Sangita Reddy, Apollo on Digital Transformation in Healthcare

One of the significant aspects which is transforming the way healthcare delivered, is the use of technology in care and whether we are talking about the electronic health record which is one of the major projects that FICCI is recommending to the Government that we should have a Universal health record that should be linked to the UHID. This in fact is an algorithm developed by TCS & Apollo and donated into the public domain so that everybody can have a common numbering system. From that the benefit to patients would be, irrespective of which doctor they go to they can have access to their record and this will enable a continuum of care. This can also be linked to devices, so that they want to wear a Fitbit and would want to track their number of steps or moving on to an acute patient who is linked to a cardiac monitoring and would want to happen this at home- all these are enabling underline technologies that need to be integrated for more evolved healthcare system which uses technology appropriately.

I think, there is a great need to have a Universal Health portal, where patients can just log in and find which is the hospital closest to them, what facilities do they have and which insurance coverage so are they empowered to go into that hospital. Imagine for an Arogya Bharat or Ayushman Bharat patient how would they find out where they are supposed to go. So there is a range of technologies which are evolving and which the country would be very much benefited by creating. I think the time has come now to also find ways to manufacture technologies in India, so that the cost comes down. Because right now every new hospital spends a tremendous amount of money and almost 17% of their budget annually on replenishment of new equipment and technology. So people who are talking about bringing down the cost of healthcare must clearly understand that one of the biggest input cost is first of course is the manpower and second the cost of the materials and large equipment which is used in hospitals. Unless we find ways to bring down that cost it is very difficult to bring down the cost of care any further. What is more important is to find mechanisms to enable like insurance, which enable us to defray this cost of care across the population and not just on the family who has someone who is ill.

The next important aspect is to focus on preventive healthcare, so that people do not get extremely sick or the number of people who gets sick comes down and the overall burden of disease in the population is reduced. This can happen like one we have done in our village Aroganda in a project called “TOTAL HEALTH”, you first focus on the social determinants of health which is

a) Clean drinking water,

b) Sanitation and

c) Nutrition.

By taking care of just these three, you’ll significantly reduce the incidents of disease. Then you move on to the provisioning of care and screening and early detection and the biggest burden which is Non-communicable Disease find ways to screen, monitor and keep under control of the NCDs.  Whether it is blood pressure, obesity or diabetes – these three factors are contributing to the largest number of advance surgeries which are happening because of these uncontrolled conditions. So an overall holistic view to care a pro-active intervention at the right time an ability to share the skills and the resources available across the ecosystem at the point of care using technology and finally Artificial Intelligence to enhance and enable doctors to handle more and more complex situations. All these are the things which will happen in the future of healthcare. We look forward to making India healthier and happier.

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