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Healthcare Technology

Blockchain in Healthcare

Healthcare today has been adopting new technology like never before. As a result of this we have many significant developments in recent days. Let’s take for instance the adoption of telemedicine by both patients and care providers alike during the Covid 19 pandemic. It is significant to note how quickly the ecosystem moved ahead and adopted the new standards and today we have multiple consultations on telemedicine.

Similarly, the development of the Covid19 vaccine has been possible partially due to the increased collaboration between the scientific community made possible by digital technologies.

Blockchain has become a game changer in the healthcare industry. It is a foundational technology with capabilities that go way beyond the traditional IT stack. With features like immutability, digital identity, encryption and real time updates, Blockchain has many of the features that would help the industry evolve to the next level. 

Last year Priyank Jani and I wrote a paper on Blockchain where we discussed how it could be implemented in the healthcare industry. Here is the link of the paper. 

But before we go forward let me quickly discuss what is Blockchain. 

Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.  Each block contains, typically, a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. Transactions have to be approved by all users of the Blockchain to be stored and modifying an older block of data is impossible. Only updating of future records is permissible making the system secure (relatively speaking) and therefore reliable. This also means an entire Blockchain can serve as a secure ledger that records transactions, negating the need for multiple disparate trails of information.

We believe Indian healthcare has most to gain from the adoption of Blockchain technology. For starters, Blockchain allows all types of data to be integrated into the chain. This means one can add not just doctor prescriptions and treatment records but also nutrition information, fitness data, and recordings from medical devices (such as for blood pressure and diabetes patients) by patients themselves. Over time the presence of such longitudinal patient data means caregivers can better interpret disease symptoms and prescribe effective treatment that is customized to work for the patient. Currently, doctors rely on data from treating different patients to prescribe medication. The chances of success for such medication are about 50%. In many cases, doctors wait for feedback from patients to change the medication. With the availability of longitudinal patient data, doctors would know in advance what treatments are more likely to suit a patient in line with his/her health history.

If implemented over a large scale, Blockchain could help significantly lower healthcare costs in India. In addition, it can give multiple parties selective access to patient records ensuring data is not compromised. A survey report by IBM outlines the following healthcare areas benefiting from Blockchain: clinical trial records, patient health records, regulatory compliance, medical device data integration, treatment records, billing and claims, asset management (for hospital assets such as beds/ equipment available), and contract management (for hospitals).

I am really looking forward to the virtual Blockchain summit that is taking place on the 9h of December 2020. I plan to discuss with the various global leaders how Blockchain can be incorporated into the healthcare ecosystem. Do register if you are interested in discussing Blockchain and building a consensus in this area. The link for registration is here- Register | BlockChain in HealthCare

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Healthcare Technology

TataMD Check launched for Covid19 testing

Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd (TataMD), the healthcare venture from Tata Group has launched the Tata MD check, which is probably India’s first and probably the largest COVID19 diagnostic kit. This kit has been built in association with CSIR- IGIB and is built on top of a CRISPR Cas 9 for COVID19 testing. The algorithm, incidentally, is called Feluda. Very interesting to note that it might be in reference to the detective character created by Satyajit Ray.

It took about 100 days for Tata MD,for its licencing and commercial launch. And also, it has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the DGCI and will be available through our diagnostic centres in India. It’s a paper based test with the image based visual readout. The reaction time is about 45 minutes, and the total testing time is about 75 minutes only because it’s from an mRNA extracted sample. There is high scalability. About 1 million of these test kits will be produced in a month from the Tata diagnostic and Research Centre outside of Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

Also, there is an AI based reporting tool that will help authorities keep track of traceability of samples and the results will be accessible from anywhere. And it. This test will allow from and massive rapid adoption potential to the far away regions of the country. It will be interesting to see how this pans out considering the seem to be close to good testing we seem to be close to a good vaccine and we seem to be good, close to a good protocol. Let’s see how things go from here.

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Digital Health Healthcare Technology Public Health

Population Health Management through Digital Tools

Dr Pallabi Roy

Does the Public Health Industry need a Digital Makeover?

Have you heard of buzzwords like ‘Tech Trends’?

Blockchain, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things?

As a Healthcare Professional, you might have heard of these digital tools.

Aren’t sure about what they mean? You’re not alone!

We often ignore the technical aspects of a project.

We deal only with the core Biological Sciences.

But this approach needs some amount of tweaking. With the heavy penetration of digital tools in Healthcare, we must embrace the digital era. There is no going back to Pre COVID-19 times!

Isn’t population health management a well-known concept in the Public Health domain?

Yes, it is, but digitization is changing the face of this sector. 

Public health challenges like tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and other communicable diseases still exist. India’s healthcare industry is going through a transitional stage. The disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming more clear. This gap creates poor health outcomes and using digital tools, we can bridge this.

Why should healthcare professionals bother about these tools?

It’s because they are going to be the harbingers of change!

The Finance Minister allocated Rs 69,000 crore for the healthcare sector. The 2020-21 Union Budget looked better than last year. This is another spectrum where digital tools can come in. FinTech can help divide funds according to the needs of our country.

