oxygen level, diabetes or blood sugar levels at home are becoming more common,” Devannam of Trimed Solutions Pvt Ltd. says.
As we enter into the era of innovations in precision medicine, tailored therapeutics, wearables, and artificial intelligence, the importance of diagnostics’ role in medicine will continue to emerge, says Das of SRL Diagnostics.
Artificial Intelligence to change paradigm of healthcare delivery Artificial Intelligence represents a set of several technologies that enable machines to comprehend, sense, learn, and act like humans to an extent that are prepared to perform a number of clinical and administrative healthcare functions. It is one of nascent and novel healthcare technology trends which can improve the speed and accuracy of the diagnosis process. The need for analysis of a huge amount of data and quick decision-making has put artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled solutions at the forefront of the current wave of healthcare revolution. From predicting health outcome to diagnosing disorders like multiple sclerosis, eye defects, tumours, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s, respiratory infections and other critical illness, AI has proved to be a best tool.
Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) to transform patient care
These modern-day technologies have shown exciting signs of potential, ranging from their ability to help patients suffering from anxiety all the way to allowing trainee doctors to practice critical procedures. As per estimation, healthcare based AR and VR industry is poised to become a $ 5.1 billion market by 2025. While on one hand, the technology helps doctors to do more precise surgeries, the patients on the other hand benefit from the virtual reality scenes that help them overcome trauma with greater ease while being in a safe environment. “The role of Augmented Reality will keep increasing in coming years. It is becoming one of the strongest applications in medical training,” says Shikha Suman, Founder & CEO, Medimoj.
IoT — A Game Changer
With the global IoT healthcare market to reach over $160 billion by 2020, industrial IoT seems like a gamechanger for the healthcare industry. There are a number of reasons why mHealth technologies needs IoT advancement in the industry. Reasons that range from Turning Data into Action, Improvement of Patient Health, Promotion of Preventive Care, Enhancement of Patient Engagement and Satisfaction, and Advancement of Care Management. “From personal fitness and wellness sensors to surgical robots, IoT is bringing in innovative new tools, paving the way for more integrated healthcare. With IoT, companies can recast and revolutionise patient healthcare,” Suman adds.