Advanced technologies creating future-ready health organisations

Vineet Aggarwal

Technological enablement, digitisation and automation are profoundly affecting different industries in many ways. The healthcare industry is no exception. The healthcare delivery model in India is transforming and is all set for a huge leap forward. The pandemic has shown that it is possible for healthcare organisations to become innovative, agile and resilient through tech-enabled business models keeping data at the centre. Furthermore, healthcare organisations are fast realising the fact that services or products, no matter how technically strong they are, won’t serve the purpose in the future. It is crucial to engage with the users throughout the healthcare value chain, be it patients or physicians, to deliver not just an improved product or service, but a better healthcare experience. Fortunately, advances in technology have shown the promise to enhance the healthcare experience of patients and accelerated the process of transformation for healthcare in India to become digitally enabled.

Innovations in healthcare paving the way for the future

India has already started working towards a national digital framework with the mission to develop a national digital health ecosystem. India’s digital healthcare market was valued at INR 116.61 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.41 per cent to INR 485.43 billion by 2024. Among the different initiatives taken in that direction, the adoption of electronic health records for the entire population is one such initiative. To further deal with the challenges that cripple the healthcare system of the country, healthcare organisations are fast adopting innovative technologies to transform the way care in the country operates and create a positive impact on the healthcare ecosystem. Here are some of the emerging technologies that are making a real difference:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI along with Machine Learning (ML) is enabling digital representation of the physiology of the human body to predict the likelihood of chronic disease progression based on choices that are made presently. These simulations are enabling healthcare providers to properly understand choices and therapeutics and their effects on patient health outcomes and influence on associated costs. AI is also assisting healthcare providers to take a comprehensive approach to the management of diseases, better coordinate care plans and assist patients to manage and comply with their healthcare treatment programmes. Also, as per reports, 30 per cent of costs associated with healthcare are due to administrative tasks. With the help of AI, the majority of these tasks which include maintaining records, following up on bills to be paid, etc. can be automated thereby significantly reducing costs.

Cloud Computing

As healthcare organisations around the country move towards value-based care, the coordination between doctors, nurses and divisions has become critical. Obtaining patient records which was once a slow and tedious process has now turned into an efficient process, thanks to cloud computing. Cloud computing allows centralised storage of data which enables access to information at any time from anywhere. Other than that, cloud infrastructure also offers the flexibility to decrease or increase health data storage based on patient inflow. Presently, a number of healthcare providers offer IoT enabled gadgets to patients and by connecting these devices to a healthcare provider’s cloud system, patient data can be transmitted quickly straight to the doctor. This enables quicker diagnosis and better care.

5G Connectivity

5G connectivity has the potential to improve every component of healthcare, especially in times when the healthcare industry is still recuperating from the effects of the pandemic. With a high speed network, the transmission of large data files can be supported as well as real-time quality video to take care of telemedicine appointments. With the utilisation of 5G, patients can get treatment sooner and also have access to healthcare specialists, especially in areas where they are not available.

Nanotech

The utilisation of nanotechnology has opened up new avenues for the healthcare industry. Scientists and researchers are using this technology to target tumours, within drug delivery systems, and to enhance medical imaging. The technology is also being utilised to cut down costs and increase DNA sequencing speed and give scaffolding for wound treatment or tissue regeneration. Nanobots or micro-scale robots are also being used to clear artery blockages, perform eye surgery and perform fast biopsies of suspicious malignant masses.

Final Say

The healthcare industry in India is at the cusp of a major change owing to the rapid digitisation of services and products. While the Centre is taking huge leaps to promote the growth of digitisation in healthcare, further amendments are required to open up every avenue of growth in the healthcare industry.

Views expressed by Vineet Aggarwal, CIO, Paras Healthcare

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