Madhava Sai Sivapuram,
Dr.Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Chinnavutapalli, India

Medical science is ever lasting and is always will be developing.

With regards to technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be taking over the some of the branches such as Radiology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology and the Pathology. There would be increase in the AI driven tools to help the diagnostician/clinician in assessing the patients. The CRISPR gene editing tool is in its current highest peak. With the recent advancements of these gene editing tools experimentally we can edit the genes. In the next ten years we can expect babies devoid of the congenital genetic diseases.

India is growing towards the concept of digitalization where and the major reforms are being taking place in the health care. As the drive towards digitalization is propagated by Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi, the change has increased drastically. The first step towards digitalization of health care is towards electronic health record / electronic medical record (EHR/ EMR). The word EHR/EMR may not be familiar to everyone, It is defined as systematized collection of patient and population electronically-stored health information in a digital format.  There is a huge shift happening towards shift in the patients record from the paper format to digital format. This format has vastly being taking place in the cities and also slowly happening in the smaller towns and villages.  Even the primary health centre (PHC) are trying to be moving towards digital format.

Now let’s see the working of the EHR/EMR. Mostly big hospitals, to issue the EHR/EMR usually connected to their own server collecting the patient data and the data is being provided to the patients in the form of the PDF format or via an application in the phone or through a website. Seeking the opportunity many start up’s providing these services such as creation of EHR/EMR to these individual small hospitals have been emerged. These store data of the patients in their own personal servers.

 

The trend towards the data digitalization is very good for a developing country like India but the direction at which the data is being collected and utilized is wrong where patients data is being present in the private servers where the owner of the data is not patient but the individual start-up’s and hospitals. This can lead to heavy misuse of the data without the patients consent.

Coming to patients perspective, Indians are slowly getting accustomed to digitalization but it is not being centralized. Let’s look at an example what do I mean of centralization? A 45 year old man over a period of 5 years visits hospital 12 times where he was given 10 digital health record and 2 paper health records and for some reason or the other some of the records are lost or couldn’t find it due to various servers. When he visits the next doctor,  the doctor also couldn’t understand the patient’s condition due to some of the missing past records. The situation would be similar to the paper based records except that instead of paper here digital records are used. Instead if we have a common server at the centre where the every patient is given is give a code/ID and digital records needs to be uploaded in a common portal instead of various different portals. The patient himself can access data and the owner of the data and no third party can have access to the data.  The doctor can also have access to the data in a single document and can assess the patient with a better clinical outcomes. The nationwide epidemiological studies can be planned with a decrease in the amount of money spent on these studies every year. Data acquiring of the patient and contacting the patient also becomes easy due to the centralization.

Until and unless there is a integration of all the data in a single platform by the government of India and policies for the generation of the EHR/EMR, there would be wasting of resources and ownership are going to take place and cannot see a digital health India in near future.

 

 

 

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