The current Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission by the PM to allow greater IT-penetration of healthcare is welcome news. What makes it doubly so, is the focus on digital health such as app-based solutions. This is because leveraging digital technology towards disease management and cure is very cost-effective.
The Focus of this mission towards Public Private Partnership (PPP) will lead the way to cut long-term healthcare costs, as is evident from outcomes in many Western nations. The dream of universal health coverage can be made a reality sooner by leveraging technology the way this mission intends.
This sort of patient-centric, IT-based solution could help everyone within the industry have a better handle on efficiency and managing claims. Fast, efficient data-exchange and communication can be a win-win for both the patient as well as the health sector as a whole.
What is trending in patient’s homes will then be mimicked in corporations. Corporations that are providing health benefits and employee wellness programs will find that having a focus on digital health, will increase productivity while reducing illness related loss in labor-hours will drop. This will then be followed by similar technology penetration as will start in people’s homes.
Digitization would mean less trips to the doctor for interventional care and the shift would be to periodic, predetermined visits. Patients will find that this sort of visit will lead to a healthier and longer lifespan – and as an added benefit – these visits will be easier on the pocket.
With a centralized digital system of patient health ID, app developers (such as our own upcoming Circee HealthWise app) can tap into other metadata of the patient and avoid unnecessary duplication and in exchange, provide valuable predictive information to the government about hotspots in the country that need attention.
Remote digital healthcare providing services always have a recurring issue of finding out precisely the most effective assistance to the patient. WIth a centralized Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registries (HFR), this issue can be altogether mitigated and patients could be put in touch directly with the closest HPR and/or HFR.
As I have maintained, new innovations in the form of IoT devices, to specialized instruments for telemedicine, to data analytics, will eye the same space – the patient’s home. Such forms of health technology penetration into people’s homes can also help the rural underserved areas of our country.
The move towards IT-based health solutions will also be able to address one of the major issues in India- that of non-adherence to prescribed treatment regimen. A recent paper by Dr. Pooja Singh from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), reported as little as 50% or fewer adherences to prescription medications. Needless to say, this dismal rate can lead to further aggravation and cost of handling the disease burden which digitisation can help prevent.
It is time that we in the Indian healthcare system, leapfrog and embrace the benefits of IT in the health space. Doing so will help us in the health system as well as our primary objective – making our citizens healthy and keeping them there.