Kochi: Healthcare systems the world over is bound to become “democratic” and “cost effective” as the digital technology is set to revolutionize this vital sector, said experts at a panel discussion on the “digital future of health and sustainability” at the two-day global digital summit #Future here.
The best part of the digital technology is that it will make healthcare “predictive” rather than “reactive” and change it to patient-centric from provider-centric, said Dr Ajith Thomas, Professor, Harvard Medical School, setting the tone for a lively debate, moderated by Zakka Jacob, Deputy Executive Editor, CNN- News 18.
Pointing out that digital innovations help democratize healthcare by its patient-centric approach, he said continuous data feed will help decisions and patient himself can modify his or her behavior.
Referring to Kerala, known for its excellent social development indices including a strong public healthcare infrastructure, Dr Thomas said the state could be a prime target for health apps considering its high internet and mobile penetration. Noting that ageing population is another big “health tsunami” in store, the professor said the new technology could play a vital role in taking care of the health challenges of the elderly.
Taking the debate to genomics, Anuradha Acharya, Founder & CEO, Mapmygenome, said by having enough genomic data one can resolve many health issues that await one, thereby enabling people save much of the cost spend on healthcare. Noting that genomics is bound to play a lead role in healthcare in the future, she said it will also help arrive at better decisions than human beings can draw by other methods.
The real challenge in healthcare in a country like India is how to take down to the grassroots by creating a strong link so as to ensure that the entire social spectrum benefited from the new and emerging technologies, said Dr Azad Mooppen, Founder Chairman, Aster DM Healthcare. To a great extent, the real medical care in the country remained the same as it was 50 years ago. He, however, noted that the situation has started changing now.
According to Duleep Sahadevan, Member High Power IT Committee, Kerala, creation of an intelligent network is crucial to make healthcare affordable and approachable. Prashant Warrier, CEO, Qure.ai, areas like pathology where the procedures were completely manual is getting automated due to the advent of new technology.
Turning the discussion to a key area impacting the health of the entire society, Bhagvan Choughule, CTO & Co-founder, Treeni Sustainability Solutions, said addressing externalities like quality of air and water, management of waste and promotion of organic food cultivation are important aspects to ensure a good life.
The panel discussion was followed a lively interaction during which the assembled posed questions relating to a wide range of health related issues, to which the experts on the panel replied.