21st century is the age of Information Technology. It is an era of Digital Revolution and no industry is untouched from this revolution. Changes & adoption of new technology is very rapid now a days. Now we are shifting rapidly towards mobile world as it is the most convenient for providing information & services. Growth of mobile users in India is highest in the World in last 5 years and it is expected that it will be highest for next decade.
Information Technology in Healthcare
Strengthening and improving Healthcare is very vital for sustainable growth of any country. Healthcare sector has witnessed a massive growth in last 3-4 decades with lots of innovation, technology involvement, vaccinations and advance diagnosis & treatments etc. Healthcare sector is using Information technology as leveraging tool to improve care. Still there is a huge scope for Information Technology in Healthcare. Information technology in Healthcare can play a very vital role to provide better patient care & fill the gaps between the legacy system and requirement of Modern system. IT helps hospitals to streamline the processes, increase transparency, increase efficiency & productivity.
Healthcare in India
In India’s scenario healthcare is facing following major challenges:
- Convenient access to Healthcare services for rural population
- Expensive Healthcare services
- Shortage of Medical facilities & professionals
- Uneven distribution of Hospitals
- Lack of Infrastructure
In spite of those challenges we developed & improved Healthcare so well that we have some world class Hospitals/Doctors who are offering advance Healthcare services to patients who come from other countries. But these facilities are not accessible/affordable for 80% of our Sub-urban/Rural population. Such highly equipped Hospitals & doctors are concentrated in Metropolitan cities only. India has sufficient number of Healthcare professionals but those are mostly confined to major cities so there services have limited availability for rural population. We don’t have enough Hospitals/infrastructure to cater the needs of Indian population. Now government have also accepted this and working in this direction to provide maximum coverage for healthcare services through various schemes.
Use of Information Technology in Healthcare is far less than its use in other industries like Education, Banking, Automobiles, Home appliances etc. Spending on IT in Healthcare is very low as compare to other industries. We spent about 2% of revenue on IT in Healthcare where as it is around 7-8 % in other industries. We should increase our spending on Healthcare IT because the amount of risk is very high in Healthcare as it involves Life.
India has huge window of improvement in Healthcare to provide better care to all Indians. This sector need to be improved by eliminating the Urban-Rural disparity, increase the Government expense on Healthcare, improving the infrastructure utilization, more investment on R&D to provide cost effective services/medicines.
Information Technology can revolutionize the Healthcare sector for providing better & timely patient care. IT can transform Healthcare from reactive patient care to proactive care with real time information, predictive analysis, and quick access to relevant information etc.
Mobile technology can be very useful in Healthcare if we can implement is rightly. Healthcare is transforming globally with rapid technological changes. We should be ready to adopt this rapidly changing technology for Healthcare. In India use of IT is very less in Healthcare, so we have advantage to adopt the new technology as we haven’t using any legacy technologies.
Mobile Technology & Artificial Intelligence should be an integral part of Modern Healthcare in India. It improves the accessibility of healthcare services to maximum Indian population. Availability of information through mobile technology helps doctors to efficiently diagnose the patients and give them the best available treatment. Mobile apps will play a vital role in healthcare in coming years. Healthcare mobile apps will provide following major benefits:
- Increase awareness about diseases, vaccination, precaution, treatments etc.
- People can save time by booking appointment online which helps doctors also to consult patient more efficiently.
- Waiting for long time in hospitals also affects patient health indirectly. It will reduce the waiting time at hospitals which helps hospital administration to utilize the infrastructure efficiently.
- Availability of patient health records online (EHR) will help doctor to diagnose patients properly and give precise treatment.
- Digital prescription helps to reduce human errors and save papers as well.
- Online consultation will increase doctor reach to maximum patients.
- Availability of right information on right time will increase transparency & productivity and improves patient care also.
- Minimizing the errors and loss of information by minimizing use of papers.
Future of Healthcare is evolving rapidly with innovative technologies and Artificial Intelligence is one of the tool of transforming Healthcare. Healthcare data is very complex and very crucial also as it involves the risk of life. As use of IT increases, the amount of data is also increases which need an advance system to extracts the information out of this data. Use of artificial intelligence will have following benefits for healthcare:
- Accurate & Fast diagnosis
- Increase reach of healthcare to maximum population
- Improves predictive analysis
- Helps in complex diagnosis
- Reduce costs
- Helps in medical R&D
Public Sector: Government has taken many initiative to strengthen the healthcare sector. Few are as follows
- Ayushman Bharat Yojana
- Mission Indradhanush
- National Nutrition Mission
- AMRIT Pharmacies
- Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana
Private Sector : Many IT companies/Startups have come up with new innovative Healthcare solutions. Few are as follows:
- Online appointment booking
- Hospital Management System
- Online consultation
- E-commerce for Healthcare
- Online Doctors Discussion forum