Digital transformation is fast-becoming a necessity in the Indian healthcare industry. Despite rapid growth in the economy, the country still lags behind when it comes to healthcare. Lack of doctors, proper infrastructure, inadequate data security, and other issues still plague this multi-billion-dollar industry. So, how exactly will digital transformation solve India’s healthcare crises?
The Healthcare Industry in India
Healthcare is a US$ 81.3 billion industry in India. That roughly estimates to about INR 54,086 lakh crore. Phew! That’s a mouthful to say but enough to estimate the size of this much-neglected industry. With over a billion in population, this number seems justified. But being such a huge industry, does India offer the same quality of care as that in other more developed countries? Does it need digital transformation to reach its maximum potential and offer healthcare to all of its citizens?
According to IBEF, the healthcare industry in India is projected to touch US$ 280 billion by 2020.
India spends about 4.7% of its GDP on healthcare. This is 5.6 times lower than what China spends and about 125 times lower than the United States. Even many low-income countries spend more than India on their healthcare programs. Public health is also a neglected area.
Challenges in the Healthcare Industry
You will agree when I say that the healthcare industry in India leaves a lot to be desired. There are a number of challenges that people face every single day to access basic healthcare facilities. There are three major areas that need immediate attention for healthcare to be made available for all.
Urban vs. Rural health
There is a great divide between the urban and rural class in India. This is especially glaring in the healthcare industry. According to reports, only about 31.5% of hospitals are situated in rural areas. A majority of healthcare professionals are available in urban areas compared to their rural counterparts. This may be due to a number of reasons a major one of which is the higher paying power of urbanites. About 80% of doctors are situated in urban sectors leaving rural areas with a dearth of adequate healthcare professionals.
Have you ever been to a government hospital? If you have, then you must have noticed the severe lack of infrastructure that is essential for a place that provides healthcare. The numbers too echo this fact. Did you know there is 1 government hospital bed for every 2,050 people or that there is 1 doctor for every 10,189 people? The US has 24.5 doctors for every 10,000 people compared to these dismal numbers in India. Besides these issues, there are no proper consultation or bookkeeping procedures that can hasten the diagnosis of an illness. Hence, a lot of patients are left in the lurch.
No health insurance
Anyone who’s ever been to a hospital for any kind of treatment knows that healthcare is not cheap. A simple consultation can range anywhere between INR 500 to INR 1000. Medicines too are not easy on the pocket. Healthcare companies mark-up medicine prices to maintain their market share, making it difficult for people to buy them. The solution is health insurance. But, like universal healthcare, insurance is a pipe dream. Government contribution of roughly 32% towards health insurance is hardly enough to cover basic medical costs. Therefore, healthcare becomes inaccessible to the poor, who need it the most.
Opportunities with Digital Transformation
The factors mentioned above need quick and sustainable solutions that are only possible with digital transformation. As such, the IT sector will be a major contributor to healthcare.
AI, Big Data, Business Analytics, IoT, and other digital technologies will play a significant role in improving the healthcare industry in India. The government is also actively involved in bringing universal healthcare to one and all via digital technologies.
Digital transformation can automate a plethora of tasks to make a patient’s life easy. Everything from scheduling a doctor’s appointment to diagnosing illness remotely can be achieved through a digital interface or application.
As seen above, rural areas are severely in need of a medical makeover. In order to make healthcare accessible to the rural populace, in situations where a doctor cannot be physically present, you can make use of telemedicine technology. Telemedicine/telehealth is a boon for patients and healthcare professionals, who are limited geographically and financially.
Technology can also be used to hasten certain processes, which traditionally would consume a lot of time. For instance, AI and deep learning can be used to improve MRIs and CAT scans to provide results within a matter of minutes. Big data can be used to store patient data and retrieve them as and when required. AR and VR can be used to perform surgeries without having to depend on a large team. Wearable devices, that are already available in the market, can be used to monitor health and take necessary actions for improvement.
These technologies have already been implemented on a small scale. Government hospitals are now IT-enabled. Smart card systems provide patients access to healthcare at any of these hospitals. Many computer and mobile-based applications were launched as far back as 2016. Applications such as Swastha Bharat, e-RaktKosh, ANMOL-ANM, and Remedinet Technology are initiatives by the government that aim to provide easier and cheaper access to healthcare.
Job Opportunities in Digital Healthcare
The healthcare industry needs individuals who are tech-savvy, empathetic, as well as insightful. Going by the current digital transformation trends, healthcare in India offers a lot of career opportunities. A career in the healthcare industry does not require you to have a medical degree. With the digitization of healthcare, you need skills in the tech domain. Professionals who are proficient in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, AR and VR, Blockchain Technologies, etc. will find enormous opportunities in healthcare. Some of the major roles they can expect include Clinical Applications Analyst, Clinical Informatics, Application Tester/Developer, Interaction Designer, Business Analyst, and many more.
So, why choose colleges abroad for a digital transformation course when you can get the same quality training right at home? Experienced professionals from the industry, French industry leaders, hands-on workshops, interactive seminars and sessions, and so much more are yours for the taking should you choose HETIC. It is one of the best courses in digital transformation that you can opt for. Where else would you get management, marketing, business, and technology under one single course?
Choosing the Digital Business program at HETIC puts you miles ahead when compared to choosing any conventional digital transformation course. Your pursuit of the best courses in digital transformation ends with HETIC.
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