Medical technology has been instrumental in extending healthcare by way of improving care, alleviating pain, injury, etc. Thus an incessant innovative medical technology landscape is more than required.
Innovating Technology in Healthcare
The medical technology sector has been witnessing significant growth over the years. Some experts say, it is going to be the next Pharma boom for the country. Presently the size of medical technology market pegged at ` 25, 000 crore, 75 percent of which consist only import products. And said, perfectly that healthcare industry has seen a drastic change in last few years with the emergence of technology.
As said, Nishant Jain, Director, Marketing,B.Jain Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd,“Technology and healthcare are in fact, inseparables. Cure and treatment not only depends on medication but also in intuitive use of technology. Medical technology is impending for diagnosis, without which healthcare would have never reached the stage it is now. Use of technology is proportional to accuracy of diagnostic results and hence improvement of treatment. In diagnosis, its advent was long ago, even before X-ray machines. However, now technology is being used comprehensively in larger aspects of healthcare such asmedicine manufacturing, testing and research. Technology is significant in medicine manufacturing as it’s a critical aspect like proportional of ingredients, their testing is a vital to assure the results expected from a medicine. The adulteration of raw material and false drugs is causing a significant loss to healthcare. Technology has also come as an important aspect in homeopathic manufacturing as the latest K-Tronic Potentiser which ascertains a 99.6% accuracy at all level of dilutions, that is, even beyond Avogadro’s number is a breakthrough in homeopathy medicine manufacturing.”
Accepting the fact further said Suresh Venketachari, “Healthcare industry, at least in the western countries, is becoming the most IT-friendly sector, if the latest trends are any indication. In every market, all healthcare activities are becoming digital to make them cost-effective and patient friendly. Electronic health record itself is a big area which still needs lots of technology intervention and investment. Right from maintaining records to dissemination of knowledge and from storing images to tele-medicine, technology plays the vital role. Cloud computing is going to further change the game as it can cut down the costs and serve the end-user better”.
The healthcare industry should view technology as a critical component in the delivery of healthcare services. The private sector can lead the way in introducing technological innovations, while the public sector can lay the foundation by formulating policies that encourage the development and adoption of new technologies for healthcare delivery.
“One very significant development in healthcare delivery is the widespread introduction of technology to capture, organise and utilise data. An obvious example is the computerisation of patient records that can be accessed from numerous locations. Communication between a patient’s caregivers is improved, the risk of error is reduced and time is saved, resulting in better care for the patient.
Technology has also enabled caregivers to connect with their patients over secure websites, which represents a vast improvement in healthcare delivery for the home-bound patient and cost savings for the care provider” said NavanitSamaiyar, Chief Operating Officer, Clove Dental.
Clove Dental is building the dental infrastructure in Delhi NCR and beyond by establishing technologically advanced clinics that adhere to the highest international standards for clinical hygiene and safety. With over 50 clinics in its expanding network, Clove Dental is delivering new standards in dental care throughout India, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.
The growth drivers
Medical technology or the popular short form med-tech has come of age. Matching with India’s huge unmet demand for quality healthcare, the industry has developed a range of both high-end and cost-effective solutions. Yet, there is a lot of scope to have an effective and innovative use of medical technology, supported by ICT, which has the potential of increasing access, significantly reducing the burden of disease and the load on healthcare delivery services through early diagnosis, better clinical outcomes, less invasive procedures and shorter recovery times.
A transforming medical technology landscape, improving healthcare delivery and financing mechanisms, and changing patient profile are driving growth in the medical technology industry. However, the industry has been stifled by some key impediments to growth.
The foremost among these is the lack of – affordability, accessibility, awareness and availability.
A key question, therefore, is how to increase penetration of medical technology to improve health outcomes in India?
The answer lies in innovation.Medical technology innovation can be the tool to make modern care accessible, available and affordable to all by lowering the cost of the product or delivery. CII report says, for innovation to make an impact, collaboration between the stakeholders in the medical technology ecosystem is a key success factor. The industry must move from ‘company-centric’ innovation, towards ‘co-creation’. All stakeholders – government, industry, academia, healthcare and insurance providers – need to co-ordinate/strategise and move in step for their actions to resonate and bring about lasting change.
Navanit Samaiyar- “According to a Frost and Sullivan report, the market for healthcare information technology in India is expected to hit $1.45 billion in 2018, a three-fold increase over the $381.3 million registered in 2012. Indian healthcare organisations and providers are witnessing the benefits of technology, which can now be seen in telemedicine, electronic health records and web-based services. This in turn has resulted in the expansion of digital patient data. The sharing of data, along with greater opportunities for collaboration in patient care, should follow. The adoption of wireless technology and cloud computing will also bring great benefits to India’s healthcare industry.
