Insights on Digital Health

BY: Abdullah Saleem (Group CIO - OMNI Hospitals) - 18 Aug-2021

In your observation, how can the National Digital Health Mission or NDHM harness the power of digital technologies to build India’s healthcare system?

According to me, the objective of the digital mission is to achieve a citizen-centric, universal health coverage that provides quality healthcare, with better accessibility and inclusivity by leveraging the power of digital technologies.

In other words, every Indian will get a new health unique ID that will store the individual's demographics, medical records, including doctor visits, diagnosis & diseases, the line of treatment and drugs taken, and it will map every citizen's health with a unique ID. Also, it will be integrated with the facilities which could be using telemedicine, e-pharmacy applications, creating a national health registry. 

From a doctor’s appointment to hospitalization for any treatment, this unique ID will be very essential. The key feature of this mission is the technology part, it will support open digital systems to provide high-quality healthcare for each citizen. It will integrate with various digital health services to create an ecosystem that can accustom the existing health information systems.

Finally, it will help the citizen to avoid the redundant spend which will enable the better experience during visiting to primary or secondary care center for their further course of treatment. It will help the clinicians to access the past clinical history and provide better treatment. As a result, quality healthcare will be enabled with better patient and provider experiences. On the other hand, the government body will be having better control pertaining to the healthcare spend to the population by avoiding the redundancy spend for a single patient. 

 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted digital health? Please explain.

There was no choice between patient and doctors to adopt & rely on the health informatics adoption though it has not been adopted as it should be. However, the pandemic has changed the complete mindsets of the patients and doctors especially for the primary care treatment which is taking almost 50-60% remotely / virtually. 

The pandemic has brought Information Technology fiction down to the ground. We live it, we breathe it, and to move forward we also need to take up it, too. Upon the first news of a certain virus in China, we were quickly started talking about the right use of digital health technologies and plenty of technologies had suddenly become widely adopted and interesting not only to the medical professionals but to the general public as well.

The Telemedicine solution has been available for quite a while now, but its breakthrough was undoubtedly due to 2020 covid-19. From being a far-fetched concept for the care of remote areas, the frightful need to protect medical professionals and other patients from the virus made remote technologies skyrocket. Due to the coronavirus, medical visits online and over the phone experienced a never-before-seen it.

 

How healthcare providers are adopting digital technologies such as AI, ML Analytics, Robotics to gain insights, predict outcomes, recommend next steps, and automate tasks for users. Please discuss.

As per me, it is a complete IoT technology that is just in evolving stage and yes it would be adding great value to the clinicians and healthcare providers to enable quality health care at the point of care. But the bigger challenge is that most of the HCPs have not implemented and adopted the basic EMR/ EHR at the organization level so that the biggest question is where is data to run developed the IoT based algorithm to test it out under the R&D unit and then put it in the main product stack.

Artificial intelligence, predictive Analytics and machine learning in healthcare will continue to get better & better and impact disease prevention and diagnosis, extract more meaning from data across various clinical & non-clinical data which could be helping to develop customized drugs based on an individual's unique DNA and inform treatment options among other things.

Going forward, the AI, ML, Voice recognition & Robotic technologies would be applied to clinical practices such as diagnosis processes, treatment protocol development, drug development, personalized medicine, and patient monitoring and care. AI, ML-based algorithms can also be used to analyze large amounts of data through EMR / EHR for disease prevention and diagnosis.

To conclude the importance of AI, ML, Voice recognition & predictive analytics would be helping the healthcare provider to achieve the SMART goals, continuous improving the better patient & provider experiences. On the other side, it will help to decrease the medical errors due to which millions of patients die across the globe. 

 

How crucial is the role of digital payment systems in evolving digital health ecosystem? Please elaborate.

The Indian Government has been initiating many measures to push the digital payments methodology inside the country as an area of the ‘Digital India’ campaign, the govt. is trying to form a ‘Digitally Empowered’ Economy having anonymous, paperless, and cashless based transactions. presently, their square measure a unit of multiple varieties and modes of digital payments, variety of those embody the use of debit, credit cards, internet banking, digital payment apps, unified payments interface (UPI) service, Unstructured Supplementary Service information (USSD), Bank paid cards, mobile banking, mobile wallets, etc.

The Digital payment ways are a unit typically simple to form, a lot of convenient, easy use and supply customers the flexibleness to form payments from anyplace and at any time. These are a few of the substitutes for long-established ways of payment and accelerated the dealing cycles. Post ending, folks slowly started taking up the digital payments and even unimportant man of affairs and store house owners started encouraging & acceptive payments through the digital mode.
Secondly, it is adding value to maintain the precaution related covid-19 pandemic by avoiding the physical currency-based transactions. However, the digital payment system cannot replace 100% versus physical currency dealing, but up to a great extend it has already been adopted and it will keep going up to ensure much better adoption by 70-80 % of transactions digitally very soon. As per the current speed of adoption, it should be achieved in the next 3-4 years of time.

 

What are the key trends in digital health?

As an attention business, you most likely recognize that maintaining digital transformation in attention will feel overwhelming.

Deciding that rising technologies area unit value investment in and obtaining your team on board with amendment is commonly the toughest one. Look, adapting to the digital era needs a shift towards a versatile and risk-taking mentality. The Digital transformation intending is that the positive impact of technology intending.

Here's why: Telemedicine, computer science (AI)-enabled medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records area simply several concrete samples of digital transformation intending that area fully reshaping however we tend to move with health professionals. The most prominent trends in digital health are: 

1) The rise of on-demand digital healthcare
2) Telehealth 
3) Big data in healthcare
4) Treating patients with virtual reality
5) The growth of wearable medical devices
6) Predictive healthcare
7) Artificial Intelligence
8) Blockchain
9) Mobile Technology

However, there are challenges to adopt the perspective clinical application to collate and maintained the patient longitudinal records without missing any data sets by introducing the digital trend with IoT technology which will be enabled to store the data in a minable form to pre and post data collation to get the better clinical outcome. 

The technology behind telemedicine, IoT devices, and health care apps didn’t seem in 2020 — we’ve had it for years. however, it took the COVID-19 pandemic to push health care forward, and for health establishments, providers, and patients to embrace digital health trends and new technology.

With remote services, IoT devices, and accelerated analysis and development practices currently fully swing, suppliers and patients currently perceive the worth of digital health services. Funding and investment activity shows that others see the worth in digital health trends, too.
 

*This story is published by VOH team*

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