A lot needs to be done in the healthcare tech space to provide access to primary healthcare in a number of regions in India. Also, with too much information asymmetry, technology can play a large role in improving patient care. At the VCCircle Healthcare Summit 2014, eminent panellists discussed the use of technology in improving healthcare delivery in the country.
The panel was moderated by Ruchi Dass, founder and CEO, HealthCursor Consulting Group, and saw participation from Arvind Kumar, CEO & MD, ATTUNE Technologies; Varun Sood, CIO & head- strategic initiatives, Fortis; Sanjay Parikh, executive VP- Europe and member of the board, Indegene Lifesystems; and Ravi Virmani, founder and MD, Credi Health. Here are some of the forward-looking observations made by them:
Arvind Kumar, CEO & MD, ATTUNE Technologies
In India, insurance processing happens on paper. There are isolated mechanisms to automate the process but it's very patchy at best. Also, the interaction between payers and providers is very limited. Considering the fact that contribution of insurance to the revenues of hospital are on the rise, more automation will ensure more efficiency. We need to have standards to make sure that the providers are able to connect with payers to make the transaction process seamless.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have never worked in any part of the world, but the likelihood is that insurance could drive this in our country. To practitioners, the larger issue is who puts in the data, which again requires assistants. Also, internet connectivity is a prerequisite for the cloud model to work and thankfully BSNL broadband has connected most of the Tier II towns.
Varun Sood, CIO & head- strategic initiatives, Fortis
We moved 100 per cent to public cloud last year and shut down our data centres. Besides commercials, it has improved our ability to respond faster and to scale, which helps us in investing in newer initiatives for our customers. If rules that ensure insurance claim moves online are brought into practice, it will add efficiency to the system and help hospitals function better.
We need to replace paper with a device which automatically stores data entered and does not require putting additional time on entering data for EMR or EHR. Thankfully, with 'Dr Google', we search for our healthcare problems online based on the symptoms, and go to a physical doctor only for their rectification.
Sanjay Parikh, executive VP- Europe and board member, Indegene Lifesystems
There is a transformation in the way pharma interacts with its stakeholders today. Traditionally, pharma used the sales rep model wherein the salesmen went to doctors to provide details about the product. But later every brand manager of pharma company started setting up websites for providing specific information to doctors and also used mobile, call centres and other channels. As of now, companies needed to cater to the physicians' need based on his behaviour across all channels including sales rep, online, mobile, and call centre etc.
Ravi Virmani, founder and MD, Credi Health
People don't understand tertiary healthcare in many parts of the country. Hence, access to good doctors and content is important to make informed decisions. Technology can play an important role in this. Additionally, if consumers can just provide an URL instead of carrying reports, it will increase convenience. This also makes taking a second opinion easier.