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Demand of Advanced Technologies In Healthcare Industry

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Dr Indraneel Raut, Additional Director of Critical Care Department at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, talks about the healthcare sector in 2020

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Technology driving the healthcare sector in the year 2019 – 2020
Technology has already been driving health care since past few years and will continue to do so in 2019-20. For e.g. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has immense potential to drive digital transformation in health care by helping to automate tasks, process information and achieve critical decision making in matters of health. Improvements in data science and predictive analytics are highly likely. Various devices and mobile apps have come up to play a critical role in tracking and preventing chronic illnesses for many patients and their doctors. A new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has emerged by combining IoT development with telemedicine and telehealth technologies. For sharing large files, a variety of public, private and hybrid cloud-based platforms are available. Healthcare organizations are trying to address the need to build out, run and maintain infrastructure for record-keeping needs. Here cloud computing becomes an appealing choice for digital technology in healthcare. From educating new students to planning procedures, the field of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) in healthcare offers serious promise.

How emergency care and intensive care units need state of the art technology
Emergency care and intensive care requires quick or sometimes instant diagnosis and treatment because the delay of a single minute can make a difference in saving the life of the patient. Hence, the state of the art technology is a must in the areas to optimise patient care as much as possible.

Government initiatives to make healthcare services affordable
Some of the initiatives to make healthcare services affordable include:

  • RashtriyaSwasthyaBimaYojna which aims to provide health insurance coverage to the unrecognised sector workers belonging to below poverty line and their family members would-be beneficiaries.
  • Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi which provides financial assistance to patients that are below the poverty line and are suffering from life-threatening diseases. 
  • The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Yojna

In my opinion, the Maharashtra Government’s initiative to make government service compulsory for postgraduate students will help the poor access to quality healthcare with minimal cost provided the necessary infrastructure is made available for these qualified doctors. Also, it is compulsory for the corporate hospital to spend a part of the budget to give free treatment to the underprivileged. 

Improving ICU care and communication through technology
ICU care involves rapid diagnostics and treatments for better outcomes. Modern imaging technology brought to bedside has made diagnostics easier for the Intensivists. Modern diagnostic technologies are giving lab results much quicker and accurately than before thus optimising and ensuring safe treatment. Modern technology makes it possible for the treating consultant to sit at home and monitor their patients using their cell phones and guides doctors at bedside. The help of technology has minimised complications of bedside procedures such as inserting central lines, pleural fluid tapping, etc ICU. Modern hemodynamic monitoring devices (invasive as well as non-invasive) help in guiding the fluid therapy for patients in shock. Exchange of ideas about diagnostics and treatment is possible across the globe with telemedicine. Relatives, patients themselves and treating consultants can keep themselves upraised of their lab reports using their mobiles. E.g. In our hospital, all the critical lab values are messaged to the treating consultants automatically. EMRs in ICU have made tracking of records easier and also has ensured safety from manipulations of records. It has also helped in research. 

Launch of the ICU unit at Jaslok Hospital & What services and equipment Intensive care units contain
Recently 4 New ICU units (Total 37 beds) were launched on the 4th and 5th floor at Jaslok Hospital. The ICUs are well equipped with all the modern monitoring devices, ventilators and diagnostic imaging services at the bedside along with dialysis facility at the bedside.

A separate ICU area on 5th floor has been designated to treat the infected patients. 

A separate unit has been created for treating post-transplant patients like liver transplant and cardiac transplant. 

Three separate units with negative pressures have been made to accommodate and treat highly communicable infectious diseases such as H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu), Sputum positive tuberculosis, complicated chickenpox, etc.

In this state of art facility the patients are being taken care of by our experienced nursing staff and well-qualified doctors. 

Infection control practices are observed with strict supervision of the infection control nurses with regular surveillance for hospital-acquired infection.  

Importance of advanced technology critical care in India
Advanced technology and Critical Care in India is necessary to save millions of lives in our country and provide optimum care. Many of our modern ICUs in India are well equipped with all modern technology and quality critical care is being given. The advanced technology should be extended to as many ICUs as possible even in the peripheries and ICUs of government institutes as every individual rich or poor has a right to the best possible treatment. Extending modern technology to peripheral Critical Care Units will also reduce the deaths which occur during the transfer of critically ill patients to higher centres from a unit which does not have these facilities. 

Statistics of emergency cases and health problems known for the issues on the rise
With improved diagnostics and general awareness, the presentation of patients with cardiac ailments and strokes (paralytic attacks) to the emergency medical services have increased several-fold. Likewise, malignancies and chronic health problems like diabetes and hypertension are now diagnosed at an earlier stage. However, we still are lacking in early presentation and early diagnosis of sepsis. Sepsis, a manifestation of severe infection with widespread effects on the body, is often missed in its early stages and often fatal in its late stages.  

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