“Men have become the tools of their tools,” said Thoreau in the 19th century. What he would have made of today’s seemingly excessive dependence on technology is anybody’s guess. Well, I say that if today we’ve become the tools of the technology we’ve created, there is a strong underlying reason - they have helped us to become more efficient in our lives, both personal and professional. Being an IT consultant, I would especially vouch for the tremendous benefits that IT brings to businesses across the spectrum. Take the healthcare business for instance. The innovations in the space are quite stupendous and are changing the world of healthcare services to such a great extent that even Indian healthcare companies once reluctant to bet on technology are willing technology investors today.
I was recently reading the report of the FTOB-Healthcare survey of Indian healthcare companies conducted by Wipro. More than three-fourth of the respondents expected their IT budgets/ expenditure to climb through FY16. Half the respondents even expected their IT expenditures as a percentage of revenues to double to 10% by that time. I was keen to know the exact reasons for this jump in confidence. The answers I found in the report were enlightening. For instance, the availability of custom made solutions was a very important parameter, with a fourth of the respondents rating it as the second most important reason. Adequate support from IT vendors was another key driver. The affordability of the solution and the ability to secure data were also seen as factors that were driving healthcare companies to adopt technology. Well, what Indian healthcare companies expect from technology is quite clear and I think it is up to us to deliver the goods.
When asked to rank the challenges that could be addressed through deployment of technology, rising operating costs figured at the top. I was reminded of this finding when an executive of an India-based healthcare company that had introduced an automation solution a while ago, explained to me in glowing terms how it had helped them lower costs. Getting back to the survey, the respondents think that technology helps to reduce dependence on a resource that is in short supply: skilled manpower. I’m with them on this. Even when equipped with the required manpower, I often see Indian companies grappling with productivity issues. Again, technology has the answer I believe.
Inadequate healthcare delivery infrastructure topped by problems like poor diagnosis, inaccurate clinical decisions and treatment and lack of industry standards are affecting quality of healthcare, another key challenge in India today. Can technology solve these issues as well? The respondents of the survey certainly think so, and so do I. Are there any other pain points that technology helps healthcare companies in India overcome?
Please share your thoughts in the section below.