HEALTH/ SCIENCE & TECH
- GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of health
- GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT
Technology in India’s health sector
Context: According to WHO “Universal health coverage (UHC) is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer. It is a powerful social equalizer and the ultimate expression of fairness.”
Emerging technologies can be leveraged to move towards the goalpost of UHC, some of these are
- Robots: Hospitals can use robots to deliver medicines and food to COVID-19 patients. This helps to reduce the chances of hospital staff contracting the infection.
- Blockchain technology: The health blockchain would contain a complete indexed history of all medical data, including formal medical records and health data from mobile applications & wearable sensors. This can help in addressing the interoperability challenges that health information and technology systems face.
- AI and the Internet of Medical Things: IoMT is defined as a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services. IoMT can be utilized to provide health-care applications that can help in quick diagnosis of illness.
- Cloud computing is another application that can facilitate collaboration and data exchanges between doctors, departments, and even institutions and medical providers to enable best treatment.
What are the possible challenges to above technologies?
The possible constraints in this effort are
- Standardisation of health data
- Developing a template for sharing data
- Reengineering many of the institutional and structural arrangements in the medical sector
- Organisational silos in bureaucracy
- Data security and Data privacy
- High investments
- Digital Strategy: India needs to own its digital health strategy that works and leads towards universal health coverage and person-centred care. Such a strategy should emphasise the ethical appropriateness of digital technologies, cross the digital divide, and ensure inclusion across the economy.
- Using Local Knowledge: In addition to robust health systems, an effective national response must also draw upon local knowledge. Primary health centres in India could examine local/traditional knowledge and experience and then use it along with modern technology.
Connecting the dots: