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ICT for Better Delivery of Healthcare Services

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This discussion at the 17th edition of the Express Technology Sabha, emphasised on the government’s proposed health policy.

The Union government has stressed on telemedicine, tele-education and training for medical professionals, all these the priority areas for bringing change across the entire healthcare sector.

The potential and opportunities are huge and there is a need to cultivate demand for IT-based medical services in the country, the panellists felt. Citing a pilot project in Anantapur, LV Subramanyam said that the Andhra Pradesh government is setting up diagnostic facility to provide services and generate electronic health records.

Chanda highlighted that the governments are working to provide healthcare to every doorstep. Chanda said the focus should be on services and there is a need to have database generation and usage for effective healthcare system.

Gupta deliberated that though there has been awareness on IT in healthcare, the government has not groomed medical professionals on the usage of ICT. “It is necessary to use the data for various disease patterns and there is no meaning in mere collection of data,” he said. He explained maternal infant death reporting system and said a majority of medical professionals are ill-equipped to handle data and awareness has to be created to use the data for decision making. One important development in emerging healthcare delivery is the usage of mobile phones. Since communication is the biggest challenge in healthcare delivery, automation gets importance.

mHealth is part of m-governance, Agarwal of Vodafone India said. The mHealth field has emerged as a sub-segment of eHealth, the use of ICT, such as computers, mobile phones, communications satellite, patient monitors, etc, for health services and information. mHealth applications include the use of mobile devices in collecting community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information and real-time monitoring of patient vital signs.

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