India today has a doctor per 2000 population if not more, a far cry from the WHO norm of a doctor per 1000. This is further aggravated by problems of access to quality healthcare in lower tier towns. With over 300 Mn internet users, many observers felt adoption of e-health in the country would scale, similar to developed countries. Have you wondered, why is it that in the digital age, we don’t use the ability to be monitored, have consults online, just like any other utility!
As per WHO: E-Health is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health
Types of services covered in e-health ecosystem: -
⦁ Consumer health informatics ⦁ Electronic health record ⦁ e-Prescription ⦁ Telemedicine ⦁ Clinical decision support system ⦁ Health knowledge management ⦁ m-Health (includes the use of mobile devices in collecting aggregate and patient level health data, providing healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vitals, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine) ⦁ Health informatics / healthcare information systems
The challenges in e-health adoption in public and private healthcare, can be categorized as follows:- ⦁ Infrastructure – Poor IT and Networks, due to lack of investments and resources ⦁ Lack of awareness, even within a chain/network of hospitals ⦁ Acceptance – It has to start with the government and the care providers
Drivers for E-Health
⦁ The cost per patient for e-health today has dropped in India, with increased network coverage, mobility, Cloud enablement and a highly competitive application space, fueled by startups
⦁ Guidelines for electronic medical records were released by the Indian Govt. in 2016. While Healthcare providers are worried of the costs of adoption ,standardization of records will enable exchange of records and lower costs , again bringing benefits to patients
⦁ Awareness through continuous education, on benefits and technology, for both Doctors and care givers, will drive awareness and adoption. ⦁ Though small today, health insurance is bound to take center stage in India. As in developed countries, Insurance can become a big driver for e-health to reduce claims
What’s happening on the ground –
⦁ TATA COMMUNICATIONS, a leading Enterprise solutions provider has partnered with leading hospitals to solve health problems of people living in different parts of the country through their innovative product offering called GLOHEAL. The biggest advantage for patients is that they can now consult the best doctors in the country remotely and get treated for their illnesses. This can be done in 2 ways ⦁ GLOHEAL Virtual clinic – TATA COMMUNICATIONS has set up virtual clinics at different parts of the country to make healthcare accessible to all. The process is very simple. The patient has to take an online appointment and visit the virtual clinic at the specified time. These clinics have paramedics and are equipped with hi-end medical devices to check the vitals of the patient. The patient can speak to the doctor remotely and get treated without actually visiting him. This saves a lot of time, effort and money too. ⦁ PERSONAL CONSULT - is an option that can be availed if you have a busy schedule. All you have to do is take an online appointment, share your medical details with the doctor and consult him remotely at the specified time from wherever you are with your laptop. ⦁ TATA Communications, offers a secure Cloud enabled platform with managed services and a host of enablement, training and scheduling services for healthcare providers , to facilitate awareness and adoption by care providers and patients ⦁ Amongst other national initiatives, the National cancer grid, a nationwide program to have millions suffering from cancer enter a network, right from screening, establishing a pathway and digitization of their records is underway. ⦁ Through guidelines laid down under the National skills development council, private players have started looking at training of Healthcare professionals in the use of technology. In years, millions of trained personnel will enter the Healthcare sector , trained on e-health In next five years, India will see an e-health revolution, solving immense problems of access and capacity in both public and private healthcare.