Digital health is a symbiotic relationship between information technology, computers and healthcare to optimize efficiency, quality of services and healthcare outcomes for the patient and the provider.
On 15th August 2015 the new Prime Minister of India made a call to move towards a digital India by revolutionizing healthcare delivery through the use of telemedicine. Models of telemedicine and m health have a proven efficacy and are both scalable and replicable in both an urban and rural setting. This has greatly increased healthcare accessibility to India’s rural population providing them with many cost effective healthcare solutions. The success of this has been as a result of acceptability of information technology at hospitals across cities all over India.
Electronic medical records or EMR’s are a safe way of storing medical information for long periods of time. They can be accessed anywhere at any time by either the patient or healthcare provider. They reduce dependence on storage space, save time and paperwork for the provider.
The patient get to access their own records, actively participate in their healthcare management, seek reliable information on the internet, make informed choices and reduce their cost of healthcare expenditure.
Digital health tools help patients to book appointments with doctors, arrange for home collections for pathology samples, home delivery of regular prescription drugs thus making healthcare more convenient and efficient.
Patients can view their diagnostic test results on the digital platform, share the information with the provider and mutually make a plan of care best suited to individual needs.
Remote patient monitoring helps patients and providers to assess chronic health conditions that require regular follow up without the need for frequent hospital visits or indoor treatment.
For people living in rural areas telemedicine provides access to doctors working in urban tertiary healthcare facilities and provides healthcare service delivery of the highest standards.
In India what’s app is the most frequently used mobile app to share information between patients and doctors and also between doctors to discuss patient conditions or diagnostic reports to provide the best healthcare outcome for the patient.
Drug information systems help to alert a pharmacist to potentially harmful drug interactions, reduce prescription errors and help patients to take their medications regularly.
There can be no substitute for a face to face consultation and examination by a doctor yet with increasing pressures of work life balance, time constraints and distances involved digital health is an innovative way of providing cost effective healthcare delivery.