Era of 'smart patient' digital healthcare

Era of 'smart patient' digital healthcare

Of late, India has been witnessing exponential change in the delivery of healthcare services. A seamless transition from the traditional to the digital model has triggered a new wave, empowering the provider as well as the consumers. Certain services such as telemedicine, predictive diagnostics and technologies such as wearable sensors and hybrid technology-enabled apps are set to transform the way health is managed.

The healthcare sector has always been rife with several challenges. However, post the launch of digitisation in the country, several new trends have evolved in healthcare industry, thereby, addressing most of these concerns.

Today, more number of healthcare consumers demand for personalised care as an 'empowered option' which helps them in gathering greater insights on addressing their health issues more confidently.

Therefore, need of the hour is a patient-centric digital healthcare system, which will reduce the occurrence of human error, save cost and also help in providing a better quality of life. Interestingly, the acceptability of digitally-enabled products for managing personal healthcare is increasing more than ever, paving way for the democratisation of healthcare.

More doctors and patients are embracing technology to increase the precision and quality of healthcare causing a self-disruption in healthcare communication. Most of the healthcare providers and consumers today are updated about the availability of advanced technology to improve the healthcare experience.

Because of the widespread penetration of smartphones across the country, patients are encouraged to exchange messages of medical consultation through WhatsApp, SMS, apps, and emails, leading to a bi-directional flow of information with healthcare providers.

Managing the vast and extended health reports and data has become easier through the integration of advanced software. The Electronic Health Record (EHR), which digitises patient information, provides the doctors direct access to the patients' health records.

Technologically advanced services offered by eHealth and mHealth could even help combat diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease etc by delivering high-quality medical services within the easy reach of the consumers.

Digital healthcare has elevated patients from their existing state of 'enforced passiveness', providing them with appropriate medical assistance and aiding them in making informed decisions. The internet has brought knowledge right to the fingertips of patients, making them more aware of their health and wellbeing and in evolving as active contributors to their own healthcare.

Patient-centric system

Healthcare is becoming patient-centric by embracing a value-based model. In fact, the healthcare industry is trying to introduce innovative business models to integrate the digital world with healthcare to augment superior patient outcomes and provide a full continuum of care.

Active healthcare consumers are experiencing an array of benefits after the paradigm shift from traditional to digital model of services. The empowered 'smart patients' avail online sources to attempt further research on their diseases and symptoms while taking the ownership of their health and complete care.

Technology has facilitated people to keep a track of what's happening within their body through simple gadgets like smartphones. Monitoring the calorie count, keeping track of the medication and even storing medical records in the cloud, help the consumer to be fully equipped to handle their personal healthcare, smartly and efficiently.

The government has taken several commendable initiatives in Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve the delivery of public healthcare. ICT has a large potential to reduce global burden of disease with the support of the innovative medical technology and is acting as a facilitating tool for superior healthcare delivery in both urban and rural areas.

There has always been a big concern regarding the disruptive healthcare service in rural areas due to the limited access to critical care and a shortage of healthcare professionals. The Centre has taken various steps in encouraging an open dialogue between public and private stakeholders, to overcome the challenges faced by consumers.

Owing to the rapidly advancing technology, consumers have surely raised the bar of expectation on delivering quick and non-disruptive services. This is the rise of the era of the democratisation of healthcare.

(The writer is CEO, Zoylo Digihealth)