The Smart City mission, a part of the Urban Rejuvenation initiative by the Government of India, is a step towards leveraging technology to create smart solutions to make our cities efficient and sustainable. This concept includes smart governance, education, and healthcare along with smart buildings, infrastructure and energy. The rise of digital India and the government’s ongoing initiatives towards digitisation have taken this concept from dream to a reality. Considering that the success ratio of any city is directly proportional to the health of its people, can the smart city and smart health concepts remain mutually exclusive?
Nilesh Vyas, a US-based technologist, has a long experience in healthcare systems and solutions. He is the founder of MARS Plus, a fully-integrated healthcare platform. “This digital age compels us to explore opportunities for doing things better. An integrated ecosystem for smart health is a strong push in making healthcare better, more organised and accessible for all,” he shares. He further gives a lowdown on the same.
According to him, new and emerging technologies in healthcare are driving the consumerisation of healthcare. The smart health ecosystem, much like the smart city concept, aims to leverage technologies to bring about healthcare transformation. This concept gives healthcare providers the option to leverage technologies to create a healthcare system that is more efficient, organised and resilient, thus helping them become more patientcentric by connecting the dots in our existing healthcare structure.
However, in order to reap the benefits of the ‘smart’ concept, what we need is a completely connected and integrated ecosystem that removes the silos that impede growth.
A connected healthcare system, much like the Smart City concept, leverages data to improve efficiencies. Whether it is to improve doctor-patient interactions, improve process efficiencies, or improve healthcare management, data is where we must look. However, when data is stored in siloes, it becomes hard to access and process. An integrated ecosystem takes care of this challenge and makes sure that the users and providers have anywhere, anytime access to all health-related data to facilitate better decision-making. An integrated platform that offers OPD, and IPD management, EHR/ EMR management, finance management, electronic medi-claim supplemented with data analytics helps in eliminating performance inhibitors in the hospital environment.
Such an integrated ecosystem works towards connecting all the stakeholders of healthcare on one platform to facilitate information exchange. This means the patient, the doctors, and the ancillary healthcare branches such as pharmacy both inside the hospital and outside, and labs are also connected seamlessly using a central network. Patient care, thus, becomes infinitely easier with greater access and management of health data for all stakeholders.
The data generated from smart health initiatives can be used to further public health initiatives. Identifying public health problems, assessing risks of pandemics and epidemics, facilitating better decision-making and proactive care become easier and efficient with the help of data.
Such systems can also help in better disease management by enabling better pre and post-operative care. Chronic health diseases management can become easier using mHealth. This helps in reducing hospital readmission rates. Additionally, this variety of data is a goldmine for aiding preventive medicine along with aiding research.
This article originally appeared in Times of India