Healthcare Technology

Why Connected health is the key to reducing waste and increasing efficiency

A connected health ecosystem is not only good for the patient but also good for the healthcare providers. In other industries there have been many attempts to connect the ecosystem by sharing information. A good example is how banks shared information with each other to ensure that willful repeat defaulters were given low scores and could not procure funds form banks. Similarly in Telecom, routers and switches started talking to each other and resulted in a super connected world both for data and voice.

In the healthcare ecosystem sharing the patient data across hospitals, clinics, physicians, insurers and personal devices can bring about remarkable changes that would benefit the entire country. For one it would bring down the cost of healthcare in India. Today almost 70% of the medical expenses are borne by the patient. A connected Health ecosystem, would reduce admissions by early intervention and potentially deter surgeries.

The other aspect is the chronic wastage in our healthcare ecosystem. A couple of weeks ago I had written on the mismanagement of resources in the healthcare ecosystem in India. Today we have over diagnosis, in the form of multiple tests, over medication, in the form of multiple prescriptions. One of the main reasons for it is the lack of a connected health ecosystem and physicians from one hospital may not have access to the patient records if they were at another hospital.

The third area it impacts us is the breakdown of the referral system in healthcare in India. Patients are referred from the rural medical centers to district hospitals. Often they have to repeat all the tests as there is no connected health ecosystem. In doing so they lose time and sometimes don’t show up for follow up treatments and consultation. Eventually either their treatment is incomplete and results in an admission or they end up with over diagnosis and medication.

Finally in a country like India, where non communicable chronic diseases are on the rise, it is key to ensure that clinical data is collected regularly and monitored. This data forms the basis on which analytics can be applied to generate insights. Conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension and Asthma among others need a connected health ecosystem for better management.

So how can a connected health ecosystem be achieved and what can be don’t about it. To discuss this and more, do join me and 5 other industry experts at Philips Digital Health Conclave on 28th July at Hotel La-Shangrila Bangalore as we discuss all things connected health.  Do register for the event here


(Image source: Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash, Philips Innovation Campus)

Healthcare Start ups Public Health Wellness

Making not so ‘Shy’ health decisions

About 18 years ago when P&G launched Whisper with Wings through a TV Ad, there was an awkward moment in our house. My mother was angry, I was embarrassed and my younger brother (around 11 years old) was supremely alert and curious. Now with two daughters of my own and a doctor husband, we don’t even react to such ads (or even more outrageous ones). My daughter, aged 5, has happily assumed that the sanitary napkin is a diaper for mummies. She also sees older people buying adult diapers with bladder control issues at our local pharmacy and has assumed this is generally the way of life.

Healthcare Technology

Is Indian Healthcare ready for Big Data and Analytics?


In the ancient times India had family healers that were called upon to combat disease and improve the standards of care. These medicine men of the old not only had knowledge of fields like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani but also had knowledge of family history that used to help in their diagnosis. After the coming of the British though traditional medicine got supplanted by modern allopathic treatment the role of the family physician continued. So family history and your own medical history was known to these physicians. In a sense we had an efficient system for Big Data and Analytics though it was not system driven. But healthcare till then was the privilege of a few and not easily available to all.

Healthcare Start ups Healthcare Technology Public Health

Nutrition First: How an App Seeks to Make People Aware of Their Food Habits

How often do you check the cover of packaged food items for their nutritional value? Most people usually toss it in the shopping cart without thinking twice about what they are about to consume.

Given that Indian food is generally high on carbs and there is increasing preference for fatty junk foods, the nutritional value of a meal is not only diluted but the required daily nutrient intake too suffers leading to various lifestyle disorders such as diabetes and hypertension.

Healthcare Delivery

Know Your Lab: How an Online Service Seeks to Revolutionize the Indian Diagnostic Setup


The internet has revolutionized consumer choices like never before. Traditional retail stores have discovered the potential of online shopping. Taxis are booked through apps and food is ordered over a click of a button. One can compare products, prices and the best stores in a blink. And in Bengaluru, services such as Medyog are extending the consumer experience from everyday lifestyle choices to critical sectors such as affordable healthcare. Last week I had written about Hospital Ratings, but did you know that you can rate diagnostic labs as well ?

How often have we been advised tests to be conducted at a lab referred by the doctor, irrespective of the cost or the quality? And if left on their own, patients are hounded by questions like where do they go to conduct the test, which diagnostic center is better, how much would it cost and so on.