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How 'Cloud Medicine' Can Change the Indian Healthcare Sector? Creating a zero distance between health infrastructure and patients by providing a smart healthcare platform integrating four key technologies IoT (Internet of things), machine learning, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology

By Ashutosh Tiwari

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The world has entered the digital age and India being one of the fastest developing nations is leaving no stone unturned in pioneering the technological evolution. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Programming Learning, Big Data Science, Automation, Blockchain, and other new age techs have penetrated every industry vertical in India. In fact, the Indian healthcare sector has paced up to embrace healthcare technologies viz. telemedicine, mHealth, precision medicine, e-clinics, AI-based robotics surgery, and EHRs (Electronic Health Records).

The one technology that encompasses the implementation and execution of all the new age technologies across all industry verticals is – CLOUD. Moreover, the umbrella concept of "Cloud Medicine' brings all other healthcare techs under its purview and enables a sustainable network of al healthcare technologies for quality medical care and service delivery. This just doesn't stop here. This "Cloud Medicine' apart from facilitating quality healthcare also proposes a great business avenue for everyone from entrepreneurs to industry giants.

Although the Indian healthcare sector has been slow in adjusting to the continually upgrading technologies yet acceptance of "Cloud Medicine' can help India to create one of the most efficient and advanced healthcare systems.

The Flaws in the present Indian Healthcare Sector

India's healthcare sector has remained under-penetrated in terms of technology adoption. Superficially this is attributed to reasons of investment, policy framework, accessibility issues, and lack of infrastructure. But a deep insight reveals that the major reason is unorganized and scattered technology adoption. In recent years, the Indian market has recognized the potential of technology as an antidote to problems in the healthcare sector and increased its IT investment both in the public and the private domain. Research by Garter marked a 7% increase in investment by the healthcare provider in India in IT products and services between 2014 and 2015. Today, the investment has grown multifold.

The National Health Profile (NHP) – 2018 stats total number of registered allopathic doctors to be 1,041,395 and registered AYUSH doctors to be 773,668. Although this proves India is nearing the desirable doctor-population ratio defined by the WHO yet approachability and infrastructure are obstructing uniform healthcare service. Another challenge is the inaccessibility of healthcare information to citizens and patients, which has been further aggravated by improper facility management. Technology is the only solution to all these problems, especially organized implementation of technology following the concept of "Cloud Medicine'.

Cloud Medicine – the Epicenter of Technological Revolution in Indian Healthcare

Whether it is unavailability of doctors and medical practitioners, lack of basic infrastructure, delays in delivery of drugs and/or vaccines, downtime of equipment, or other healthcare service delivery problems, Cloud can effectively accomplish the herculean task of ensuring uniform delivery of quality healthcare across geographies. The new age healthcare technologies including Telemedicine, e-clinics, mHealth, EHRs, Precision medicine, and medical analysis can be aggregated on a "Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) Platform' – which can realize quality healthcare services to everyone, anywhere, anytime.

A study by Cisco has projected 829 million smartphone users in India by 2022. Furthermore, in today's post-Jio era, the internet has reached the farthest corners of the country connecting people in remote areas to the world. Cloud Medicine is the only technology to leverage the optimum potential of this extensive communication network and the Internet of Things and avail quality healthcare with complete uniformity. A SaaS-based Cloud platform can help patients to record their vitals on medical devices, upload their health information for doctors to analyze along with their existing EHRs, take prescriptions from doctors and order medicine to pharmaceuticals, and get personalized advanced treatment in the comfort of their homes.

Cloud Medicine proposes the best alternative to paper-based record keeping system and also expedites diagnosis and treatment for patients. This can truly help in improving the quality of healthcare services, where extended waiting intervals and ill-managed queues will no longer be an issue for patients.

A Step Towards Healthy and Sustainable Future

Cloud is revolutionizing the healthcare sector across the world and India being the second most populated nation needs a strong, efficient, and robust healthcare system which can be realized with the adoption of "Cloud Medicine'. To attain the SDGs defined in "Agenda: 2030', India needs to incorporate healthcare technology in a Public-Private Partnership model and that also proposes a great opportunity for entrepreneurs & enterprises to bring new age healthcare services for the people of the nation.

The adoption of Cloud Medicine can surely make a Healthy India, a Better India!

Ashutosh Tiwari

Chairman, and Managing Director - Vinoba Bhave research institute

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