Healthcare industry is day-dreaming about AI & Automation without EHRs
President, Digital India Health Summit, gives insights ahead of the conference on how it will be a platform that will see a conglomeration of key global, Indian healthcare, pharma leaders, technology experts and decision makers to disseminate and build actionable digital healthcare ecosystem.
1. How will this year’s edition be different from the previous ones? What is the vision and mission of this year’s conference?
We are moving from knowledge to action at the summit. We have got the global leaders who have been involved in shaping the journey of digital health. As you can see from the journey of Digital Health, it has passed through a long phase of hope and hype which has come to a halt. Through this gathering of doers, we wish to give a definite direction to the healthcare industry and move from hope, hype and halt to hope heal and health. The summit will see both India and global changemakers and decision makers who will be actively talking about the implementation on the roadmap for digital health in India. These will be definitely actionable solutions.
2. Why do you think digital health needs focus? Although India tends to be the upcoming tech capital of the world, we have not used technology as much in India. How much does digital health help in this endeavour?
The biggest challenge for healthcare technology is people day-dreaming of using big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation, but sleeping on implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Every big private hospital has Chief Technical Officer (CTO) who are talking about AI but they have not implemented EHR in their hospital. The CEOs and clinicians forget that AI and automation happen on clinical data, but the EHRs are not even implemented in their system. So, we need to clear the mental block of stop day-dreaming for using AI, unless they use the EHRs, end to end. Let us have data which has integrity, integration and then only, we can think of intelligence (AI). Also, we want to clear out the ROI (Return on investment) for digital health. This needs to be looked from a patient, clinician and payer point of view. We need to get back to the basics to dispel the myths and start from the basics once again to boost the adoption of digital health tools.
With 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) being implemented, which have an integral component of telemedicine. Such initiatives has expanded the digital health horizon of the country, and it will need workable implementation process. Apart from it, with one-year execution of Ayushman Bharat, PM-JAY has already seen over 1,000 cases of fraud. Only robust digital health will help to overcome these challenges. Government and patients will be short-changed if digital tools are not deployed by all providers end-to-end. This will bring transparency, accountability and outcomes . So, we need ‘digital health in all, and for all’, to realise the goal of ‘health for all’ (PM-JAY).
Also, we need to address the issue of data ownership, data security, privacy and human interoperability. These will be discussed at the summit.
3. How can evidence-based recommendations, particularly in healthcare, bring a change in the sector?
Healthcare is not just another industry, it is a service and it is about lives. One error and a human life is on the line. So, anything we recommend will need to have a strong clinical evidence. Once evidence is available, adoption will be fast.
4. What is so unique about the two initiatives that you will be launching during the summit? How do you think this initiative will be a game changer in the changing healthcare landscape?
Healthcare has a plenty of lobby groups masquerading as industry associations and you can see from their common funders. So, there is a trust deficit between these industry associations and the government. Small companies’ interest are never taken care of by them, and so, there is an industry -industry trust deficit as well. Real issues are never brought to the fore. So, the initiative ‘Health Parliament’ will act as the de facto think tank of all stakeholders, with the mission of ‘Real Work. Great Leaders. Right Policies.’ We aim to do research and gather evidence for our recommendations and bridge the divide and trust deficit. In addition, we need to mentor future leaders and then, we can hope for the right policies. This initiative is going to be unveiled on 16th November at the Digital Health Summit. We hope to fill the gap of an evidence-based policymaking in India and create a pool of leaders in healthcare policymaking through this think tank ‘Health Parliament.’
The second initiative is ‘Digital Health Academy’, which aims to fill the gap of capacity building for digital health. We fall short of implementation in digital health due to lack of proper avenues for training. This Digital Health Academy being launched at the summit, will fill this huge unmet need for clinicians, para-medics and other professionals associated with the healthcare delivery.
Both these initiatives are unique, grounds up and make a big difference to the healthcare industry through capacity building, thought leadership and policymaking working across stakeholders.
5. What is the reason or need to involve top leaders from pharma and insurance space?
We need the voice and views for key leaders across stakeholders, and this summit has everyone who is a stakeholder in this space. Pharma and insurance are key stakeholders in healthcare delivery and hence we have them around.
6. Can you give us details about the study ‘State of Digital Health in India’, which will be released during the summit? Few outcomes of the study and how do you plan to take it forward?
We are doing this survey with clinicians, industry and other stakeholders, on how they are using technology now and what are their plans for the next one year. Also, what are the concerns for their not using or using digital health tools. This survey also covers the important issue of emergence of fitness wearables . Since the survey is still on, we will analyse and share the findings at these summit. People can take this survey at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/digitalhealthsurvey