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India Is Becoming Self-reliant In Healthcare With AI, IoT

The advent of digital technologies has substantially transformed the healthcare landscape over the past few years

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The abundant data generated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has given researchers and medical service providers, including equipment manufacturers, the opportunity to analyse trends, monitor patient populations, and address longstanding issues in the healthcare industry. Having the ability to anticipate the impact of a treatment is critical in the midst of a healthcare crisis. Medical service providers are increasingly turning to predictive tools to understand better which patients are at risk, where resources are most needed, and where the disease is likely to spike next. 

The advent of digital technologies has substantially transformed the healthcare landscape over the past few years. It has accelerated the need for care providers and medical device manufacturers to set up agile and efficient IT Infrastructure while maintaining high product quality and controlling cost. 

The rapid digitisation within the healthcare ecosystem has left healthcare providers with a lot of data that lies mostly untapped. This data can be extremely beneficial in having predictive analysis for better treatment of patients. From improving the diagnosis to monitoring the vitals and from drug discovery to assisting in robotics surgery, technology can deliver breakthrough results. It not only empowers care providers to act quickly and effectively but also eliminates any possibility of incorrect diagnosis. However, the use of technology in the healthcare ecosystem is crucial for

Enhancing Patient Experience 

Why it is important for healthcare providers: AI and IOT implementation is one of the most disruptive and potentially impactful advancements in the healthcare sector. It has the potential to bring about significant improvements in the healthcare ecosystem. It can help improve outcomes by improving the experience patients have at each stage of their treatment. According to a study by research firm Frost & Sullivan, AI can improve patient outcomes by 30 per cent to 40 per cent while reducing treatment costs by up to 50 per cent. 

The AI-led predictive approach can be used to detect early warning signs that, if left unattended, could be disastrous. It enables healthcare providers to take a comprehensive approach to disease/illness management, better coordinate care plans and assist patients with their healthcare treatment programmes. For instance, if a patient has a pacemaker, it needs to be monitored for a precise diagnosis, consultation and the next level of treatment.  

Similarly, the industry also wants smart and connected hospitals. Having smart beds is the need of the hour. They not only monitor the vitals like body temperature, heartbeat, blood flow, oxygen and heart rate but are also embedded with sensors to alert nurses when the patient gets out of bed. All these things go into the making of an excellent omnichannel patient experience. 

Why it is important for Medical Device Manufacturers:  For medical device manufacturers, ensuring uninterrupted and reliable services under all circumstances is the key. Leveraging IoT sensors to collect, interpret and deliver machine data can have a huge impact on service quality and subsequently, on patient care. Therapeutic devices having connected sensors can make management and maintenance of critical equipment safer and smarter. 

Preventive maintenance powered by AI and driven by IoT can anticipate machine or component failure and provide recommendations for quick and accurate repairs. For healthcare providers, it means lower downtime and improved patient outcomes. Using the maintenance data from the devices and applying advanced analytics, medical device manufacturers can help their customers from incurring excessive costs. 

Streamlining Hospital Operations 

AI and IoT have the power to enable healthcare providers to improve workflows, cut waste, reduce errors and shift human employees’ focus from manual data entry to more complex tasks that require a human touch. It also helps in streamline administration functions like scheduling patient visits, maintaining sanitization standards, equipment utility tracking, and predictive maintenance of expensive equipment. For instance, if a hospital needs a set of equipment for a surgery, they can get it from medical devices and equipment manufacturers. The IT integrated technology helps here in tracking the usage of these equipment. 

At the same time, another important aspect which needs due attention is Cybersecurity.  AI-enabled solutions can help health systems reduce risk by recognising behaviours that are not genuine, such as a user trying to access patient logs from a suspicious location. Cybersecurity helps hospitals avoid data leaks and other security threats. 

India Landscape

Presently, most hospitals are running on monolithic architecture. The patient data landscape stands largely fragmented. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) contain multiple fields of mostly unstructured data. The IT infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Business workflows are outdated and there is no automation.   

Digitisation, automation and technological enablement will redefine how healthcare providers and medical device manufacturers use data to treat patients better.  The healthcare sector has been through a lot of challenges, especially in the wake of COVID-19. The care providers and medical device manufacturers need continued focus on modernizing their existing systems and processes to move beyond these bottlenecks and capitalize on the opportunities. 

According to a study, India’s digital healthcare market was valued at INR 116.61 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.41 per cent to INR 485.43 billion by 2024. To tap this huge opportunity, healthcare providers need to adapt to innovative technologies that transform the way industry operates in the country. 

This will lead to major transformation in the healthcare delivery model in India and take a huge leap forward. Furthermore, healthcare organizations have realized that services or products won’t serve the purpose in the future. It is crucial to engage with the users throughout the healthcare value chain, be it patients or physicians. Fortunately, advances in technology have shown promise to enhance patients' healthcare experience and accelerate the transformation process for healthcare in India. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Mukul Singhal

SVP, Global Head, Life Sciences, (Delivery and Operations), Birlasoft

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