Technology should address rural healthcare | Nilesh Kumar

Nilesh Kumar | Vice President, E-Clinics Performance | Jiyyo Innovations Pvt Ltd (Jiyyo) pitches for the use of technology to improve rural healthcare  

According to you, what are the major challenges that Indian healthcare sector is facing ? Are there any roadblocks in rolling out health IT solutions?

There are more healthcare facilities available in urban areas, in towns and cities, wherein in rural areas, there is less of those medical facilities. Over 60% of hospitals, 70% of dispensaries and 80% of the doctors and nurses are only practicing in urban areas. Even there is an issue with infrastructure because, 1 bed is available for 2000 patients, 1 doctor for 10,000 people in our government hospitals, and there is 1 state run hospital for 90,000 people which is very disappointing. We need to come up with better infrastructure for the people.

The main roadblocks are that no one is ready to accept the new technologies. New technologies are coming up like telehealth, IoT devices but people are not accepting these and not ready to use these applications.

Why cybercriminals target healthcare companies? How should we protect them?

Healthcare IT companies have a big database, huge data of patients, and profiles. When I talk about healthcare IT companies, security measures needs to be taken very seriously. We need to invest in software and all software updates should be there to make sure security is top notch. Scheduled backups are necessary because if in case something happened and we lost some data, each should have the relevant backups. We need to start practicing and telling people how to not talk about their passwords or share them.
We have zero test approach, whether it is internal or external. This should not be taken for granted. In case of any parameters change, we need to check it out, whether all the systems are connected and what are the issues? Proper auditing is required.

How can technology play a key enabler in improving healthcare scenario in rural India?
The problem is lack of connectivity in the rural aresa. This is the area where IT comes into play.  There are systems which are being developed in the present times. There are IOT devices. We are providing a platform and there are different solution providers building the platforms which are being integrated with IoT, where a doctor can take the vitals from the patient and accordingly prescribe the medicine and course of treatment sitting miles away.

What are the issues there?
The main thing is that people are not accepting these technologies. But gradually thanks to Corona, people are having better understanding. Because we are stuck at home, we are taking it very seriously.

How important do you think is the role of Government in revamping the overall healthcare sector? Are you satisfied with the current policy and regulatory guidelines?

The Government has all the power. They can develop the infrastructure. They can deploy the skillset, which are all there in cities.

In month of March, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released  telemedicine practice guidelines which is a very good initiative. All the companies are coming up with new teleconsultation platforms with which doctors can easily connect with the patients. The patients can also reach out to the doctors in case of any emergency or any consultation from the doctor.

There needs to be some reservations of hospitals or doctors for the rural area, because everything is developing in cities or towns. Because of high paying capacity, doctors and hospitals are also only willing to practice in urban areas. If the Government comes up with some reservation policies and putting up some healthcare mandates for the rural areas, the entire country will be benefited.

How do you advise organizations post COVID19 scenarios about Mobility, Cloud, Employee collaboration and Advanced Analytics? What are the likely future efforts they should make for the improvement in the healthcare sector?

These are the requirements. Nowadays companies are using modes of the different meeting platforms like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and many more out there.I believe more of the IoT devices and more of digital health, healthcare going to be re-introduced in the coming future and this would increase the accessibility and affordability for the patient.

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