“Primarily, the healthcare service delivery comprises four elements which needs to be done in one go. When a patient visits, his symptoms have to be analysed at first, diagnostics need to be done, and finally consulting with the physician & medications. Unless, these elements are taken care of in one single visit, the problems will never cease,” said Dr S B Sinha, Advisor- Healthcare Technology, National Health Systems Resource Centre, while delivering a speech at 3rd Healthcare Innovation Summit in Bengaluru.
Talking about the perspective of healthcare technology as far as the government side is concerned, Dr Sinha said, “This problem exists in India because we are not able to deliver all these four elements in the first visit and this leads the poor patients visit the government hospitals unwillingly.”
Underlining the difference in scenario in urban and rural areas, Dr Sinha said, “These elements are easily available in the urban areas while it is lacking in the rural sector. But even if it is available in urban areas, there is no uniformity in its availability. Somewhere the costing is too high and somewhere it is reasonable. So, there are 4 challenges which need to be addressed in the areas of ICU beds availability, cost estimation, and diagnostics & drugs.”
eICUs are being implemented world over to increase beds availability and also to make it cost-effective, he said.
“Through technology integration, command centres have been developed. Patients get treatment remotely where experts guide local staff how to go about whole process. Technology is being leveraged to reduce cost burden. There is no uniformity in cost estimation for any particular surgery.”
Despite being in its nascent stages, the growth trajectory of the home healthcare in India has been very strong. Talking about the same, Dr Sinha said,” Home healthcare in India is growing with the presence of technology intervention in remote areas. In the homecare segment, you can have the monitoring of the vital parameters by the doctors sitting at some telecenters. This will help us to manage the shortage of beds especially in the ICU’s in the hospitals.”
“Secondly there is no uniformity in the estimates. The variation is indeed very high when it comes to estimates. But with Ayushman Bharat, the government has tried to make a level playing field in the Tier II and metro cities. And with this initiative, the estimates have been fixed now. With these estimates when the patient is being treated, its all bout numbers,” said Dr Sinha.
He further opines that initially the private doctors were very apprehensive in catching up with these kinds of estimates. It is basically a question of numbers. The more increase in numbers will let you get the figures matched. The government has already introduced a programme for free drug and diagnostics initiatives which is accessible to everyone.
Due to the lack of radiologists, the digitalization is done in terms of X-ray facilities. It is then transported to a tele-radiology center. All these services are free for all the citizens in the country.
“Availability of physicians and paramedics happens to be matter of concern. Earlier there was a shortage of doctors and the same can be witnessed even today. This is a worldwide phenomenon and not just limited to India alone. Fortunately now, with technology intervening we have a solution in terms of 2 distinct activities. One such activity is the telemedicine where the Government of India is focusing,” said Dr Sinha.