Technological Advancements are enabling the global healthcare industry to grow and change for good. We are witnessing more meaningful use of technology in improving healthcare for patients and also for health service providers.
It is moving from being reactive to proactive and from curative to preventive.
The Indian healthcare Industry is growing at the rate of 16.5% CAGR, is
expected to grow at 23%, touch $280 billion by 2020 and by 2022, could reach a valuation of $372 billion.
“The healthcare industry in India is now rapidly embracing advanced medical
technologies and devices to strengthen and provide high-level performance to
reach out to the population with the right solutions.” – Rekha Ranganathan,
Global General Manager, Mobile Surgery & Value Cardiology of Philips
Let’s look at the present situation of the Indian healthcare sector, the role of
technology, existing challenges and understand various technology-oriented solutions.
Indian Healthcare: The Role of Technology
- Advanced Technologies in the Indian healthcare delivery system have led to an increase in average life span from 62.3 years to 67.3 years for males and 63.9 years to 69.6 years for females (2005 to 2015).
- As per NASSCOM, the Indian healthcare technology market was about $1 billion in 2014, and it is expected to grow 1.5 times by 2020. At present, the healthcare software market comprises of only 9% of the total healthcare IT market in India.
- Treatment Quality in India is at par with many western countries, and it is generally cheaper. India provides most of the advanced procedures and technologies used across the world. Many foreign patients prefer visiting India for a variety of treatments. By 2020, medical tourism is set to grow from $3 billion to $8 billion.
There are certainly encouraging signs and many achievements to count; however; the Indian healthcare sector still has some major challenges to address.
Indian Healthcare: The Existing Challenges
- India ranks 145th in the world on the healthcare access and quality index.
- Rise in the number of non-communicable diseases such as blood pressure, diabetics, and heart attacks.
- One government, allopathic doctors for 11,082 individuals in the country and one hospital bed for 1,844 individuals.
- Inaccessibility of healthcare information for citizens.
- Conventional healthcare structure, which often leads to medical errors due to the loss of information.
- Low penetration of quality medical services due to a lack of affordable and accessible healthcare.
- The concentration of most high-end health care facilities in tier I and tier II cities, which leads to insufficient access to the latest medical technologies for a large population.
- Heavy dependence on out-of-pocket payments for healthcare expenses, low health insurance coverage, leading to a financial burden on patients and families.
Indian Healthcare: Technology-Oriented Solutions
Ayushman Bharat Yojana (National Health Protection Scheme):
- One of the world’s largest government-funded health insurance schemes.
- It can provide health care coverage for 100 million low-income families. It is digital, cashless, and paperless
- Uses IT platforms and data analytics for treatment preauthorization and processing claims to verify beneficiaries.
EMR: Electronic Medical Records or EHR: Electronic Health Records:
- It can track patient health data to support medical decisions.
- Cloud computing can be used for secured EMR.
- It facilitates EMR sharing and integration.
- The patient’s extensive history can be stored safely and accessed during diagnosis or treatment.
- Reduces manual work and makes human resources available for other critical tasks.
e-Hospital Program from National Informatics Centre:
- Improves digital prescription management.
- It allows patients to register with the e-Hospital and remotely access their EHRs.
- Physicians can use the Clinical Decision Support System to receive advice on decision making at the point of care.
Telemedicine Services & m-Health:
- Based on the growing popularity of the mobile internet in India.
- Delivers timely and effective healthcare.
- Provides consultation through mobile devices, using video, images, and audio channels.
- As per ASSOCHAM, India’s telemedicine market could grow at 20% CAGR.
- m-Health or mobile health helps you to locate providers, offers, self-monitoring, tracking platforms, ECG analysis, and retinal scans.
- Medical institutions can provide portals where patients can help themselves and book appointments.
- The information is made available online, and patients can self-medicate themselves in certain advisable situations.
- Detailed information is provided for circumstances where patients should approach professionals for assistance.
- It reduces costs for patients and enables quick treatment.
Wearables, Fitness Bands, Monitoring Devices & Bots as Health Assistants:
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) lets you keep track of the steps taken in a day and the amount of physical activity involved.
- Devices also keep track of heartbeat and blood pressure.
- Encourages people to stay engaged and attentive towards their health.
- Voice bots can assist patients and connect them with appropriate doctors.
Nationwide use of advanced healthcare technologies can bring multiple benefits, for patients and healthcare providers. It can also allow the government to address existing challenges by improving the quality of healthcare and ensuring easy access for all.
Accessing advanced healthcare technologies in India could invite substantial costs. Healthcare costs are rising, and one must make preparations to address unplanned medical expenses. Therefore, it is always a wise approach to secure yourself and your family members with a timely health insurance cover.
(Sources: India Brand Equity Foundation, The New Indian Express, inc42, Deccan Chronicle, Silicon India)