What are the latest trends and challenges in the e-health industry? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
According to WHO, E-health may be defined as the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health including treating patients, conducting research, educating the health workforce, tracking diseases and monitoring public health. This term emerged early in 21st century and has been active tool for providing better healthcare services with more efficiency and effectiveness since then. One of the main advantages of this service is that it has reduced the efforts, time and money of people. It has empowered the patients and consumers, developed a better relationship between patients and health professionals. It has removed time and distance barriers to the flow of heath information and has made staying healthy a possible and feasible choice.
Current Scenario in My Country
India is a vast country with complex socio-economic characteristics that are reflected in its medical systems. These include an insufficient number of primary care doctors practicing in rural and semi-urban areas and an ongoing need to update the knowledge of those who do work in rural areas. Qualified doctors’ practice can diverge widely from standards of care, with many medical practitioners lacking formal qualifications altogether. About 80% of the population depends on non-allopathic medicine and a study of the Indian pharma industry has estimated that the penetration of modern medicine in the country is only 30%. Also, out-of-pocket expenditure, which constitutes around 80% of the total healthcare spending in India, may be further inflated by travel costs in both urban and rural areas. Thus, many conditions remain untreated or are managed with prescription medicines purchased over-the-counter or by faith healers. The growth in healthcare sector of india .
Therefore, most part of the population today, particularly the rural areas has limited access to adequate health care servces which has a lot of scope for further improvement.
Government Initiatives Towards E-Health
The notion of E-health gained popularity in the 1990s at a time when public expansion of the Internet promised to transform information exchange, product acquisition, and service delivery to a new level. Government of different countries like US, China considered these services to improve their countries health expenditure. Similarly, Government of India and different state governments also took the following initiatives.
• DVDMS (LMIS) Drugs & Vaccine Distribution Management system and Uttar Pradesh HMIS are developed to capture all data requirements of different programs going on in the state.
• Hospital Information System in Gorakhpur has been developed to make the process of hospitalization easier for patients.
• Initiatives like ASHA Mobile Application and Mobile Kunji – academy helped people by counseling pregnant women and converse through audio-visual digital media.
• RMNCH Dashboard and RBSK – Resource Planning System for Ghaziabad District ventured efficient database and recordability.
Research on the benefits of using wide area network technologies had suggested that distributed computing could bring people and resources together in ways that had not been seen before.
Advantages of E-Health
• Cost Effective: It is economical and eco-friendly as there is reduction in paper waste. Also the physical storage reduction enhances its scope.
• Digital and Technological Advancement: Information technology is increasingly playing a role in almost all process, from patient registration to billing, from diagnostics tests to self-care tools.
• Convenient: Test results are directly sent to the patient’s Smartphone and patients can also store the electronic medical records (EMR) for future references. People get rid of long queue of appointments and easy health services.
• Privacy and Security of electronic records: Earlier on-paper record management was too vulnerable, but in today’s era data is secured and authorized access is granted through platforms like cloud computing.
• Conceptualized Sustainability: Concept-mapping was used to identify the conceptual structure of sustainability more precisely than was possible and a visual representation of dimensions of program sustainability. A focus prompts is made to develop the framework.
Limitations and Solutions to E-Health Problems
1. The literacy rate of India is very low and most of the rural people living in our country prefer to speak and use their regional language Removing the language barrier from the E-health services by providing them things and data in their native languages
2. Cyber crimes To eradicate multiple or fake users, aadhar card attachment should be made mandatory.
3. Deficiency of internet and power supply There should be servers installed for large coverage of data and analysis. Government must also provide more devices which enables E-health services to remote corners of the country.
4. Awareness The heads of the societies, especially panchayat heads in rural areas can educate and further convey others to spread e-health services for making others aware about such schemes.
5. Information and transparency absent A unique ID code for patient can be developed and all the records related to that person previous data remains saved .
6. Government lacks affordability to provide E-health services online. As per data, the expenditure on e -services by the Indian government is 4.7%. which still lags behind some of the BRICS nations.