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The Era of Digitisation of Healthcare

Zopper Team Basics of Insurance May 3rd, 2024
The Era of Digitisation of Healthcare

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the percentage of the global population aged 60 and above is expected to almost double, rising from 12% to 22% from 2015 to 2050.

Let that sink in. We’re fast approaching a world where almost 1 in 6 people will be aged 60 or above. It means health conditions associated with ageing like hearing loss, cataracts, neck pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, depression and dementia, will become prevalent. What’s the solution? The answer is the rapid digitisation of healthcare, even more than we’ve witnessed in recent years. As estimated by Statista, digital transformation in the healthcare sector has surpassed $1.3 trillion globally and continues to escalate by 10.4% annually. From electronic health records (EHR) to telemedicine and wearable health devices, digital technologies are revolutionising patient care, enhancing accessibility, and improving health outcomes. This article delves into the various aspects of this digital revolution, exploring its benefits, challenges, and implications for the future of healthcare.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

The adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) has been one of the most significant advances in healthcare digitisation. According to a study published by Deloitte, digital transformation has led to productivity gains for 92% of medical professionals and healthcare facilities. EHRs streamline medical record-keeping, enabling healthcare providers to access patient information securely and efficiently. This accessibility promotes coordinated care, reduces medical errors, and improves clinical decision-making. Additionally, EHRs facilitate patient engagement through online portals, allowing individuals to access their medical records, schedule appointments, and communicate with healthcare providers remotely.

Telemedicine

Statista reported that the telemedicine market in India was nearly $830 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31% from 2020 to 2025. The expansion of telemedicine has further accelerated the digitisation of healthcare, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine leverages digital communication technologies to enable remote consultations between patients and healthcare providers. This approach enhances access to healthcare services, particularly in remote areas where traditional healthcare infrastructure is limited. Moreover, telemedicine offers convenience and flexibility to patients, reducing travel time and healthcare costs.

Wearable Health Devices

India’s growing fascination with health has boosted the fitness trackers market. Based on the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) India Monthly Wearable Device Tracker, the wearable market in India grew by 34% in 2023, reaching a new high of 134.2 million units. In the fourth quarter of 2023 (October-December), there were 28.4 million units sold, marking a 12.7% increase compared to the previous year.

These devices monitor various health metrics, including heart rate, sleep patterns, and physical activity, providing users with real-time insights into their health status. By collecting and analysing data over time, wearable devices enable individuals to track their progress, set health goals, and make informed lifestyle choices. Additionally, healthcare providers can leverage wearable device data to personalise patient care and moderate proactively in managing chronic conditions.

The Roadblocks

While the digitisation of healthcare holds immense promise, it also presents certain challenges and considerations. Privacy and security concerns surrounding electronic health data remain paramount, necessitating robust cybersecurity measures and adherence to regulatory standards. Furthermore, bridging the disparity amongst the underserved population, and ensuring equitable access to telemedicine services and wearable health devices will be critical to realising the full potential of health digitisation.

Conclusion

As digital health technologies continue to evolve, stakeholders across the health ecosystem must collaborate to overcome the challenges, leverage opportunities and ensure all individuals have access to high-quality, equitable healthcare services. By harnessing the power of digitisation, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes, enhance population health, and ultimately, transform the way healthcare is delivered and experienced in the 21st century.

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