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Digital health tech on the rise in India

According to the Future Health Index (FHI) 2019 report, India is leading in the adoption of digital health technology with 76% of healthcare professionals in the country already using digital health records (DHRs) in their practice.

The FHI is based on primary research conducted across 15 countries. The research explores the experiences of healthcare professionals and individuals.

India meets the 15-country average when it comes to the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) within healthcare at 46%.

Digital health records can allow healthcare professionals to have access to more accurate, up-to-date and complete information about patients, while also allowing for more coordinated care across a patient’s entire healthcare journey.

The report confirms that digital health technology is a pivotal pillar in delivering value-based care across the healthcare continuum in India. Tools including telehealth and adaptive intelligence solutions can help lower the barriers between hospitals and patients, thereby improving access to care and enhancing overall patient satisfaction, particularity in tier II and III cities in India.

The study said that technology continues to evolve, and this will be a driver of continuous transformation in health systems around the world. As the challenges and needs evolve from country to country, healthcare professionals and patients must be willing to adapt as they adopt new technologies, learning and adjusting as they go.

80% of healthcare professionals in India have shared patient information with other professionals inside their health facility, which is equal to the number of healthcare professionals who share patient information electronically across the 15-country average.

The report showed that when Indian healthcare professionals are supported by digital technology, their experience improves. A majority of Indian healthcare professionals who use DHRs in their practice report that DHRs have a positive impact on quality of care (90%), healthcare professional satisfaction (89%), and patient outcomes (70%) when compared to the 15-country average of 69%, 64%, and 59% respectively.

64% of Indian healthcare professionals agree that patients having access to their own health data (including test results, prescriptions, scans, etc.) has positively impacted their patients’ experience.

87% of Indians with access to their digital health record say they want their healthcare professionals to have access as well.

The reported also noted that about two-thirds (67%) of Indians feel comfortable or neutral about seeking medical advice from their doctor through a health application on their phone, suggesting a high willingness and openness to further adopt telehealth and unlock its benefits.

About half (49%) of Indians say they know nothing at all about the benefits of digital health technology or mobile health apps in healthcare. Providing education and information around the benefits of these technologies will be key in taking Indians along this technological healthcare journey.

India’s government has been pushing for the adoption of technology in the public healthcare sector. As OpenGov reported earlier, India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) collaborated with an apex healthcare industry to leverage the benefits of IoT and AI.

The organisations said they would work to improve technology adoption through co-creation programs. Focussing on IoT, AI, machine learning, robotics, virtual reality, and blockchain technologies that have a positive impact on improving healthcare in India.

Also, the agencies will jointly work with central and state government organisations, NGOs and corporate CSR Teams to identify healthcare projects that have a significant impact on public health. They will work towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support the government in achieving healthcare goals.

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