Dr Gunjan Dhawan, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals
The 21st century is the era of technology. Technology, which is facilitating in making the citizen of each nationality a global citizen. Bridging communication gaps, bringing people closer, information today is just a click away. The power of technology and its contribution to growth in every sphere is incomparable to none other.
Studies suggest that 29% of Americans say their phone is the first and last thing they look at every day which is a sign of how connected we are becoming to technology on a day to day basis. Surely, many of us might be able to relate to those statistics.
Technology has allowed health care practitioners to offer cheap, faster and more efficient patient care than ever before. Implementation of the Hospital Information system (HIS) is one of the best examples of the advances in healthcare. It has very well brought all stakeholders in the healthcare facility including the patients much closer to each other. With the implementation of more facility specific refined versions of the HIS, we can be sure of positive implications. Some of the positive impacts seen so far include:
- Leaner Hospital processes
- Faster availability of diagnostic tests/results/treatment
- Accessibility to patient information made easier
- Better patient outcomes
- Forecasting of anticipated diseases/epidemics/outbreaks
- Better clinical pathways
- Improved patient safety tools
All these implications and much more ultimately help save cost, reach out to more patients simultaneously, have a more robust and less person dependent communication systems, the correctness of information thereby improving patient satisfaction and efficiency in the overall hospital system. This is the magnitude of impact that one of the healthcare IT tool i.e. HIS has had in Healthcare.
And what is Big about ‘Big Data’ after all? Harnessing health data is another incompletely utilized domain in Healthcare IT which can certainly accelerate the growth in our sector. Data captured through the HIS and other technological tools allow doctors/researchers/hospital managers to understand a disease, capture the trend and statistically understand its implications in the long term more adequately. This is not restricted to a hospital facility only, but it may be a state, country and beyond. Venturing into big data analysis of our patients will help us better capture the incidence and prevalence of various diseases affecting the population. It will facilitate in better and finer understanding of the universe of the Healthcare ecosystem at large.
Furthermore, cloud computing makes a huge amount of data easy to access and analyze thus facilitating improvements and innovations. For patients and doctors, this will digitize the current paper based system and improve the everyday needs of both. Technology trends today are sure to mould Healthcare industry on the path of growth and make it provider and consumer friendly.
From Fit Bits for one to keep track of their calorie consumption and much more, to Quit Bits, an electronic lighter specially designed for smokers by providing data driven feedback, the Internet of Things has come as a high tide like never before. Another example of the IoT, are devices used to encourage respiratory health through breathing exercises. Mostly targeting asthma patients, especially children, this device adopts the “gamification” model to make it more fun. The device works like a game controller, much like the Nintendo’s oblong. The difference is that the user uses their breath to control the movement of the fish (in the game) and score points, as against the utilization of the thumb. The device even pairs with the mobile devices giving real time data and breathing trends to the parent and doctors to further analyze.
Gripping and futuristic, the IoT can sense the environment and communicate it. What’s revolutionary about this is that it is all real time and can also work without human intervention. Healthcare is in an exciting phase, and there are lots to look forward to and implement. New age technology is certainly a positive disruptor and is here to stay bringing in exciting times ahead.