Shyatto Raha, Founder and CEO, Myhealthcare in an interaction with Kalyani Sharma highlights the advantages of EMR systems and its role in changing the patient care scenario in India
Walk us through MyHealthcare and its future plans for the Indian market?
At MyHealthcare, we are focused on using the power of a digital healthcare ecosystem to bridge the care delivery gaps using data-driven care processes to make healthcare more accessible across the country. Our digital healthcare system is delivered as a B2B and B2B2C platform, working with leading hospitals, clinics, diagnostics service providers, e-pharmacies, home care providers and clinical device companies, to build an integrated healthcare ecosystem. Today, we work with 80 leading hospitals and over 65 clinics in India, managing 24 million patients across our ecosystem. We are using services such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and our AI based EMR solutions to deliver care beyond the physical walls of a hospital.
Our key mission is to democratise healthcare and make it available to a wider population. Our growing partner network of healthcare providers will cross over 100 speciality hospitals by March 2022. We have a clear roadmap over the next year to expand our service and provider network across tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India. In the years ahead, our plans include geographical expansion into Asia, Middle East and Africa. As an ecosystem, we have a strong technology foundation today which can be replicated across multiple geographies.
Can you throw some light on the advantages of EMR systems and how it will change the patient care scenario in India?
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems are one of the key pillars of an integrated healthcare delivery process. In India, we have a very low adoption of EMRs in hospitals and clinics. Reasons can be attributed to EMRs being very complex & not user friendly for doctors; lack of alignment with operational & clinical pathways followed by clinicians; lack of availability of quality patient data adds to it as well. A well designed EMR that can work around these challenges will help the care delivery process immensely. With a higher use of EMR solutions, a patient’s clinical history becomes more traceable and over time helps in building a complete patient longitudinal history. This helps doctors in being able to diagnose more effectively and improve the quality of care provided.
What could be the possible challenges as far as an adaptation of EMR systems in Indian healthcare is concerned?
Adoption challenges will depend largely on the kind of EMR solution being presented to clinicians and how well it complements their care delivery processes. While some of the doctors or clinicians who are very comfortable with paper based clinical record management may not embrace EMR platforms, there is a growing population of doctors and specialists who are embracing the use of EMRs for their care delivery in hospitals or clinics.
Another challenge is one of change management in hospitals. Bringing in EMR solutions to clinical operations of a running hospital would mean a significant change management initiative – this is probably one of the toughest for any provider and requires an investment, not financially but more in terms of bandwidth to change. Here too, I would say that providers are now embracing digitisation for care delivery in a big way.
What are your views on the scale of technology adoption in Indian healthcare? What are the challenges and opportunities?
There is no hidden secret that digitisation and adoption of digital technology solutions have been laggard in India. However, COVID 19, rapid growth of internet penetration, improvement in data bandwidth speed, reducing cost of digital hardware and improvements in cloud technology will bring about a significant change in the healthcare sector. Providers embraced telemedicine in a big way over the past 18 months and all signs show that this sector alone will grow to USD 30 bn by 2026.
With the huge headroom for growth, there is no shortage of digital healthcare technology solutions coming into our country. Telemedicine has expanded from a mere doctor consultation to complete healthcare delivery for both acute and chronic care at home. Digital technology is also helping providers and clinicians in making healthcare delivery more personalised, as we are beginning to generate more meaningful and effective clinical data of their patients. All of this will contribute greatly towards hospitals, clinics and doctors offering more patient centric care and improving patient engagement.
The increased adoption of digital technology by care providers will improve the access to quality healthcare and make it available to a wider population. Data suggests that an estimated 70 per cent of our country does not have access to quality primary care. Growing start-ups like ours partnering with leading hospitals and clinics in creating scalable healthcare ecosystems, will be a key driver in democratising healthcare in India.
In recent years tech giants such as Google, Apple, Samsung and others are pushing a whole new gamut of digital health applications for monitoring heart rates, ECG, blood oxygenation, blood pressure, pulse rate and blood sugar levels – which will help grow the telemedicine market and the remote patient monitoring ecosystem.
Your views on the top trends in healthcare IT in the upcoming year?
Post COVID-19, the adoption of virtual health has become a necessity. Virtual healthcare models are moving from purely “virtual urgent care” to a range of services enabling longitudinal virtual care. The integration of telehealth with other virtual health solutions, and hybrid virtual/in-person care models have the potential to improve consumer experience/convenience, access, outcomes, and affordability. Strong continued uptake, favourable consumer perception, and tangible investment into this space are all contributing to the continued growth of telehealth in 2021 and the upcoming years.
With the growing digitisation of healthcare, EMRs will revolutionise healthcare management and delivery. There will be significant benefits such as enhancing efficiencies in care delivery, reduction of medication errors to zero, reduction in misdiagnosis, improvement in preventive healthcare processes, etc. The digitisation of health records will help immensely in building a patient’s longitudinal history, deliver more personalised care and offer timely warnings and alerts to prevent severe medical crises. EMR / EHR adoption rates have been growing rapidly and today are at around 89%. The future of EMRs holds a lot of promise with better care for patients and ease of providing superior care by physicians and medical facilities using digital technologies. The greatest improvements in EMR will be in patient engagement, accessibility to quality care, and standardisation across the healthcare delivery network.
This can be defined more precisely as predictive analytics in healthcare. Predictive analytics can help to detect early signs of patient deterioration in the ICU and general wards, identify at-risk patients in their homes to prevent hospital readmissions, and prevent avoidable downtime of medical equipment. The adopters of this technology have already experienced desired outcomes such as reduced care costs and improved patient satisfaction. Many agree that the future of predictive analytics lies in data visualisation, and it is believed that this is where technology will thrive.
In today’s world, fitness apps and wearable devices are the second most owned device. Wearables are expected to boost patient health engagement. Data integration from wearable devices to EMR systems offers opportunities to provide better patient care. With the increase in popularity of wearable devices, patients have become more aware of their healthcare metrics Overall, the amount of connected wearable devices is expected to surge in the coming years and will jump to over a billion by 2022.