Big-Bang Digital Disruptions In Healthcare

Ambati Venu, MD, Abbott IndiaAn IIM - Ahmedabad alumnus, Venu has been associated with Abbott since 2016, prior to which he held the role of VP & General Manager (Consumer Healthcare) - Asia at GSK.

The healthcare industry in India as well as globally has seen an accelerated wave of growth. As the spending on healthcare increases year-on-year, there is considerable pressure among healthcare players to meet the expectations of the rising challenges.

With the core focus for innovation and growth in the industry centered on patients, it is not surprising that for the last few years our effort at Abbott has been to tackle the same challenges ­ the dominant A's of Accessibility, Affordability, Availability, and Adherence.

It is time that we see a big bang disruption that may change the way we radically approach these challenges. Recently, transformations in various industries have been driven by digital technologies ­ and healthcare will be no different.

The industry stands at a cusp of a digital revolution ­ and, in India, we see a considerable focus on creating a value-based system, where the effort is on improving quality and efficiency of services. Amid such a scenario, the future of healthcare will largely depend on how organizations maximize the value of services along with treatments, by effectively handling their financial health led by digital.

Riding the wave of Digital Disruption
The healthcare industry is often accused of being a laggard when it comes to adoption of new-age technology. However, the way and the efficiency at which the industry has embraced digital solutions is noteworthy. Digital-led transformations are penetrating the healthcare industry ­ one step at a time in the value chain. All stakeholders will ride the digital wave ­ and there lies a myriad of possibilities:

• Putting care back in `healthcare' ­ Socially empowered healthcare consumers (not patients): Patients need tools that can assist them in doctor interactions and also help them manage their own health. With the ever-increasing advent of social media, surge in regional language content, emergence of niche
products and service offerings that cater to `beyond-the-pill' care have empowered and augmented healthcare consumerism. This will continue to rise in the near future. Patients as well as caregivers are not only more aware and better equipped to handle healthcare decisions but are also making discerning choices basis experience and demanding better from all healthcare stakeholders ­ hospitals, doctors, chemists and pharma companies.

• Connected Healthcare from Diagnosis to Better Health Outcome: Connected devices, Fitness Trackers, Wearables, EMRs/EHRs ­ offer considerable avenues for digital healthcare data collection. We also have the Government of India leading the "Electronic Health Record Standards for India" initiative, which is a uniform maintenance of patient records in government hospitals. However, disruption is possible only when data flows and there are options of cross-talks across systems to identify the right intervention areas in the health journey. The right intervention at the right time can have a butterfly effect on overall health outcome. At such a time, the creation of a sustainable healthcare ecosystem that brings together several tech players on one platform will change the paradigm of care!

While disruption from predictive analysis will bring in a change to the way we approach healthcare, it is currently seen in pockets and the overall view would be visible only once ecosystems form across the value chain

• Data-driven insights: Data will provide insights that can lead to a boom in personalized care. There will be a paradigm shift in decision making across stakeholders. - Doctors: The approach to treatment will shift from empirical evidence to data-driven decisions. Improved, quicker, predictive diagnosis will help improve the patient's journey and time to treatment.

• Patients: A patients' medical history, diagnostic information, and treatment regimen provide considerable information to introduce elements to influence a behaviour change to drive and improve adherence; lifestyle modification programs are constructed with the increased understanding of patient's behaviour.

Healthcare Ecosystem
Muddled by shrinking pipelines, and the ever-elusive need to reduce the time to market products, pharmaceutical companies are running a race with time. The ongoing healthcare transformation to value creates opportunities and challenges for innovation, and big data and cognitive computing can be applied to drive value among providers, payers, and pharma.

While disruption from predictive analysis will bring in a change to the way we approach healthcare, it is currently seen in pockets and the overall view would be visible only once ecosystems form across the value chain. Interconnected players working towards the common goal of patient-centric quality care at an affordable cost.

This healthcare ecosystem, majorly driven by digital technology, will ensure that the future healthcare providers can access and use data in ways that shift the preventive care model to a predictive care model. It needs to be a movement, with a shared dream of a frugal innovative healthcare ecosystem centred around Indian patient-needs of access and cost.

Also, understanding the importance of data security, India too is coming up with its version of HIPAA Act of USA. The digital offerings from the ecosystem will change the dynamics of the industry.