A fair share of the healthcare technology currently deployed in India comes from abroad, however, Indian institutes and research centres are making great strides in this area. The Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre – a collaborative effort between the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and Department of Biotechnology, Government of India – offers a good example. It aims to develop healthcare technologies that drive innovation and demonstrate the potential for collaboration across India’s IT and healthcare institutes.
Further to this said Jain, “In core aspects of healthcare such as diagnosis, surgery and therapies, only increased investment and innovative use of technology could improve these healthcare fronts in India. Producers at home are confronted with an abrupt competition from international firms delivering diagnostic device at competitive prices. Indian manufactures lack capital technology to produce devices economically. This calls for government initiatives and policy reforms to boost the capital economy for manufacturing. The unorganized healthcare sector has been a major setback in implementation of standardized healthcare model throughout the nation. This can be implemented only with extensive use of IT in healthcare management and delivery, connecting every hospital and healthcare centers to the standard grid. Technology such as Cloud infrastructure and Document management system can be used to deliver quality treatment across the nation through collaboration and real time coordination to treatment patients irrespective of geographical barriers. This can be done through public private partnerships or bringing in the private entities from the unorganized sector within the ambit of government supervision. Such initiative would bring in standard treatment procedures, medication and quality drugs across the nation improving overall healthcare. This will reduce medical errors.”
Experts from the industry also believes that technology is a great leveler and it has completely given a new face to the healthcare industry of the country which is running through its very rough phase. As said, Venketachari, “Take the case of tele-medicine which is taking the tertiary care services to the remote villages. Technology has enabled common man to have access to expert opinions through some platforms. It has also contributed to the preventive healthcare. Preventive healthcare itself will drastically impact the final health outcomes of our country which is facing the maximum risks from lifestyle diseases and communicable diseases. Besides, our medical devices sector is heavily dependent on import, may be more than 80%. Only if domestic interventions and innovations happen in the medical technology, the healthcare outcome can be improved. Again, cloud computing has a greater role”.
However, with every inordinate thing comes up its own pros and cons and challenges. The key challenge is now to be able to combine progress in patient care with progress in overall productivity of the healthcare programmes. Incremental of changing technology in stages would ideal for healthcare, since healthcare is not global. It is local, sensitive, complex, multidimensional and individual patient centric. Our solutions are focussing these elements and we are working towards bring in technologies that will collaborates all stake-holders of the ecosystem.
“One of the major challenges is the lack of IT infrastructure in the country. Besides, we need to promote R&D in the sector if we have to come out with affordable products for treatment and diagnosis. Also, there is a resistance from some quarters in promoting technology in the healthcare sector”, mentioned Suresh Venketachari.
Healthcare is a subtle aspect. The reasons why it should not be entrusted completely to technology are quite evident. We do not have sufficient technological amenities for such development. Artificial intelligence and robotic surgery have come up to be quite intriguing outcomes, but human supervision cannot be eliminated. Although, majority of processes such as diagnosis, therapy, surgery and so on are carried with technological devices with little contribution from human hands, they needs to be observed at every stages. From a point of view, technology has already being accepted as the major tool in healthcare, but within delicate boundaries. In addition, there are ethical issues involved in the idea of letting machines to go mainstream in a sphere such as healthcare, believes Nishant Jain.
There are several challenges that can slow the adoption of technology in India’s healthcare industry. India lacks the healthcare infrastructure that is necessary for technological advances to be fully implemented. The processes for healthcare delivery also present a challenge. Standards for healthcare in general are lacking, as is proper vendor support.
NavanitSamaiyar, Chief Operating Officer, Clove Dental-“As is common in all parts of the world, resistance to change also slows the adoption of technological innovations. Paper systems are often seen as more reliable, and this sentiment translates into reluctance on the part of healthcare providers.
The current domestic supply of IT solutions specifically for the Indian healthcare industry is inadequate. Therefore, healthcare providers who want to adopt the latest technological advances are often not able to find solutions that meet their needs. The lack of choice leads them to use solutions that are not well suited to their needs, so the benefits that new technologies can offer are not fully appreciated”
Dr. Rajat Goel , H.O.D, Bariatric Surgery, Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, Overdo in everything will lead to failure and make people think about integrity and honesty of information. So whatever media advertises should give correct information, screened by experts preventing false information about medicine.
Cost is also very important factor, should be cheaper and save time and money.
It is a team work, where the companies, doctors, media work in unison to get the best results…….
Medical technology companies are accelerating their investments in emerging markets, and India is a prime target because of its large population, growing middle class, and improving healthcare infrastructure. India ranks in the top three emerging nations for direct investment by large, multinational Medtech companies
Source: India Medical Technology Report 2012 by Pwc