Three Stories That Show That Healthcare Is Already Smart

Technology is rapidly changing the way the world operates. Industries across the globe have been accepting technological advancements with open arms. The implication of technology has changed the way things worked. Every industry today is largely dependent upon the technological advancements for its operation. Artificial Intelligence and data computing have made things, which once seemed unachievable, simpler, and faster.

Healthcare is one industry which has benefitted by technological advancements in a great way. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that the medical and healthcare industry is the one that paved the way for technological innovations and advancement. From X-Ray machines to online access to medical services, the healthcare industry has come a long way in reaping the fruits of technological advancements.

Today’s era is driven by ‘smart’ working and by smart we mean technologically smart ways of working. Every industry today has adopted smart ways of operating – from collecting and maintaining data to providing online solutions, you name it and you have it.

Is Healthcare Already Smart?

Medical and healthcare industry has been the fastest growing industry to adopt technological changes. Here are three stories that reflect how the healthcare industry has changed over the years:

Getting blood tests done is as easy as ordering a pizza these days

“Getting a blood test had never been this simple. Earlier I had to keep aside an entire day for my mother’s blood tests. Collecting the report required another half day’s time to queue up at the centre. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Now I book an appointment online and the representative from the lab comes to our home and collects the sample. Reports are now sent directly to the email address. It has become as easy as getting a pizza delivered to your house!’ – Harman Singh, 45 years, MNC employee.

Harman’s mother, aged 68, has been diabetic ever since his birth and getting blood sugar tested has been an arduous task for them. Not only it required a lot of time, but the travelling had also started to add to his aging mother’s health woes. Getting the blood sample collected from the comfort of one’s home and having the test reports delivered via email, has been a blessing for patients like Harman’s mother.

No more waiting at the doctor’s clinic for getting reports checked

Waiting at the doctor’s for a diagnosis isn’t as painful as waiting to get your reports checked.

“I had once waited for two and half hours to get my son’s reports checked while he was home alone with a high fever. Thanks to doctors who are available via emails and WhatsApp, you don’t need to wait up for this anymore.” – Sunita Joshi, 28 years, homemaker.

Sunita is not the only one who has been in such a tricky situation. More often than not, a patient is not in a condition to visit the doctor multiple times and the care-taker ends up doing so at the cost of leaving the patient unattended for hours.

The doctor’s availability on online mediums like emails and WhatsApp has not only helped people like Sunita but has also helped in shortening the queue at the doctor’s clinic.

No more shuffling between doctors with a load of files

Gone are the days when the patient would require visiting different doctors with numerous files encasing their medical history. The online patient record system has been a boon both for doctors as well as patients. It not only lets the doctor refer to the patient’s medical history at just a click of a button but also helps in accurate diagnosis and treatment.

“My brother met with an accident ten years ago and ever since he has undergone multiple surgeries and many treatments. Visiting a new doctor would be a task for us. Carrying so many reports and remembering every small little detail was challenging. Forgetting even the most minute information could prove to be fatal to his health. With the new online patient data system, it has become so much easier. I don’t get anxiety attacks before visiting a doctor anymore.”– Archana Suri, 35 years, Government employee.

It is essential to remember and recall a patient’s medical history when visiting a doctor. Missing out on anything can become a hurdle in proper diagnosis thereby affecting the treatment of the patient. It is difficult to remember every detail about patients with long medical history. The introduction of online patient record system has made it hassle-free for the doctors as well as patients.

These are just some of the stories that reflect that the healthcare system has become smarter in its operation. Owing to these changes, the diagnosis and treatments have become far more accurate. Technology is helping in eliminating judgement of error in several ways.

 

Networking for Smart City and Smart Health

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