June 2017
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A Pioneer of e-Health in India

Prof. Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari,  Project Director of the Centre for Health Informatics of the National Health Portal (NHP)

 Prof. Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari

Prof. Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari

Prof. Suptendra Nath Sarbadhikari passed MBBS from Calcutta University in 1989, and then went for a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University – that he completed in 1995. He joined on January 23rd, 2013 as the Project Director of the Centre for Health Informatics of the National Health Portal (NHP) at the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, New Delhi. Since November 15, 2013 the NHP has gone live for beta testing at: http://www.nhp.org.in/home

He is hoping to establish health informatics as a full fledged academic discipline in India. “Clinical Informatics” has now become a Board Certified medical subspecialty in the USA: http://www.amia.org/news-and-publications/press-release/ci-is-subspecialty

He has a lecture in Youtube regarding the career prospects of health informatics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QxrxH3Vtay8

He wants to see India come out with a proper National e-Health strategy sooner rather than later, so that an appropriate authority can be in place for overseeing e-Health implementation throughout the country.

His Views on eHealth:

Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) tools to make an information-rich nation in healthcare

The state of health care delivery in India is well summarized by the World Bank (2005) that had reported “a detailed survey of the knowledge of medical practitioners for treating five common conditions in Delhi found that the average doctor in a public primary health center has around a 50-50 chance of recommending a harmful treatment”.
If that is the condition of the doctors, what could be the condition of the patients? Obviously, we need to increase the awareness among all that information is available, and, if not, it should be actively sought. While getting authentic health information is not always easy, now it is possible to use ICT, especially mobile technology to access appropriate information.
Whereas ICT provides a platform, generating useful and correct health information remains a big challenge.

Limitations of Government implemented projects 

Just as all our fingers are not of the same size, work culture too varies from place to place – whether government or private. We need to look at the positives and enhance those to make things work in good time.

The core difficult areas to be addressed in healthcare 

Human resources for health (HRH) problems are going to increase and inter-professional collaboration and task sharing would be inevitable. WHO has established a target minimum ratio of 23 health professionals (typically made up of a combination of doctors, nurses and midwives) per 10,000 inhabitants as necessary for achievements of the health MDGs. Digital tools can help in optimizing resources. Tele-health and mobile health initiatives are also moving in that direction.
Virtual storage (of health information) presents with the advantages of easy access, safety of backups and no worry about storage space. While the issues of privacy, confidentiality and security are genuine, technology is advancing day by day to take care of those. Nevertheless, an effective National e-Health Strategy will be necessary.

Success mantra:

I’d like to quote Swami Vivekananda: “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”

Home Page: https://sites.google.com/site/supten/

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