Owing to rapid digitization and technological advancements, the healthcare sector finds itself on the threshold of an industry-wide transformation. Ground-breaking innovations such as telemedicine, medical wearables, IoT devices, electronic health records, among others are changing the dynamics of the healthcare sector.

According to research, the global smart healthcare market is projected to reach around $482.25 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 17.97%. As more and more stakeholders – hospitals, doctors, pharmaceuticals, and suppliers invest in smart technologies, the smart connected healthcare industry is expected to move forward in leaps and bounds.

The ubiquitous presence of the internet and smartphones is enabling doctor-patient communication remotely and the use of smart technologies is helping the sector leapfrog the gaps in conventional care delivery models. Indian healthcare abounds with pitfalls like poor accessibility, inferior infrastructure, burgeoning population, the perennial crunch of healthcare providers, and rising costs. A smart connected healthcare model can vault this crippled healthcare system to an integrated, improved, and patient-oriented system.

Understanding the concept of Smart Connected Healthcare

Smart connected healthcare is a socio-technical delivery and management model that leverages technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, big data analytics, telemedicine, etc. to provide accessibility of healthcare services remotely. This healthcare system aims to connect all the stakeholders in the industry seamlessly to enable dynamic information access, better resource allocation, informed decisions, enhanced access to quality care, and improved patient outcomes. For instance, modern healthcare apps are enabling healthcare accessibility and empowering remote doctor-patient connectivity to bridge the gap between caregivers and care receivers in India.

Making healthcare intelligent

A smart connected healthcare system can address the long unresolved challenges of Indian healthcare like inaccessibility in remote and rural areas, lack of awareness among patients, rising medical expenses, poor healthcare infrastructure, among others. This socio-technical system can help patients consult doctors virtually, thereby reducing physical visits, improving access, bringing down costs, saving time, and improving workflow. In some cases, smart healthcare can also help in the early detection of diseases, prevention of emergencies, and timely assistance to critical patients. In rural and remote areas, the use of smart connected technologies will allow patients to consult expert doctors all over the country from the comfort of their homes. This will not only improve healthcare access but also allow effective information flow across the network, bring down infrastructural costs and improve patient outcomes.

Key challenges

Like any other transforming initiative, the smart connected healthcare system is not immune to impediments. One of the first challenges to the adoption of smart and connected technologies is transitioning from the existing caregiving model. Innately, the Indian population is accustomed to face-to-face interaction with doctors and physical check-ups at the hospital. Mass awareness must be created across the country in order to change this mindset. Stakeholders of these smart technologies will need to persuade patients and earn their trust towards adopting this new healthcare delivery model. Another challenge will be the cost involved in the development and deployment of these technologies in an economical manner so that their benefits can be spread across regions. Furthermore, support and authorization from the government and policymakers will also be instrumental in implementing a smart connected healthcare system in the country.

Final thoughts

Due to the global pandemic, the Indian population is breaking away from the conventional healthcare models and adopting new technologies for the convenience and benefits they offer. Gradually, patient expectations are changing and giving rise to a demand for smarter and connected healthcare technologies. Consequently, the paradigm of healthcare delivery and management is shifting and is likely to accelerate in the coming years. Driven by AI, telemedicine, data analytics, and IoT-monitored medical devices the healthcare ecosystem is redefining itself. The potential of these disruptive technologies is exponential in enhancing the quality of healthcare, decreasing costs, uplifting overburdened systems, optimizing efficiency, increasing accuracy, and improving patient outcomes. The future of healthcare looks very different from now but going to be more inclusive where the world is headed.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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