80% of our fund allocation can elevate health promotion and disease prevention. Using digital tools, we can deliver these healthcare services to the rural parts of India. The public health workforce is working hard and adopting these measures. How can you leverage these tools for research and evidence-based treatment protocols?

Technology has made it easier to reach out. This holds true not only for remote areas but also for an international ecosystem. Doctors can use this approachable network as a reference. Digital tools are facilitating knowledge and implementation, in new-age India.

The Government of India has come up with training and guidelines for telemedicine. Tele-Consultations in specializations like Ophthalmology, Radiology, Mental Healthcare, and Obstetrics-Gynaecology have created waves. ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) are warming up to digital tools. These include virtual training and EMRs (Electronic Medical Records). We are observing a gradual improvement in primary levels of population health management.

Mother and Child Care programs are improving since e-governance is possible. There are online registries that get updated every week by these healthcare facilitators.

We use them for tracking data like child mortality rates and cases of tuberculosis. Cases of COVID-19 are being monitored through similar means.

National Digital Health Mission has an agenda that we cannot sideline. Our government is centralizing healthcare. This gives us time to catch up with tech trends. It gives us time to understand these digital tools and make the most of them in our clinical practices.

Which are some digital tools that you have used for population health management?

About the Author

Dr Pallabi Roy is a dentist and works as a marketing professional, podcaster and an influencer in the area of digital health. She can be reached on Linkedin- https://in.linkedin.com/in/pallabiroy27

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Healthcare Technology Uncategorized

Patient Experience in the Digital world

In January 30 2020, India recorded its first case for Corona Virus popularly known as Covid19. Since then India has seen a series of lockdowns and as we inch towards somewhat of a partial recovery, the question around the state of our healthcare system has become centre stage again.

Since the 1940’s where the Bhore committee gave its recommendations for developing the healthcare structure in India, as a nation we have been playing catch up with demand far exceeding the supply in terms of doctors, diagnostic equipment, hospital beds and medicines.

In addition the wellness programs have been struggling and preventive measures have not been very successful. In this context the corner stone of the healthcare system in India has become the hospital.

What determines a successful healthcare intervention is patient experience. Today with the advent of telehealth and the guidelines given by Medical Council of India, it becomes even more important for hospitals to focus on patient experience and add to the growth of the industry.

What determines a successful healthcare intervention is an excellent patient experience #Healthcare #DigitalHealth

What is Patient Experience?

Private hospitals have long tracked patient satisfaction ratings, but they didn’t always carry great significance. While all hospitals want happy patients, most hospitals have been historically plagued with the “doctor knows best” mentality — a mentality where clinical outcomes outweigh “touchy-feely” indicators such as patient satisfaction or overall patient experience.

However, in recent years, some leading institutions in India have begun to focus more heavily on providing an outstanding patient experience. Drivers for this include growing consumerism and transparency for healthcare services and increased interest from both consumers and providers in patient-centred care.

Why Patient Experience is important to Hospitals?

Healthcare consumers increasingly view their experience with a provider as a key consideration for determining if they’ll return to or recommend the provider, largely because it remains one of the few ways consumers can differentiate providers. Over the past few decades, clinical outcomes have improved dramatically, and patients no longer view favourable outcomes as a key differentiator as these are expected. What remains is the patient’s overall experience, which encompasses everything from customer service to patient-centeredness and care coordination among providers. 

Also given the growth of Tele Health, it would become even more important for hospitals to focus on patient experience in order to create a favourable experience and create the hook that would bring patients and others in the community back to the hospital.

The key is how you make the patients feel

Key Parameters of Patient Experience in a Hospital

While there are many parameters that determine patient experience, we have tried to list down a few key ones that might influence the satisfaction index more than the others.

  1. Patient Appointment Experience
  2. Patient Online Portal
  3. Social Media and Digital Out Reach
  4. Facility for the In-Patient Service and Emergency Service
  5. Patient’s Access to medical Records
  6. Patient Information
  7. Clinical Outcomes
  8. Value Added Service

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease”

Voltaire

While many of these parameters are difficult to understand or assess, as part of this report we have identified Social Media as a parameter that we would like to evaluate. In order to do so, we have identified 6 Hospitals across India. These hospitals are

  1. AIIMS
  2. Apollo Hospitals
  3. Fortis
  4. Manipal Health
  5. Narayana Health
  6. Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

We have tried to mix it up between hospitals from the government sector and private sector and also among general hospitals and super speciality hospitals. Below is our analysis of the key parameters between the social media presence of these major hospitals.

I believe that Social media is an indicative parameter. It shows whether there is a foundational maturity in the digital program of the hospital. Also, a lot of patient experience is visible by the comments and interactions with the hospital’s social media channels.

The findings of our analysis are captured in the report below.

Download the Report

Would be happy to discuss and see how you can build your digital experience for patient engagement. Do write in to discuss.

Categories
Healthcare Technology

Why is there no AI in Healthcare India?

Just a few days ago I was on a webinar on Healthcare. The topic was the use of AI in Healthcare and the implications of Ethics in the same.

While all panelists spoke eloquently about the topic, I was trying to recall where have I seen AI in action in India. Unable to find too many instances, I spoke to my good friend and the editor of the New Age Healthcare Website Dr Sumeet Kad. Below is a recording of our interesting conversation.