With Internet of Things, also known as IoT, making sharp penetrations into the Indian scheme of things, various newer opportunities are being created across diverse sectors. One such sector is Indian healthcare which currently differentiates treatments based on the financial condition of patients. Also, with lack of proper availability of full-fledged doctors, especially in the tier-2 and rural regions, healthcare requires a much-needed shot in the arm through IoT.
Well, the good news is that experts; both IoT solution engineers and medical professionals are optimistic about witnessing a new revolution in Indian healthcare, a focal area is in the mitigation of shortage of doctors. As per Medical Council of India (MCI) statistics, the doctor-people ratio in India was a shocking 1:1681 in 2016.
In this regard, we spoke to experts who presented their optimism about IoT, and related concepts such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and smart concepts playing a vital role in taking the initial level burden off both doctors, and patients overall.
Rural healthcare – Machine Learning (ML), and smart concepts playing a vital role in taking the initi
Undoubtedly, deployment of healthcare solutions in rural geographies is even today the biggest challenge for the government of India. Also, with as much as 70% of the Indian population present in tier-2 and rural areas with abysmal healthcare facilities, there is always a risk of an increase in mortality rates.
As per Bastin Robin- chief data scientist at Bangalore-based Hash Research Labs, effective mitigation techniques to the above scenario are Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) devices injected with a dose of IoT. Here, RPM hardware can start from the most basic level which is blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, and other wearables that are easy to not only use but also monitor.
Bastin believes that these devices can be engineered to send real-time data to clinics/hospitals via the internet. “Now it’s easy for the doctors to understand the pattern and trends of patients’ health data which can make remote consultation possible up to certain limits”, states Bastin.
Bastin also feels that RPM would potentially serve as a blessing in disguise as far as health monitoring of the elderly and the chronically/terminally ill patients are concerned. Bastin opines that deployment of RPM along with Electronic Health Records (EHR) could result in financial savings (for the healthcare industry) amounting to as much as $700 billion in a time span of 15 years.
More smart clinics = increased availability of doctors for patients
Now, the concept of smart clinics should not sound alien to you. These are already functional in most of the western economies. Smart Clinics help when it comes to conducting tests without human intervention, and even communicating these directly to Doctors/patients.
This smart process saves valuable time of doctors as they can directly see ‘categorised’ reports as dashboards. This includes data of tests performed, the exact diagnosis, and the next steps to be followed by the patients. This directly translates into informed decisions on the part of doctors, and elimination of the possibilities of reports of patients getting interchanged.
Most importantly doctors have evaluable time in their hands to see more patients in the same amount of time.
Hence, micromanagement of tasks can be effectively handled by IoT and related smart concepts, thereby making doctors more accessible to the masses.
You are empowered to diagnose diseases on your own
Experts are of the view that awareness creation and medical empowerment of patients will be the biggest revolution of AI, ML, and smart concepts.
“An example here would be a smart home camera that scans facial expressions for likely symptoms and passes on this data both to users as well as doctors, in the case of likely diseases”, states Ashissh Raichura – Founder at Scanbo.
This scenario would undoubtedly put the initial level of healthcare in the hands of people themselves rather than they having to visit doctors for diagnosis and having to wait long hours just to collect medical reports.
Doctors are off-loaded here and can concentrate more on actually treating the patients, with an emotional bond. However, do remember that smart diagnosis (at the home level itself) can be achieved only up to a limit; but even this is significant from a doctor’s viewpoint.