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Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Empowering Patients and Improving Efficiency

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By Manojit Barui, VP Information Technology, Nomura Services India Pvt Ltd.

In 1991, India moved out of the License-Permit-Quota-Raj system. Economic reforms were introduced to liberalise the economy, increase employment opportunities, boost production and productivity, make central public sector units more competitive, and encourage foreign investments. The successive government followed the reform steps and carefully reinvented new policies for the betterment of the common man. All such efforts over the years helped the country emerge as the fastest-growing economy in the world.

One of the significant factors in evaluating a country’s success is by looking at its growth
in the financial market. E.g., the BSE Sensex Index changed from 1000 to 60K in the last 30 years. The success came with multiple steps taken by embracing technology and economic reforms. The open outcry trading got decommissioned along with the closure of paper-based share certificates. Today, we have fully automated electronic trading systems able to process large volumes. We are recognised as the fastest stock exchange in the world, with a speed of six microseconds.

The financial market success also brought significant changes in human practices. The dependency to rely on daily newspapers for market actions got removed as people smartly moved to faster and real-time market data by downloading multiple apps on personal gadgets. Over the years, the sector got so advanced that there are various options over the internet on how to make stock selections, technical analysis, and make positive income. The technology revolution allows a person (a farmer or non-resident Indian) to trade online in the stock market without any manual intervention. This is truly an incredible success story for an emerging country like India w.r.t technology in the financial market.

Many other sectors have embraced technology in the past decades and have witnessed tremendous growth. All such success stories helped India become the world’s fifth-largest economy.

But the next question that arises: Has technology reached every sector? Is there any sector that urgently needs technology attention and has the potential to benefit humans? Then the most common answer would be human reach to medical treatment.

Embracing technology to access the best medical treatment

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses in medical infrastructure globally,
especially in G20 countries. The G20 represents around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the worldwide trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. As such advanced nations struggle to overcome the challenges, technology has emerged as a vital tool in streamlining healthcare systems and ensuring efficient service delivery. This article focuses on the significance of implementing technology to address the medical needs of ordinary people in the post-pandemic era.

The Role of Technology in overcoming challenges to access medical treatment better are:
Digital Transformation: The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in healthcare. Telemedicine, electronic health records, and AI-driven diagnostics are examples of how technology reshapes the industry. By embracing these innovations, countries can improve patient care, reduce costs, and enhance healthcare efficiency.

Building a Resilient System: Technology can play a critical role in building a more
resilient healthcare system that can withstand future crises. Using digital tools, countries can facilitate better communication, coordination, and resource management among healthcare providers, ultimately leading to more effective emergency responses.

Supporting Medical Tourism: By adopting advanced technology, countries can promote transparency, improve patient experience, and restore confidence in their medical tourism sectors.

Development and Acceptance of Medical Passport

The Medical Passport will provide access to a patient’s medical history, past illnesses, surgeries, and treatments. It will hold information on current medications and allergies
and any ongoing health concerns. With this data at their fingertips, doctors can make more informed decisions about patient care and treatment options. Additionally, the medical passport allows patients to easily access their health information from anywhere, making it an invaluable resource for frequent travelers or those who move often. The medical passport will help revolutionise how we approach healthcare in the 21st century by streamlining the healthcare process and improving communication between patients and providers.

The goal will be for a patient from one location to access the best and most affordable medical facilities within their preferred location based on the details available in the repository system.

The different players of the repository systems would be:
Patient: The patient will own their medical profile and who can review it. When medical
attention is needed, the patient can seek the best affordable quotation over the hospital
network and choose the best medical provider.

Doctor / Hospital: The entity will endorse all the findings and medication provided to
the patient. It will be mandatory to report all details on the patient profile, i.e., the
medical passport. The hospital / diagnostic centre would be the single point authority to
update the patient’s profile by importing all detailed information related to patient

Regulators: The entity will help with governance and ensure the hospital staff best updates patient profiles, and there is no ambiguity. The entity will also keep ratings of individual doctors and hospitals online.

Technology: For all the above players, technology will play a crucial role in accessing
patients’ profiles, allowing Doctors and Hospital staff to capture diagnoses, medication
and treatment in the passport. There will be a need for metadata to bring together medical service seekers and providers across geographies. It will be like a tool to handshake all players and get the best medical solution. In short, the tool will send patient profiles post-masking to a network of hospitals for case review and seek quotations for medical treatment. At every moment, the patient will have the supreme role of controlling profile sharing based on their preferred options like location, hospital network, doctor’s profile and doctor’s attained ratings, etc.

Once the above process gets operational, there will be many other actors and players to make the medical passport functional and make an ecosystem that will cater to affordable healthcare services to every citizen of the country.

The 18th edition of the G20 summit is scheduled for Sept 2023. The medical challenges
faced during the Covid-19 pandemic by citizens of major economies are well exposed to
the world. The country premiers can pledge to work towards technological advancement
in the medical field and make a network between participating governments to build a
safe environment for medical tourism along with the acceptance of medical passports/data sharing across the globe. Once an agreement on data accessibility and protection gets established between nations – the medical sector will flourish and benefit patients to access the best solution provider.

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