The transforming paradigm of digital healthcare in India

|January 8, 2018 0

Vinod Kumar Reddy

Despite being the second most populous country in the world, access to healthcare continues to be a major roadblock in India. 75 percent of the dispensaries and 80 percent of the doctors in India are accumulated in urban cities, however, more than 48 percent of the country’s population which lives in the rural pockets undergo several hardships before they reach a critical care setting.

But this is likely to change in the days to come, as accessibility and affordability have become the buzzwords, transforming the world of healthcare today. Digitization of healthcare is revealing the vast potential of the industry and is bringing patients closer to the service providers and with digital India taking wings, people in rural corners of the country can also avail their basic right to healthcare.

While digitization is one of the major driving forces triggering the growth of healthcare, other factors also play an important role like aging population, a rise in GDP, increasing access to healthcare and growing awareness of one’s health.

In recent times, there has been a perceptible shift from a prescriptive to a preventive approach as well. Consequently, more number of people resort to novel methods to take health in their hands. The digital landscape is only empowering them further by bringing together multiple healthcare services in a single platform, thereby enabling them to take informed and independent decisions.

Trending Digital Elements in Healthcare

Telemedicine and e-consultation

Geographical impediments used to limit the access to quality care in India. With the rise of telemedicine and e-consultation, people are no longer compromising with the care they need by contacting specialists located in any remote location.

EMR/EHR and e-Prescriptions 

These medical techniques have facilitated seamless sharing of data, paperless documentation with high accuracy, instant retrieval of crucial patient information, and enhanced efficiency in medical practices. Encrypting patient health records via the digital media and saving it on the cloud is coming as the new wave in EMR and EHR services which is adding further precision in the clinical decisions offering better outcomes of the treatment plans.

Practice Management Software or PMS 

PMS allows practice management and enhanced patient-doctor communication. It has led to hassle-free clinical maintenance with improved output by allowing a better management of appointment schedules, beforehand access to their basic information and timely update about reschedules or cancellations. At the same time, it also keeps the patients updated about a clinic’s or a doctor’s availability, change in their schedules, or latest appointment status.

Digital Healthcare Portals  

With these digital platforms, customers can choose from the best doctors available next door, hospitals, diagnostic centers, book the services with a few clicks, get access to all their medical reports right from their smartphones and in every way, can keep a control over their health decisions. From online counseling to care at home, the services can be booked online without much ado. These portals leverage cutting-edge technology to simplify healthcare for everyone.

Healthcare Apps and Wearables  

Personalized healthcare approach is set to make the next big wave paving way for the emergence of the ‘empowered patient’. The new age healthcare apps have grown to be the personalized fitness buddies of millennials. Tracking one’s own health through smart devices to avoid emergencies and severity of health conditions, the innovative models in wearables are redefining the digital healthcare in India.

Digital knowledge portals and discussion forums  

The tech-savvy people of India try to find solutions online. There has been a significant rise in the number of users who discuss health related issues with doctors online and seek the help of online support groups, forums, and communities. The knowledge portals also serve as digital fitness guru by providing fitness advices, customized weight loss guidance, natural remedies, diet tips, and more of what we tend to know related to our wellbeing.

With these advancements, the patients no more need to feel that they are entirely dependent on the healthcare provider to know what is happening within themselves. Now, they can feel real empowerment by being equipped with easy access to care and multiple options in their hands.

India’s healthcare market has always been a fertile ground for innovations and developments, as a result of which the industry is touted to be worth USD 280bn by 2020. However, the market is still scattered and unorganized. With the number of users increasing for such services, there is rampant competition in the space. However, the need of the day is a digital healthcare ecosystem which will bring the entire spectrum of healthcare services under one roof, thereby ensuring ‘care continuum’.

The author is CEO, Zoylo 

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