From inadequate government spending to sub-standard health infrastructure, absence of a robust regulatory environment to a discrepancy of care quality between the rural and urban populace, India’s myriad of healthcare challenges have been widely discussed and debated.
Despite these difficulties, many industry observers appear optimistic and proffer that technology deployment might just be the remedy for the country’s healthcare woes.
In a 2016 report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the consulting services firm puts digital adoption for the Indian healthcare segment as a significant contributor to the current $100 billion market. Additionally, Deloitte forecast that this market will reach $280 billion in 2020.
Current developments also indicate that India’s healthcare providers are planning to increase technology investments over the coming years in the hopes of boosting quality of patient care and improving efficiency gains.
Among industry conversations on how best to take India’s digital healthcare strategy forward, Elsevier CEO Rob Mobed participated in a strategic, C-level panel discussion at the recent India-UK Tech Summit. The summit brings together thought leaders, businesses, educational institutions and innovators to explore the future of India-UK collaboration as an integral part of a UK trade mission to India led by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
In the panel discussion, Mobed said India has a huge opportunity to use its rapidly developing digital infrastructure to bridge knowledge gaps, increase capacity and bring better healthcare to its huge population, both in its ever growing mega-cities and in rural areas where millions of people still reside.
By working in partnership with India’s government and health services, he said, Elsevier can help India in a range of ways across stakeholder groups:
- Giving patients the ability to self-diagnose and seek expert consultation using telemedicine through the deployment of internet-based symptom checkers, which effectively democratizing patient access to usable medical information.
- Providing evidence-based clinical reference at point-of-care to clinicians, directly impacting the quality of care and effectively increasing capabilities and capacity in the system.
- Delivering integrated decision support solutions to the entire care team, helping introduce world-class standards and increase coordination of care.
- Offering medical training for nurses and health assistants – the backbone of India’s health services – through online adaptive learning to boost capabilities and capacity in the system.
Looking further into the future, he added, Elsevier will be able to do even more to advance India healthcare with data integration and analytics, such as:
- Integrating patient information into online triage and self-care;
- Identify patients most at risk of re-admission to hospital and enabling clinicians to intervene early to prevent this from happening.
The session was attended by more than 100 participants. Other panelists were Dr. Balram Bhargava, Professor of Cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and leader in the field of biomedical innovation; Dr. Charit Bhograj, cardiologist at Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru, and founder of the healthcare analytics startup Tricog; and engineer and healthcare entrepreneur Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of Babylon Health.
They all agreed that appropriate technological innovations for the advancement of healthcare delivery will help the country overcome issues of access and quality. They further suggested that the Indian government play an active role in supporting technological interventions to promote population health.
Moderating the panel discussion was Robert Shaw, Chief Operating Officer of NHS Digital, who shared his experiences and key learnings from UK’s technology adoption in the National Health Service (NHS).
In a separate session, Dr. Robert Dunlop, Clinical Director of InferMed, demonstrated to an interested crowd how Elsevier’s Arezzo decision support technology is able to deliver evidence-based, point-of-care solutions to areas that are remote and inaccessible. Dr. Dunlop also showcased what InferMed is able to accomplish in telemedicine, clinical triage and primary care settings, and cited evidence of its success from nationwide InferMed deployment in countries including New Zealand, Scotland and England. InferMed was acquired by Elsevier in 2015.