ICTpost Healthcare Bureau
This is an exciting time in health care. India needs to increase the accessibility of health care coverage, lower health care costs, increase consumer protections and improve the quality of care. In 2018, Telemedicine – remote diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients via videoconferencing or the Internet – was seen as a fast-emerging trend in India. Telemedicine was supported by exponential growth in the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, and plummeting telecom costs. Several major private hospitals have adopted telemedicine services, including those that have developed Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), such as the AIIMS. There are approximately 120 telemedicine centres across the country, and the government has pledged support for hundreds more.
While there is no single solution that will eliminate health and health care disparities, advances in technology offer some exciting possibilities. Health IT and the use of electronic health records have the potential to transform the health care delivery system into one that is more patient-centered and coordinated, with improved quality and lowered costs. Primary care physicians could help address health disparities between black and white patients if they implement electronic health records, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. According to the study, 69% of blacks and 75% of whites who received care at primary care offices that used paper-based medical records had their blood pressure relatively under control. At physician offices that used EHRs, 75% of blacks and 78% of whites had acceptable blood pressure levels, the study found.
A booming healthcare insurance scenario is paving the way for hospitals to be able to afford use of technologies such as HIS and EMR. With the introduction of 4G, the possibilities of remote treatment and diagnosis of patients through mobile phones have been strengthened. In 2011, the number of cell phone users in India stood at approximately 600 million, with a projected increase of 20 million each month. In 2018, some telecom operators and value-added service developers started usage of mobile phones for diagnostic and treatment support, remote disease monitoring, health awareness and communication.
With the introduction of 4G ready devices, which have much bigger screen to facilitate content and application placement the mHealth space is poised to get even more expansive.
Mobile technologies deliver new possibilities
mHealth applications can help patients and health care professionals work together to manage diseases and health conditions. In-home monitoring devices can collect and transmit data to medical professionals and empower patients by helping them play an active role in their own health management. Most notably, this has been successful for diabetes patients who may need a little extra help with medication adherence.
Many new mHealth applications and devices are on the horizon. Some of the ingenious wireless technologies include:
Wearable biosensors that can monitor blood pressure or respiratory rates and transmit the data directly to health care professionals;
Advanced in-home monitoring systems that can allow elderly patients or individuals with disabilities to enjoy increased independence and quality of life; and
Medicine bottles that remind patients to take their pills.
These mHealth technologies have tremendous potential to solve many health challenges, as well as to eliminate health disparities and barriers to care that exist in many minority communities, including AAs and NHPIs.
Technology access presents another barrier
Unfortunately, these technologies are not without their own challenges. Low-income communities and communities of colour often lack access to the high-speed broadband that supports these life-saving and enhancing technologies. Without a dedicated push to promote the adoption of new technologies in underserved communities, many may continue to be denied access to such technologies.
Given that the Internet, and access to it, will play an increasingly vital role in our daily lives going forward, we need to work to ensure that the existing infrastructure is being utilized in smart and efficient ways that will promote continued expansion, growth, and long-term investment. Sensible, modern approaches are needed to encourage investment and access to all Americans.
A recent White Paper released by PWC India painted a bleak picture for the mobile ecosystem in the coming 2-3 years. One feels that in the forthcoming years, mobile value-added services (m-VAS) should lead the growth from the front. Further, the m-VAS content developers should explore innovation opportunity from the service providers, especially for the content for rural India, as the citizens there would need information on health, education, weather, market and various policies and schemes of the government that would benefit them. It would definitely take few years to saturate this eco-system as the content space is very large and diverse, due to language, culture, knowledge-base and other specificities.
Public and private sectors must work together to ensure that these vital technologies do not fail us and to pave the way for new innovations. This issue will require meaningful outreach to diverse and underserved communities and providers, as well as creative solutions and pioneering new firstname.lastname@example.org