Huge Potential for IT Applications in Rural Healthcare Delivery

Huge Potential for IT Applications in Rural Healthcare Delivery

Huge Potential for IT Applications in Rural Healthcare Delivery

From time immemorial technology has been used to solve problems.  Now what do we mean by technology. Technology is the application of scientific knowledge where machinery and devices are used for problem solving. Information technology has become a part and parcel of today’s life. Healthcare sector is not an exception. Information technology has played a very important and key role in revolutionising healthcare delivery globally. Significantly, the increasing penetration of IT in healthcare services has also made delivery of services cheaper.

To improve quality, safety and efficiency in the healthcare services, health information technology (HIT) is considered as the most competent and optimistic tool.

Healthcare technology can bring a positive change in storage, retrieval, collection and transfer of information electronically. IT has been considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most promising medium not only to solve health problems but also to improve the quality of life. But it has been observed that the potentiality of IT has been utilized in healthcare services very less than any other industry though there is an increase in the usage of IT in healthcare in the last decade.

Telemedicine, hospital management systems

Utilization of HIT in India is very less though it is our pride that India is the hub of IT and IT enabled services industry. Presently information technology is being used for different purposes in the healthcare service in India like telemedicine, digital, medical library, hospital management systems, electronic health records, etc. Health information technology (HIT) can not only automate the full medical procedure electronically but it can very effectively avoid duplication of various costly tests, reduce costs and also modernize medical care. For instance, cancer treatment needs a long period of time over years and to track back the patient’s previous records it becomes very tough for the medical institutions. But now all the medical images and patients’ records can be stored electronically and at the time of need one can always refer back to the old one.

Though big corporate hospitals, private healthcare sectors and big pharmaceutical companies are using this technology very efficiently but the public healthcare sector is far behind. There can be an immense usage and contribution by the HIT and hospital management system as most of the hospitals especially the public hospitals still now maintain all the information manually as they generally avoid using IT. Presently there are innumerable software applications available in the market which are capable enough to maintain the required information properly and can help healthcare services to face the major challenges of healthcare delivery.

By the help of electronic health record (EHR), every health information about individual patients can be collected electronically and systematically which digitally record all information that can be shared with other healthcare bodies.

In the digital medical library all the information are stored which can be accessed by the computers that help the medical practitioners and all the people who are associated with this profession to improve healthcare services in our country. Medical libraries which are found in hospitals, different clinics and medical schools can be accessed at any point of time from any place and needs very little storage place.

E-learning technology has a great potential in the healthcare services, by which skills and knowledge can be transferred electronically in the form of audio, video, text and other formats that can be conveyed by any medium like internet or intranet, satellite TV, CD-ROM, etc.

Mobile vans for rural areas

Telemedicine is acting as a bridge between the medical practitioners and patients through electronic medium and is considered to be very much beneficial for the whole mankind in future. You do not have to rush to hospitals or clinics where you have to wait in long queue for consultation. Instead, our doctors will themselves be available over the internet for our treatment. Telemedicine has already created a very special position in rural India and the remotest corners of our country where healthcare facility is not sufficient. There are some hospitals in India which are using this technology so that the patients sitting at distant locations can avail of the advantage of this technology.

For the growth of information technology in healthcare services Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions play a very motivating role. Training programmes and courses in this relevant field should be incorporated among the existing staff members. Competent staffs should be recruited and infrastructure should be developed. The Government should arrange mobile vans along with facilities of video conferencing in locations which are deprived of healthcare facilities. As the majority of Indian population lives in the villages, this will not be an easy task. But a steady initiative with the help of information technology can motivate us to face the challenges to improve and enhance quality of healthcare services especially in the heart of India, that is rural India.