Adoption of Healthcare Information Technology (IT) increased tremendously post-covid as medical doctors, specialists, hospitals, pathology labs, imaging centres and patients increasingly trusted on digital health technologies for delivering or accessing healthcare during the pandemic, which has set the platform for sustained innovation and growth.
From software for managing clinical workflows to technology that remotely monitors patient condition, new innovations are transforming healthcare providers and helping the stakeholders to deliver patient care more effectively. Innovative technology start-ups are assisting providers and patients in simplifying billing process, managing patient records, streamlining patient appointments, facilitating remote consultations, improving care delivery, increasing the accuracy of diagnostic reports and much more.
New innovations and trends in health IT, which are increasingly being adopted and would continue to see growing adoption in the coming years, are:
1. Increasing Adoption Of Electronic Medical Records By Physicians, Specialists
Many new regulations and standards by the Government of India like amendments to the Clinical Establishment Act for ensuring data compliance, the National Digital Health blueprint, and personal data protection bill are driving the increasing use of Electronic Medical Records (a digital copy of a patient’s chart related to medical history, examination findings, diagnosis and treatment given) by the medical professionals and the launch of innovative platforms to capture the patient data.
Doxper is one such homegrown platform with an AI-powered (Artificial Intelligence-powered) data capture solution, which helps clinicians instantly digitise their case sheets using a digital pen and encoded paper. Another such innovative company from US, Augmedix, uses Google Glass to push natural clinician-patient conversations into electronic health records, letting clinicians check patients’ notes via a remote scribe while seeing and interacting with them. By using this technology, clinicians can thus save time and hassle to fill out paperwork manually and focus more on patient-centric care.
2. Electronic Health Records (EHR) Implementation Has Increased Among Hospitals
Deployment of Electronic Health Records (a system that manages patients’ complete health records from all the providers) in hospitals automates and simplifies the physician’s workflow and its acceptance can be a way in which hospitals would be able to improve healthcare delivery with the capture of structured healthcare data.
Some of the mid-scale to bigger size hospitals in the country are implementing cloud-based EHR platforms and partnering with cloud solutions of Microsoft, Amazon or Google, to host their EHRs and offer real-time data insights.
In India, it’s the need of the hour for the adoption of common EHR data standards to ensure unbroken transfer of patient data between hospitals. Once these standards are implemented, this interoperability is expected to increase between healthcare providers, insurance companies and health tech platforms, which come with a lot of benefits.
3. Growing Trend In The Deployment Of Diagnostics Information Management Solutions
Technologies like cloud-based diagnostics information management systems make it easier for diagnostic centres, pathology labs and radiology centres to streamline the business processes, manage patient health records and improve customer experience. One of the innovative start-up from India operating in this space, Creliohealth has grown globally with more than 2000 diagnostic centres as clients in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia. Since the coronavirus outbreak, Creliohealth introduced a robust COVID-19 LIS set-up that makes report accessibility easy and secure globally. Around 1.5 million reports were created through this platform with a QR code that assisted authorities from different point of care centres, government establishments and airports across the world to easily access and authenticate COVID-19 original results from anytime, anywhere through a HIPAA-secured cloud server.
4. Increasing Use Of Technologies By Imaging Centres For Faster Reporting
AI is the next big tech revolution that creates algorithms, making the diagnosis for a radiologist precise, efficient and fast. Imaging centres can use AI (Artificial Intelligence) and PACS (Picture archiving and communication system, a medical imaging technology that modifies the conventional paper workflow of radiology images like CT scan, X-ray, and MRI into a paperless workflow) to streamline the workflow and for quality assurance thus improving radiologist efficiency, yielding better accuracy and faster turnaround time. An AI engine with good sensitivity and specificity can detect even minor abnormalities to help the radiologist community be faster and more accurate while reporting the cases to the treating physicians, surgeons, etc.
5. Telemedicine Consultations Have Gone Up
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst to bring telemedicine into full stream practice. Amendments, which have been brought in the telemedicine law, would be helpful for the further progression of telemedicine as a discipline. The country has witnessed huge growth and immense potential in the use of digital platforms like Practo, Lybrate, 1mg and Pharmeasy for medical consultation, laboratory investigations and delivery of medicines.
6. Remote Patient Monitoring Becoming A New Normal
The pandemic also has accelerated the use of remote patient monitoring tools for managed care both for covid patients who were not in need of hospitalization as well as patients with chronic illnesses. These changes have indicated a swing to a hybrid care model, which will substitute predominantly in-person visits with a mixture of both in-person and telehealth visits for services varying from follow-ups to emergency care.
7. Digital Front Door Providing Omnichannel Experience For Patients
Social distancing norms due to the pandemic have pushed healthcare organizations to ramp up their digital presence and competencies to stay in touch with the patients. New age platforms like ‘Digital Front Door’ can enable healthcare providers to bring all the patient engagement technologies in one unified hub through which all patient interactions can occur, for example, teleconsultation, remote monitoring, care delivery etc. This can profoundly improve patient outcomes as well as the efficiency of the healthcare providers.
With evolving technologies like AI, ML, Cloud and Big Data being put to practice, new healthcare business models getting progressed, patients seeking superior experiences and new age innovative startups tackling important healthcare problems and coming with the right solutions to improve the patient’s health journey, we can conclude that healthcare is definitely getting transformed to become more patient-centric.
(Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent/relate those of the company/ies or named. Dr Pramod Dhembare is the Founder and Managing Director of Fidelity Diagnostics Private Limited.)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.