The condition of a chronically-ill person deteriorates seriously and she is rushed to her regular hospital late in the night. The night staff however is unable to find her file. The doctor on duty, unaware that she is allergic to a particular drug administers it, with disastrous effects. This scene may be playing out in several Indian hospitals and nursing homes that do not maintain electronic medical records (EMRs). But I think this is bound to change in the coming years and the results of the FTOB Healthcare survey of companies conducted by Wipro reinforce my belief: 27% of the respondents (all executives of Indian healthcare companies) said they would implement an electronic health records system.
I also noted that 23% intend to implement a hospital information management system (HIMS), with several respondents citing better information management as one of the factors driving them to adopt advanced technology solutions. However, I found that that lowering of health care costs and ability to deliver better quality of patient care featured even higher in the list of technology adoption drivers. And while I think technology can play a huge role in managing customer expectations and adhering to compliance and regulatory norms, the survey respondents did not seem to think so and ranked them quite low on the driver list.
In addition to EMRs and HIMS, I found a few other technology solutions on the respondent wish list and the corresponding figures tell an interesting story. Considering the potential of cloud computing in the Indian healthcare services arena, I was surprised to see that only 13% of the respondents planned to leverage the cloud. It is the same for healthcare analytics. I believe analytics can work wonders in the healthcare space especially if healthcare companies share data among themselves. But it looks like healthcare companies in the country are still not open to analyzing their massive data troves if the survey report is any indication. I think technology companies should focus more on creating awareness about the power of the cloud and analytics among healthcare companies.
Mobility and wearable devices with sensors figure even lower in the list at 8% and 6% respectively. As customer expectations in India rise, I think this is likely to change. Augmented reality (AR), the technology that excites me the most, features last on the list. I recently read about an AR iPad app that allows surgeons to see hidden blood vessels inside organs during surgery. This I think is just a precursor to future innovations wherein AR intersects with other cutting edge technologies.
Can you think of other advanced technology solutions that Indian healthcare companies can leverage? Also, can you foresee any innovations that could revolutionize services provided by healthcare companies? Please share your thoughts in the section below.