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Digital health enterprise – Reality or Myth

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Top healthcare IT experts discussed and deliberated on how digital health is evolving rapidly and how they ease treatment follow ups, improve patient data analysis and increase patient satisfaction. The session was moderated by Munender Soperna, CIO, Dr Lal Path Labs. The other panellistwho shared the dais were – KV Kumar, CIO, Narayana Health; Pradeep Saha, VP – IT, Max Health; Shilpa Saxena, CIO, Aakash Healthcare and JP Dwivedi, CIO, Rajeev Gandhi Cancer Institute.

Sharing his views, Dwivedi said, “Digital technology ensures error free work and it brings in operational efficiencies as well. There is a difference between digitisation and digitalisation. Digitalisation is making the entire process digital. There are four technologies, which have been constituted to be a part of the digital world called Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) and now there is a fifth dimension called blockchain. Digitalisation should never be the objective, rather it should be a means of providing service and achieving operational excellence. 90 per cent of the patients who have been registered in the past 12 to 15 months are the active patients, and if we build that data, it will help.”

Going forward, the moderator asked, “What is your roadmap to digital transformation in healthcare?

Answering to it, Kumar said, “We are trying to upgrade the underlying infrastructure and become web-enabled. Developing a technology and solution is not enough but we also need to concentrate on the processes and need to know how to adopt it.”

Citing examples on how digital health helps in hospitals, Saha said, “Many patients die due to wrong medication but bar-coding can be instrumental in guiding the nurse in providing the right medication and averting such mistakes. Similarly, IT helps doctors and paramedics to monitor critically ill patients on their vitals.”

Touching upon the benefits of digitisation, Saxena informed that digital health enables hospitals to record data documentation andanalyse a patient record from anywhere at anytime. It enables them to improve treatment as documentation is more effective.

The panellist informed that digital health is a journey and we should have bottom up approach. The first step is to strengthen the basic digital infrastructure, second is managing ERP, procurement and inventory – these fundamental values should be taken care of. Thereafter comes the Hospital Information System (HIS) and the fourth level is the Electronic Health Record (EHR) where we have single longitudinal record of patients. Fifth or the top layer is digital layer where we talk about robotics, IoT and social media engagement. Adapting technology is not enough. Its adoption is tricky and it needs up-gradation of every underlying infrastructure.

Key highlights

  • Digital hospitals ease treatment follow-up, improve patient data analysis and increase patient satisfaction
  • They enable continuous improvement in treatment as documentation is done in a better manner
  • Data documentation and analysis becomes difficult in cases where patients register in groups (like families)
  • Having technology is not enough. Its adoption is tricky and it needs up-gradation of every underlying infrastructure
  • Today’s patients want choice and control, and digitalisation helps them manage chronic diseases better, thereby reducing stress or anxiety caused by it
  • Bar-coding can help prevent cases of wrong medication which is rampant in the traditional healthcare setup

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