Digitizing Healthcare – Where Does India Stand?

Digitizing Healthcare – Where Does India Stand?


Over the past 10 years the Western world has seen an unheard of health IT transformation. Hospitals, in addition as private clinics, have moved from the traditional paper-based systems to one where the patients have a digital record of their medical conditions and treatments. The enabler has clearly been a emotional uptake of electronic health records (EHR / EMR).

According to a data gathered in 2016 – over 95% of hospitals and nearly 80% of physicians in USA used EMR systems. The prevailing ecosystem is pushing both these numbers rapidly already more close to the 100% mark. Only 7 years prior (2009), the data stood at – under 10% hospitals and 17% physicians using electronic medical records systems. already though the dominant push to these numbers was triggered by government legislations – the impact on society and medical fraternity are the main benefits.

In India – technology has rapidly changed our lives over the last decade. We have seen one of the most rapid adoptions of mobile and internet, and prices are amongst the lowest in the world. already people living below poverty line consider mobile phone as a ‘must have’ – believing it to be an equalizer. however, however – the patient consultation course of action for a doctor remains largely traditional (historic) – paper based. While all of us expect, and need, banking, payments, tax filings, different information access, aim, taxi, air and already cinema bookings over the internet, our expectations in the management of health – our most important asset – have been surprisingly muted.

India has nearly 100,000 organized healthcare setups – including government and corporate hospitals, health centers, and nursing homes of various sizes. India also has nearly a million private clinics. While many large hospitals, and government run health centers in some states, have installed systems to capture patient & prescription details, no one is already thinking of the unorganized healthcare sector – being catered to by the million or so clinics. The only thing obtainable in the name of being ‘digital’ – for most metros and cities – is various doctor search sites and apps.

The chief of digital healthcare, an electronic medical records system, that both doctors and patients have access to – a Public EMR – is simply not obtainable. Is this something we can avoid for too long? Certainly not. Yes, there will always be people who consider letter writing as an act of ink hitting people – but rest of the world has moved to email and moment messaging. How rapidly will healthcare go digital?

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