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C.S Thiyagarajan

Director, Country Head, QurHealth

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How Technology Can Be The Answer To India’s Healthcare Challenges

Digitization in healthcare is bringing high-quality services and offerings within the reach of all people, making them reap the benefits of an innovative, inclusive, and tech-backed experience.

India ranks 145th out of 195 countries on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ) as per the study published by the Lancet. The country has a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:1456, which is alarmingly below the WHO standard of 1:1000. Despite the obstacles, India’s healthcare industry has immense potential to grow and a plethora of opportunities that are yet to be explored.

While the ongoing pandemic has initially crippled the existing healthcare system, it has also brought several positive reforms, including accelerating digital health adoption, to transform the way care is delivered. According to a recent health tech report, by IAMAI-Praxis, in 2020, e-pharmacies experienced a 200% growth in orders, while teleconsultation platforms saw a surge of 300 % in consultations.

According to India's eHealth Market Opportunity Report, 2021, India's telemedicine sector will be worth $5.5 billion by 2025. This is because traditional practices alone are not enough to address the prevailing gaps, and technology-enabled approaches are required. Still, the important question is: Is digital healthcare the future for better health management in India?

Bridging the gaps in the system with digital healthcare

The most challenging issues encountered by India's healthcare system are affordability and accessibility. As with several other industries, digital can be the solution to scale across India by bringing quality and affordable healthcare to the masses. Digital healthcare platforms act as the perfect and intelligent between health practitioners and patients to extend the accessibility of healthcare to patient home in remote areas, thereby enhancing health outcomes and lowering healthcare costs. With teleconsultation, the doctor can provide quick diagnosis and distant care for individuals who do not require physical medical intervention.

Owing to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, there has been an increased need for a robust and effective healthcare system that can offer a high-quality and personalized diagnosis, treatment, and care. With Artificial Intelligence-based solutions proving to be a game-changer in the market, providing proactive, personalized and high-quality healthcare has become a reality.

Today, patients expect professionals and platforms to understand and support their most fundamental healthcare needs with a lesser TAT. Several healthcare organizations are integrating chatbots into their user interface to improve customer experience and automate request handling, both of which are essential for providing proactive healthcare support services.

The introduction of smart health monitoring devices that can gather vitals, symptoms and test results in real-time, generate alerts, and share a patient's personalized health data are helping them with early intervention and timely treatment. They also prove effective by improving the provider's efficiency to offer patients better support and guidance.

Each person's health risks, lifestyle choices, and health goals are different. Therefore, it is essential to provide personalized healthcare solutions to patients based on their conditions. A healthcare-specific mobile app could help with remote care management, disease/illness specific plans, appointment administration, communicating lab test results, overall health tracking, and allowing the patient to interact with the hospital or a concerned doctor.

Mapping the way ahead

The pandemic has spurred the demand for digital health services, pushing patient care services to move beyond the four walls of the hospital. Digitization in healthcare is bringing high-quality services and offerings within the reach of all people, making them reap the benefits of an innovative, inclusive, and tech-backed experience. Digital disruption will indisputably alter the structure of the healthcare system by simplifying the path to universal healthcare coverage.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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