Dr Biren Chauhan, Group COO, Sunshine Global Hospitals, Gujarat shares his insights on how digital transformation will be a necessity rather than a choice in the future.

What is needed to fully leverage the potential of innovation, as well as knowledge and data in the healthcare sector?

The health system has recognised that digital transformation is essential to improving health care and strengthening customer relationships. It is more than just investments in technology; it results in a change in organisational culture and employee engagement, it is an enterprise investment that requires enterprise wide participation. Therefore, building a culture for digital with leadership driving support through communication and transparency at all organisational levels is necessary for fully leveraging the potential of Innovation. Patients are ultimately going to get benefited through digital advancements that healthcare organisations will imbibe. In the present scenario, digital transformation may be by choice, but in the near future ecosystems will unfold in such a way that digital transformation will be a necessity rather than a choice.

Another promising area is in the logistics space. Healthcare services and their availability and their reach to the remotest locations can be significantly upgraded through innovative logistics solutions.

Drones are going to be in the mainstream in sending critical healthcare supplies to the furthest locations of the country.

Can we apply big data to improve surveillance of future pandemics?

After the COVID-19 outbreak, we have realised that Big Data science has proven fruitful to the health system by which the whole world is benefitted in the context of predicting, mapping, tracking, monitoring, and raising awareness about the epidemics and pandemics. The changes Big Data can bring to the health care sector promise to be much bigger than many governments, companies, or organisations can realise. Therefore, it has become the need of the hour to apply Big Data so that future outbreaks can be identified early and prevent diseases from spreading. The use of Big Data Analytics can yield many more positive results in terms of providing a time advantage to prepare and fight any eventualities.

How can a collaborative environment be built for faster adoption of innovations in healthcare systems?

Healthcare is not unique in its slow adoption and diffusion. It took the telephone 64 years, electricity 45 years, computers 23 years, mobile phones 16 years, radio 12 years, and the internet 13 years to achieve 40% consumer adoption. For faster adoption of innovation, it is a must to ask their patients what they want and innovate based on their findings. Organisation should identify the key pain points and work with customers, other stakeholders, and experts to solve the issue; develop the strategy for adoption and diffusion, and then deliver it.

If an organisation realises the benefits of innovation, the organisation must create a culture where innovation can flourish, and where staff and patients feel empowered to contribute to the innovation process and help make change happen. Many of the building blocks that form the foundation of a more innovative culture are already in place. We just need to find and work on those to create a collaborative environment for faster adoption of innovation. Top management commitment and agility within the organisation remain critical to the early adoption of innovative healthcare solutions.

Has the Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission (ABDHM) catapulted healthcare innovation?

Yes, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) aims to create a seamless online platform that will enable interoperability within the digital healthcare ecosystem and has invited expressions of interest in developing innovative solutions that will help build a national digital health ecosystem. This collaborative approach will not just help speed up development but also help in making digital public goods available to the public and/ or private entities. Just like the ease of doing business, ABDM will ensure ease of taking care of patients in India in times to come.

What measures can be taken to leverage innovation to get maximum healthcare benefits for the masses?

The future of healthcare is about the patient (or stopping people from becoming patients), but patients are not the main stakeholders in healthcare. Insurance companies, big pharma, doctors, managers, suppliers, builders, governments, and many other forces will influence the future.

Along with this, education and awareness of the opportunities and challenges of digital health are the keys to staying ahead of the curve and guiding the population through this change. Therefore, it is very necessary to culture a collaborative environment for leveraging innovation to get maximum healthcare benefits for the masses.

What innovation or innovations do you see further accelerating the pace of transformation in the healthcare sector?

Innovations are at the core of everything. In my insights, rise in telehealth, big data analytics, and Maturing AI & Machine Learning tools will lead the healthcare sector to another level.

The way other industries and their best practices are tried and tested in the healthcare delivery space successfully, I am sure in the near future we will see an incredible transformation in the way we manage healthcare organisations in India, both in the public and private healthcare space.


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