Karunya Sampath, Co-Founder & CEO, Payoda highlights that the technological improvements in the early years have been more cost driven. Technology evolution enabled highly efficient, comprehensive, and continuous care for the patients
It is commonplace for us to book an online appointment with the doctor, get medicines delivered at home, to get tests done from the comfort of our home and get the test reports on our mobile phones. We can also then connect with the doctor and consult him or her regarding the reports and change the medications as and when needed. All this has been possible only because of the advent of technology in the healthcare sector.
The technological improvements in the early years have been more cost driven. Technology evolution enabled highly efficient, comprehensive, and continuous care for the patients. We all know, that in the healthcare ecosystem patients play a central role, while the providers, pharmacies, and payers aim to enable strong healthcare services to the patients. When so many players come into play, it is pertinent that they form a central point somewhere. With every stakeholder using a different technological tool or software, the stacking of these different technologies in one place leads to never-seen before, innovative solutions in the healthcare industry.
Good healthcare has always been heavy on the pocket. Over the years patients have realised that having a health insurance policy is a better way to get the best healthcare without worrying about the cost of treatment. In countries like India people often suffer as they cannot afford the expenses of private hospitals. The medico-insurance solutions nowadays ensure that the patient gets the treatment from the best doctor, without worrying about the expenses. Here technology also helps by arranging the data on an ergonomic dashboard, with ease of access and easy readability, so that the patient can take the right decision at the right time. And this is how technological stacking happens in the first stage.
With the “patient” being the core of the system, healthcare has taken a retail view to bringing technology improvements. Thus, the use of technology impacts the healthcare sector as it leads to Greater patient care, Reduction in errors during treatment and tracking the update of each patient, which can then be monitored remotely, Ease of access to quality healthcare, Wider service coverage, data privacy and most importantly Reduction in healthcare cost. That is why, in the last 10 to 15 years, technology in healthcare has been centred around “patients” and delivering improved care – right from the days of consumerism to the current digital front door concepts.
Talking about smart solutions we have seen an array of technological solutions in the healthcare sector in the recent past. The major one being digital front door concept which provides an omni channel experience for patients, care providers, and agents for all phases of patient interaction and care delivery. It could be a simple app where the doctor, patient and other stake holders can access information and be updated about the patient. Digitisation of patient data has helped in easily accessing patient medical records – history and current, thereby enabling the providers to deliver more accurate and efficient care to the patients.
Introduction of artificial intelligence has transformed and is still transforming the healthcare industry significantly, with its impact across the entire patient lifecycle. For eg: AI suggests the right provider for a patient with wide and deep access to the patient profile, early detection of ailments, improved treatments, effective drug utilisation, superior care experience (tele-health), and many others. We are currently seeing robotic automation in premium healthcare institutes that has helped in delivering care effectively and efficiently, through automation and virtualisation of mundane, time-consuming and in person activities. The extent of automation has reached a new level in the form of cognitive and intelligent automation leveraging all forms of available data and delivering personalised and superior care to patients. Interoperability has ensured data security, and effectiveness in data usage and sharing across players of the healthcare ecosystem and hence improving the quality of care too.
Increased collaboration with other specialists has also increased as technology has removed all geographical boundaries and has allowed providers to engage and share knowledge with specialists and other practitioners anywhere in the world. It has led to better patient management as patients’ data is now more effectively and efficiently managed with software. In fact, patient data is now more comprehensive, including history, thereby allowing doctors to provide quality care.
All these transformations signify the giant steps that healthcare and technology have taken together. But there is much more that is desired and is under trial or available at premium hospitals. But one thing is for sure, this is not the limit, as ‘healthcare is yet to be transformed.’ It is an ongoing process. Gear up for a new era of modern next-generation healthcare.