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Role Of IT In Indian Healthcare

Saturday, January 1, 2000

The rapid growth of technology in the era of the Digital Revolution has brought in the convergence of computers, telecom, television and electronics. IT has made gradual and effective inroads into various walks of our lives. These technological breakthroughs have made communication (the spread of information) and data handling easier. The speed of adoption of computers and IT is unmatched in comparison to any other technology in the past. Due to the vast area of usability and a wide ranging role in communication, every effort is being made to bring the horizon of IT closer to the common man.

At higher levels in Indian central and state governments, as well as in private organizations and institutions, the awareness and acceptability of these technologies has increased considerably from earlier years. The government is realizing IT industry’s potential. Indian healthcare should leverage the benefits of technological advances at the earliest opportunity; the time has come for us to embrace this IT-driven change in the health sector and expand the coverage of medical and health services to meet the ever-increasing demand for quality healthcare services for the Indian masses.

The approach should now focus on preventive care, patient empowerment through aggressive self-help education programs and enhanced access to healthcare facilities, which can be brought about through the extensive use of Internet and targeting of core technologies like tele-medicine. The dawn of the third millennium brings with it the most appropriate time to concentrate on making use of computers and IT in the field of Health.

IT Application in Health

Every patient’s medical record — whether it’s at a remote sub-center or any medical college — should be computerized, and all such databases should be connected to each other. This network should in turn be connected to the administration at various levels. Arranging the system thus will lead to easy availability, effective and more meaningful retrieval and sharing of records for the purpose of referral, consultation, expert opinion, medical education, research, national health database, continued medical education, national health policy, health disaster management and forecast of epidemics. This need of computerized medical records is but a simple logical extension of paper-based records to another much effective system — that is, the combination of computers and information technology. This logical, effective evolutionary change will save time, save money and improve the quality of healthcare. The data so generated can be used not only for national health but also along with other international databases it can be effectively used for national and global growth and prosperity.

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