1. Ensuring secure network and encryption of data to prevent cyber threats and data privacy breaches is of utmost importance for hospitals
2. Technology solutions need to be leveraged for better healthcare outcomes, patient engagement, robust governance, revenue optimization and efficient operations
3. Telemedicine and 5G solutions will enhance availability of healthcare services in hinterland
The increasing disease burden, spiralling costs and demand for quality healthcare services have placed tremendous pressure on healthcare resources. As healthcare providers strive to bring in operational efficiencies, enhance service delivery and improve health outcomes, technology is finding greater application across the value chain. With this background, Grant Thornton Bharat and Association of Healthcare Providers (India) (AHPI) joined hands to understand the healthcare providers’ and practitioners’ perspectives on leveraging technology in its report called ‘Technology transformation for future-ready healthcare.’
The survey-based report showcased that 84% of respondents plan to significantly increase the budget on digital solutions and technology initiatives in the next 12 months.
“India has successfully embraced the digital mindset in the last decade and adopted digital payments and solutions. As India moves ahead with the agenda of universal health coverage, technology will be a crucial lever to make quality healthcare accessible, available and affordable. The government is also giving impetus to technology adoption in healthcare through various initiatives. Our survey also reflects this sentiment, with more than 80% of the respondents admitting they wanted to enhance their budget for digital solutions and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to drive better healthcare outcome, robust governance, operational excellence and ensure compliances. 48% respondents have seen an operational efficiency gain of up to 20% by implementing technology solutions,” said Bhanu Prakash Kalmath S J, Partner and Healthcare and Life Sciences sector leader.
Interestingly, 80% respondents indicated that they plan to leverage 5G to drive healthcare outcomes. The growth of internet penetration and adoption in the country is expected to facilitate internet-based healthcare solutions, which can accelerate the healthcare infrastructure creation per capita at a much lower cost and reach of healthcare services to all, especially in rural areas. 5G networks will only advance this initiative to transform patient services through real-time remote health monitoring, remote surgeries, telediagnosis, etc. Integration across value chains will help ease operations and also lead to seamless adoption of technology-enabled insurance-related services, device manufacturing and clinical trials.
The government has been optimistic on the prospects of telemedicine, and its free service – eSanjeevani – has witnessed success. The report also touches upon investment in telemedicine infrastructure to reach a wider population and enhance the patient experience. The government also launched Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) with a vision to create a common digital interoperable platform. Hospitals need to enroll in ABDM to develop an integrated digital health infrastructure and bridge the gaps in the ecosystem. The report also addresses the challenges pertaining to ABDM, such as technology integration and data privacy, which need to be taken in account for accelerating the enrolment in the mission.
According to the survey report, while planned technology spending is encouraging, cyber threats and data privacy concerns loom over. The hospital database contains confidential patient information, including medical diagnoses, treatment records and insurance information. This is a huge area of improvement and focus since, as per the survey, 66% healthcare professionals and leaders are not confident that their technology infrastructure is sufficient to prevent cyber threats.
Key highlights from the report:
• 84% respondents increase the budget on digital solutions and technology initiatives in the next 12 months
• 66% are not confident that their technology infrastructure is sufficient to prevent cyber threats
• Only 40% feel their technology infrastructure can ensure patient data privacy
• 48% respondents have seen an operational efficiency gain of up to 20%
• 58% have not leveraged technology to monitor compliances
• While 62% have implemented Electronic Medical Records (EMR), 54% respondents do not have EMR integrated with billing systems
• 50%+ have highlighted that tech implementation/integration and data privacy are the two key challenges to enrol in ABDM
• Telemedicine revenue is less than 5% for 88% of the respondents