New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies across industries, including healthcare, which resulted in new innovations and an uptake in virtual care. India will become a digital health leader with the best technical manpower and cheapest data in the world, said Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology while addressing India’s first-ever Global Digital Health Summit, Expo & Innovation Awards.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Dr Singh said, ” Eighty per cent of the healthcare systems are aiming to increase their investment in digital healthcare tools in the coming five years. Indian innovators are developing path breaking health-tech products and solutions.The government is applying these digital health developments through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. India has all the essential ingredients for the exponential growth in this sector, including a large population, a robust pharma and medical supply chain, smartphone users, and technical manpower. As the pace of digital innovation accelerates, the opportunities for healthcare companies and manufacturers will multiply and patient outcomes will improve.”
Informing that the recent launch of 5G will bring in a new revolution in the digital healthcare system in India, Dr Singh said, “Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid digitisation, increasing Internet and smartphone penetration, and government initiatives like Make in India and National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), the healthcare sector is digitising and innovating at an accelerated speed. Summit is an excellent opportunity to focus on the roadmap’s research and innovation priorities, particularly in relation to the digital advances in the healthcare sector.”
Highlighting that India has achieved a rare feat of delivering over 220 crore vaccines through a fully digital platform – CoWIN and the process continues, Dr. Singh stated that the country notified the telemedicine practice guidelines in March 2020, the beginning of COVID-19.
“We should work together to ensure ‘Digital Health for All’ which is a precondition to achieving ‘Health for All’. Technology will be used prudently to reduce the challenges in treatment. COVID-19 has pushed for the worldwide adoption of technology in health on a large scale.” he stated.
The two-day summit began Friday with a panel discussion on ‘Return on Investment in Digital Health’. The session was chaired by Dr Rajendra Pratap Gupta, Chairman, Dynamic Coalition on Digital Health, IGF, United Nations. The session highlighted the importance of the Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS), challenges, and the way forward for affordable and accessible healthcare.
Highlighting about data accessibility and how it plays an important role, Dr Patricia Mechael, Co-founder, Global Digital Health Index, said, ” Data accessibility delivers high quality patient care as it provides clinicians with immediate access to patient records, including medical history, test results and relevant information provided by other clinicians. With access to the right data, clinicians can deliver exceptional healthcare by making informed decisions substantially faster, reducing wait times and contributing to providing better healthcare at a better cost. However, access to data that is clean, complete, accurate for use is still an ongoing battle in the healthcare sector. This needs to be addressed immediately.”
The first day of the summit concluded with a panel discussion on ‘Making India a World Leader in Digital Health Implementation’. The event included the release of ‘Women’s Health Guideline’ and ‘Digital Health for All – By 2028’, and launch of Project Concern 2028 and Health Parliament.