How is technology modernizing the healthcare sector?

By : |July 15, 2019 0

“Good, bad or indifferent, if you are not investing in new technology, you are going to get left behind.” – Sir Philip Green

Nearing 2020, this quote by the British billionaire businessman, Philip Green, takes center stage when we see how technology has encircled around us, affecting our lives. Whether it’s for the better or worse, that is a separate debate. In this article, I won’t be focusing on technology affecting our personal lives but how it is altering the way industries, especially the healthcare sector in particular.

Industries are gradually becoming digitized by adopting a business model known as SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud). Through social media, they are able to not only connect with their customers/audience, but via social media marketing techniques, target and pitch them their products and services, which increases their return on investments.

Mobile is the device where companies are trying to win their customers. It is said that if an organization doesn’t consider mobile marketing in its strategy, they are already fighting a losing battle. Analytics and Cloud are used to review the obtained information and use that data to make future plans.

Healthcare, just like their industry counterparts, has integrated technology into their operations as well. Let’s see some numbers to adjudge why technology is playing and will play an integral role in this industry in the near future. According to Invest India, the Indian healthcare industry is projected to be an approximately $372 billion industry by 2022 with a CAGR of 16-17%.

Couple this with the rise in lifestyle diseases, a poor doctor to patient ratio, and increasing numbers of both domestic and international patients (medical tourism). Although the future looks promising in terms of industry value, there are stern challenges as well, which needs constructive solutions.

Technology is providing these solutions.

As of this moment, Indian medical establishments are implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) technologies to administer efficient diagnosis/treatments and in facility operations as well. For instance, AI is being put into effect for preliminary diagnosis of patients based on their symptoms where algorithms are helping doctors prioritize their schedule and give more attention to patients with serious ailments.

Smart ambulances are a direct result of IoMT sensors which sends the vitals of the patient in transit, to the doctor, so the latter can take the appropriate measures before the patient reaches the facility thus administering proactive and timely medical care. It is also predicted that Indian medical facilities will actively implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA, as reported, is a “digital workforce” which will operate the necessary administrative tasks of hospitals, thus allowing the hospital staff to concentrate on other more crucial duties.

It is believed that technologies such as RPA result in significant savings for the hospitals while bringing operational efficiency.

There are applications such as Vizi which also allows medical establishments to keep a check on their reserve/safety stock so that they can procure supplies on time to avoid any stock-out situations. With this application, hospitals can save around 30% of their procurement costs by not spending vast amounts of finances on supplies. Additionally, hospitals are also able to manage their inventories efficiently due to their timely purchases and avoid facing excesses, shortages, and expiries of stock keeping units (SKUs). With such technologies, hospitals are never out of stock and therefore, can administer patient care effectively at all times, especially during emergencies.

Indian healthcare industry is also bridging the gap by acquainting with international industry and introducing innovative technologies in our country. Braster Pro is one such device which is providing a radiation free and painless breast screening experience. The thermographic imaging device uses a proprietary liquid-crystal emulsion (which lies inside a matrix) which detects lesions and irregularities as small as 3mm in the breast.

On the other hand, for doctors, they get the results within a matter of minutes, allowing them to take the next appropriate step for the patient. The device comprises of Braster’s patented algorithms leading to sensitivity as much as 90% (92.2% NPV, 71% PPV) and provides oncologists, gynecologists, and other specialists with thermographic images of the breast for constructive analysis.

With AI being the next big revolution (valuated at $6.6 billion by 2021), along with technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), and Blockchain on the rise, it is an exciting and also testing time for the healthcare industry all over the world as well as in India.

We already have evidence of the productive use of technology in healthcare. High and rising medical care costs, new emerging diseases, and an ever-increasing patient count are some of the characteristics we associate with Indian healthcare at the moment. Technology, if used efficaciously, can help the country restructure and reshape its healthcare system, which will be beneficial for both medical establishments and the people.

By Vivek Tiwari, Founder and CEO, Medikabazaar

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