Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Dr. Ankit Gupta, Managing Director, Park Group of Hospitals, to know more about his views on the emerging trends in healthcare, following the budget and the fall of COVID-19.
Emerging trends in the healthcare segment?
The Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the adoption of digital healthcare solutions. Healthcare technology and digital solutions had a much broader impact than we could have anticipated. Both patients and healthcare providers realized the importance of digitization during the lockdown.
To virtually manage patients, predict and prevent illnesses, and improve clinical outcomes, healthcare providers are increasingly turning to telemedicine and remote patient monitoring. To improve user experience and process efficiency, digital technologies such as extended reality, cloud systems, big data, and artificial intelligence are gaining traction. Digital health, remote patient monitoring, and timely clinical protocols have all been accelerated as a result of these technologies. Digital health applications and therapeutics, personal health wearable, and AI, NLP (neural language processing), robotics process automation, or RPA-enabled process accelerators in clinical prediction, operational transformation, and compliance improvement will continue to drive and shape the future of healthcare in the coming years as well.
How do you see Health-tech? How much importance will disease prediction technologies gather over a period of time?
Digital healthcare is becoming more well-known, with more people across the globe adopting it. We also noticed a rise in the number of people who prioritize their health and fitness by emphasizing the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Factors such as technological advancements ease of access to credible information, and better healthcare services are responsible for the increased interest in prioritizing one’s health. We will see more action in big data, AI, and machine learning-based disease prediction technologies. With the introduction of new Covid variants, there will be a greater emphasis on diagnostics such as RTPCR, which will continue to lead the fight against Covid not only in India but also globally.
The Covid-19 pandemic restricted all of us within our countries, cities and homes. In the wake of this unprecedented time, how did you manage creating a better healthcare infrastructure?
While providing emergency medical services to people infected with COVID-19, healthcare professionals are the most vulnerable to the virus. They frequently experience fear and anxiety as a result of viral transmissions at work and possible cross-contamination among family members, suffer from insomnia as a result of sudden increased work pressure, struggle for work life balance and suffer from mental health issues such as depressive episodes and mood disturbances as a result of the Covid 19’s unpredictability. The Park Group of Hospitals has been working tirelessly to treat patients since the pandemic struck in 2020. Our doctors have been working 24 X7 to see as many patients as possible. We increased our strength to ensure that everyone gets enough rest and that there are no gaps in the treatment of patients. Our medical staff has undoubtedly been subjected to a great deal of personal and emotional strain as a result of Covid. To combat this, we held a series of mental health workshops for our employees. The doctors discussed their problems openly at the forum, which aided them in dealing with the situation more effectively.
When pandemic struck, we immediately increased our beds’ strength to 2500+ and also increased our workforce. The Park Group of hospitals is prepared to face and meet any new challenges. We are providing four layers of oxygen support to all our patients. This includes oxygen generator plants at all our hospitals, liquid medicine oxygen supply, oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators.
Considering the current scenario, your take on healthcare in 2022, what are the new challenges and how do you see the gov’s support for the industry?
We need to improve our medical infrastructure. This can be accomplished not only by improving existing facilities but also by upgrading them through technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence.
This year’s budget laid the foundation and a roadmap for the economy over the next 25 years. We applaud the initiative to make the National Digital Health Ecosystem an open platform. Digital health professionals and facility registrations, a unique health identity, and universal access to health care facilities will all be part of this. Mobile phone tariffs have been reduced by the government, making them affordable. This will considerably boost telemedicine’s capacity to spread to even the most remote parts of the country. This can be utilised to provide rural populations with the best healthcare possible. The pandemic has placed mental health at the forefront of people’s minds. The government has announced a national telemental health initiative to help with this. This would feature a network of 23 high-performing telemental health centres, with Nimhans as the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technological support. This would surely increase the availability of high-quality mental health counselling and treatment. We applaud the budget because it will aid in increasing the digital penetration of health services among the general public.
As for the Park Group, we are ready for 2022, with a solid infrastructure in place to help counteract the possibility of Covid’s further waves. We, as a part of the healthcare sector, seek more support and funds from the government to strengthen the infrastructure and prepare for any new challenges this year.