Digitization in healthcare holds potential to revolutionise the way India deals with healthcare delivery by not just helping in preventive management, but acting as a catalyst in the entire continuum of care from tracking data to preventing an epidemic through ensuring timely medical intervention.
Innovation is the major driver of growth in this new digital health ecosystem that is in urgent need of spotlight from all stakeholders, including governments.
Digital “ways of working” offer significant advantages including reduced workforce costs and increased productivity. Some of the examples of digital transformation in healthcare such as telemedicine, artificial intelligence (AI)- enabled medical devices and blockchain electronic health records are reshaping how we interact with health professionals, besides data sharing among providers, decisions about our treatment plans and overall health outcomes.
Emerging technological applications like big data and advanced analytics are empowering health systems like no other. Predictive analytics can play a significant role in better management of patients and ensure that treatment or surgical interventions are carried out in the best possible manner. Similarly, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing can assist doctors to track and monitor the vitals of a patient at any given point of time. The data generated helps doctors treat patients way better besides allowing healthcare payers and other providers to offer superior and more personalised services by leveraging this data.
Thanks to the emerging technology, patients have the advantage of improved treatment with virtual reality tools, wearable medical devices, telehealth, and 5G mobile technology. Doctors on the other hand, can streamline their workflows using artificial intelligence-powered systems.
AI is rapidly making inroads in healthcare and supporting a number of functions from robotic surgeries to streamlining routine workflows in medical practices to managing patients and medical resources. Besides, AI is having a huge impact within the field of medical imaging as it provides better insights during diagnosis thereby, improving the accuracy of predicting tumor malignancy. Furthermore, it has significantly enhanced the computational powers of traditional radio-imaging techniques such as MRI, and CAT-scans resulting in improved quality of radiographs which in turn leads to faster and improved diagnosis.
AI offers multiple advantages over clinical decision-making and traditional analytics – learning algorithms can become more accurate and precise when they interact with training data. Also, it allows unprecedented insights into care processes, treatment variability, patient outcomes and diagnostics.
Internet of things (IoT) is another great invention in the field of digital healthcare as it facilitates remote monitoring thereby, unlocking the potential to keep patients healthy and safe while allowing physicians to provide better care. The technology has moved patient satisfaction and engagement to a higher-level owing to efficient doctor-patient interactions.
Also, remote monitoring of patients’ health goes a long way in preventing readmissions and decreasing the duration of stay in the hospital, reducing healthcare costs and improvising treatment outcomes.
Digital transformation in healthcare will accelerate India’s journey towards universal health care and open multiple economic opportunities for all stakeholders. However, for this to be a reality – all players need to come together and make concerted shifts in order to reap its benefits.
The ongoing pandemic has further perpetrated the role of digitization in healthcare and while many yearn for a return to pre-pandemic days in the healthcare business, the “new normal” is here to stay with the progression from digital health (data gathering) to data-driven healthcare (actions based on the data) becoming even more pronounced in the years to come. Healthcare organizations on their part need to demonstrate how this will improve services in quality, access and efficiency. The digital transformation of healthcare will be key to achieving these objectives.
Healthcare players will thrive or perish depending on their ability to adapt to the new normal which could overall result in India leapfrogging its healthcare evolution curve.
(The author is Chief Success Officer, DayToDay Health India. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)