India has a shortage of skilled healthcare professionals and hospital beds, semi-urban and rural areas are yet to fully leverage the potential of digital healthcare, but most healthcare professionals believe there will be a day when everyone will own connected devices to manage their health. A recent study by healthcare technology major Royal Philips has come out with this and many other findings about India’s healthcare system. The company has recently launched the study, its first edition of Future Health Index (FHI) for India.
FHI is a research-based platform that helps determine the readiness of countries to address global health challenges, and build sustainable national health systems. The data focuses on the crucial role of technologies, access to healthcare services and efficiency of the healthcare system.
Future Health Index 2018: Key findings
1. There is a lack of access to quality healthcare
- The below average access is due to a lack of skilled healthcare professionals per 10,000 population. At a 29 vs 109 average, the score is the lowest across all 16 countries surveyed
- The number of hospital beds is extremely low — 7 per 10,000 population vs 38 per 10000 on average, suggesting that healthcare needs cannot necessarily be met
- While top hospitals and clinics in metros have cutting-edge technologies, semi-urban and rural areas are yet to tap the potential of digital healthcare
2. Indian healthcare professionals are open to use of futuristic technology such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality in healthcare despite a low analytics score
* 36% of the healthcare professionals who were part of the study believe AI health tracker wearables or apps on smartphones, it available, are the best way to improve healthcare. One in five (18%) people among the general population studied agree to this
3. The study found that healthcare professionals could become key promoters of connected care technologies
- Seven in ten (73%) healthcare professionals are knowledgeable about connected care technologies, with one in seven (17%) claiming to be “extremely knowledgeable”
- Most healthcare professionals (70%) see a future where everyone owns connected devices/computer software/mobile phone applications to help manage their health
- Nine in 10 healthcare professionals (89%) agree their patients who use connected care technology to share information understand how to properly use the devices
The FHI study confirms that India has a shortage of skilled healthcare professionals along with a low number of hospital beds. It also provides us with excellent insights about the awareness that healthcare practioners and the population, have about the role of technologies in aiding healthcare delivery. This readiness to adopt technology can be a key driver in delivering treatment to patients in tier II & III cities in India,” said Rohit Sathe, president, Philips India Healthcare.
With the help of this Future Health Index, says Philips, it will now be looking at tackling all the challenges.
The FHI global report acknowledges that India is making progress towards the adoption of a national electronic health record (EHR) system after a high-level expert group flagged this in 2011 “as a prerequisite for the delivery of universal, equitable health services”. The government has mandated the use of EHRs at hospitals and clinics.