Healthcare, in the 2nd decade of the new millennia has remained top priority for the haves and have-nots too. It is always the élite west that still considers healthcare as primordial to all other aspects of life. However, the third world too has started opening its eyes to the healthcare industry.
We are probably adding a decade of old age to our life instead of youthful agility in trying to extend life expectancy. Information Technology (IT) in healthcare is trying to add value by providing useful information from the huge data available among a particular section of the society.
Healthcare is broadly dependent on two factors:
– we may, apportion the same at 50% each to keep man healthy and sane always.
Nature: Nature are those qualities – in the form of genes – that we have inherited from our ancestors.
Nurture: Nurture is that segment of human endeavour, which stresses more on the upbringing in the society (environment) and preventive and curative measures.
Artificial Intelligence and research and development in improving quality of genetic factors has led to good as well as detrimental results. Therefore, incessantly improving the standards of Nurture becomes more relevant and essential in this century. All organisms are made up of combination of both Nature and Nurture factor. We have less or no control on the inherited part of our life BUT we can and should improve our health for a quality life while taking care of Nurture.
Today’s man lives longer than his predecessor not because of mutation in genes or miracles but better management of his health.Looking back statistically, the average life expectancy of males in India in 1947 was 52 yrs and that of females was 47. The same stood at a healthy 69 and 63 respectively in 2018 thanks to the greater impetus on healthcare by the successive governments as well. Yet, the average spend per capita on healthcare is a pathetic 1.96% down from 2.6% six years ago. Our Government allocates close to 18% of annual budget to defense forces as against 1.96% to Healthcare. To build a better and healthy population for the future, this trend needs to be reversed.
Now, let us look at what is “IT” doing in healthcare. Healthcare of a person is a continuous process rather than a one-time achievement. Man is subject to continuous onslaught of Mother Nature, – the natural calamities complementing – the changing weather conditions and the rough weather in many geographical terrain of our planet. Global warming and depletion of Ozone layer is a serious concern. Polluted Air in India today, across the Nation is hitting alarming proportions as PM (particulate matter) had reached over 900 in Delhi and many parts of North India during early winter in 2019. As you move towards poles, the weather conditions worsen (freezing temperature, i.e. – 50 C) and towards the center of earth, the temperatures rise as high as 52 degree Celsius.
Man is the only animal that requires longer duration of parental care whereas; most other animals stand on their own legs within hours of their birth. And it would certainly help if; medical history of the person is maintained from the date of birth for better healthcare management in times of need. Over 95% of Indian population does not have any record of their health conditions and that is where IT can play a bigger role. Maintaining health records of man in physical form has always been challenging and computerization eases the daunting task.
The advantages of computerization could be summarized as:
- Speed of operation/transaction
- Storage of large volume of data
- Quicker retrieval of the stored data
- Comparison and mapping of stored data for research
- Data analytics for beneficial decision making
- Data sharing across geographic area
INFORMATION is the key to success in any field Thus; information could be picked from available DATA. Data is built over a period and storage of the same is a monumental task.Software helps in maintaining patient records in electronic form. Such data could be stored in small devices like Smart card, Cloud storage etc in addition to online data storage and transfer. Such data access helps greatly in disease diagnosis, preventive and curative actions.
- 5 years ago less than 20% of hospitals were computerized
- Today over 60% of hospitals are computerized in urban /semi-urban area
- It is expected that nearly 90% of hospitals would be computerized in next 5 years
- National UID may help data access of healthcare also
Since most Indians do not maintain any health record themselves, IT in healthcare has great potential in providing the same at low costs by service providers like Hospitals, Health Insurance cos etc.,
A healthy man builds a healthy Nation.
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