Healthcare Digital Platforms are a Must and Here’s Why – ET HealthWorld

by Venky Ananth

Over the years, healthcare has emerged as a key sector of the Indian economy. The demand for healthcare is growing, spurred on by factors such as a burgeoning middle class, greater awareness about health, and an increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases. Growing healthcare costs as well as the demand for quality healthcare have also resulted in greater demand for health insurance in India. In addition, initiatives by the Government such as the integration of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) with Aarogya Setu will transform the access to digital health records for Indians.

Driven by all these factors, the healthcare market in India is expected to touch US$ 372 billion by 2022.

At the same time, we’re seeing significant shifts in technology that promise to transform healthcare and enable highly specialized, personalized care for common citizens. These shifts will be powered by digital platforms and democratized data.

Digital adoption in healthcare
Digital adoption in healthcare has been modest and lags in other sectors. In India, as the population demographics evolve over the years with the average age of the population increasing, the healthcare needs will evolve too. At the same time, the younger population seeks a different experience and better visibility.

Most organisations still rely on legacy platforms that are ill-equipped to handle the changing dynamics of the healthcare sector and deliver superior experiences. A healthcare digital platform that is powered by the integration of applications and emerging technologies can help deliver a tailored healthcare solution to drive superior business outcomes and better care.

A Better Healthcare Experience
A digital platform approach promises to benefit all stakeholders, whether healthcare providers, insurance players, employers, or end-users. While a digital platform will empower providers to provide comprehensive care to patients, it will help end-users to get more consistent and better treatment based on their unique medical history.

For instance, these digital platforms can facilitate patient education and provide companion applications for patient self-management, especially in the case of chronic conditions. Through timely and data-driven insights, such a platform can improve the patient’s efficacy in handling their health and give them back control of their health condition. This is possible through services that provide assistance around drug dose calculation on a day-to-day basis as well as push notifications and scheduled reminders to take the medications. Real-time monitoring and interventional functionalities can help prevent life-threatening situations that result from the traditional reactive approach to illness.

A digital platform approach can also help augment the existing healthcare infrastructure. For example, given that there is a shortage of trained doctors in India, an AI-based treatment recommendations engine, can assist doctors and help address the demand-supply gap.

For insurance companies, there is an opportunity to emerge as aggregators of health data. With the right data and insights, they can be better equipped to focus on improving member engagement and improving care delivery while keeping costs in check.

Overall, a platform-centric approach can reduce the cost of care, improve the quality of care, and drive greater customer satisfaction. Globally too, studies find that reducing administrative costs, managing risk and compliance, and supporting increasing demand are the top three objectives of deploying digital platforms.

Embracing Digital Platforms
Despite the apparent advantages of a digital platform-centric approach to healthcare, there are several factors that impact adoption. For example, existing investments in legacy capabilities can prove to be a deterrent. Also, the inability to showcase the right business cases that demonstrate real value can also hold organisations back. Also, embracing a platform approach often requires organisations to change the organizational culture and adopt new ways of addressing business imperatives. This can be challenging for organisations that are biased toward traditional processes.

Still, with cloud emerging as the desired technology to deliver business outcomes, adoption will grow. A cloud-based digital platform supported by emerging technologies such as IoT, blockchain, automation, data and analytics, and AI can play a significant role in transforming the healthcare experience. These can not only bring process improvements but also help boost collaboration with stakeholders and unlock the power of existing data.

Healthcare technology solutions such as digital platforms available today have the power to help completely re-invent healthcare infrastructure to boost the quality of care for future generations. However, it requires a mix of determination, imagination, and technology enablement to make it a reality.

Venky Ananth, SVP and Global Head of Healthcare, Infosys

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)

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