COVID-19 turns into enabler and accelerator of digital well being adoption

COVID-19 continues to affect lives the world over, hampering well being fairness and outcomes and creating obstacles within the socio-economic progress of nations. The previous yr has been a testing time for the healthcare sector, to place it mildly. While the pandemic uncovered the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system, it additionally led to an unprecedented push in direction of the adoption of digital applied sciences for healthcare administration and to enhance the general effectivity of healthcare supply.

Throughout the pandemic, revolutionary digital options such because the Aarogya Setu and different contact-tracing apps, telemedicine providers, good gadgets for healthcare monitoring, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence-enabled help for affected person care, and most lately, the Co-WIN app for India’s vaccination drive have anchored our response to the general public well being wants. These have additionally reiterated the function of know-how in strengthening our well being programs.

Traditionally, our healthcare system has been marred by a number of challenges. Some of the obstacles to equitable entry to well being have been inefficient and inconsistently accessible healthcare amenities, scarcity of educated and certified healthcare professionals, low healthcare expenditure of the federal government, poor information assortment, lack of know-how adoption, and upgradation, amongst others.

Over time, it has turn into evident that these hole areas can’t be addressed by means of a linear strategy and that convergence and adoption of digital applied sciences would be the solely enabler of improved healthcare supply, entry, and affected person care in the way forward for Indian healthcare system. One of the largest challenges confronted by the healthcare business is the flexibility to persistently ship high-quality affected person care, no matter their location. There is rising proof of profitable adoption of AI and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) for optimum utilisation of assets, improved well being care supply and operational excellence, enhanced affected person expertise in addition to outcomes. These rising applied sciences have confirmed to successfully help persistent illness administration by means of real-time monitoring, drug administration, enhancing the efficacy of medical employees, sufferers, and stock monitoring, enabling choices for distant well being monitoring amongst others.

With rising web entry and digital literacy throughout city and rural settings, we’ve got seen a rising urge for food for technology-enabled healthcare options among the many completely different stakeholders within the sector. Even earlier than the onset of COVID-19, the federal government has proven its intent to bolster its healthcare entry, supply, and outcomes by successfully leveraging know-how by means of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). As a part of this, the federal government goals to roll out initiatives such because the Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Health Facility Registry (HFR), Digi Doctor, Health ID amongst others to make healthcare environment friendly, accessible, inclusive, inexpensive, and secure. However, even right now, know-how adoption has been largely pushed by the non-public sector as in comparison with public healthcare sector.

For the event and adoption of rising applied sciences to reimagine the way forward for healthcare in India, there may be nonetheless a protracted street forward. Firstly, what you don’t perceive, you don’t undertake. Therefore, in addition to enhancing entry to digital infrastructure, enabling digital literacy of individuals, together with healthcare professionals, is essential. Secondly, there’s a large alternative to extend collaboration between the federal government and the non-public sector to advertise the event and adoption of rising applied sciences in several areas of the healthcare sector. Thirdly, there’s a want for higher mechanisms to be put in place for information assortment and information sharing with out compromising privateness and safety. The surveillance of communicable ailments and threat components of non-communicable ailments needs to be built-in within the well being administration data system. Lastly, there’s a must incentivize stakeholders to actively take part within the digital transformation of our well being programs. This could be finished solely by rising investments in rising applied sciences by allocating particular budgets for it and by creating extra sturdy frameworks for digital adoption.

Today we dwell in a related world the place sufferers expect higher well being outcomes with out comprising on comfort and high quality. A tech-enabled main, secondary and tertiary healthcare system must strike a stability between affordability, comfort, and likewise on problems with security, and safety of knowledge. This pandemic has definitely laid a powerful basis for innovation, collaboration, and the adoption of know-how in each preventive and healing healthcare. For India to construct a resilient and future-ready well being ecosystem, there’s a compelling must re-imagine our healthcare priorities with a technology-focused lens.

Dr. D.Ok. Mangal is the dean of analysis at IIHMR University, Jaipur, and Suryaprabha Sadasivan is the vp of Chase India 

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