Technology is rapidly changing how people do everything; from taxis to food delivery, from dating to media consumption and everything in-between. Healthcare is no exception. There have been many visible ways in terms of technology impacting healthcare. From microscopes & stethoscopes invented hundreds of years ago, to MRI machines today, to the goal of creating a Tricorder in a Star Trek-like future, technology is making sweeping changes in healthcare and undoubtedly India will be a big beneficiary. The main drivers, today and in the future, are smartphones, always-on connectivity, big data and artificial intelligence (AI).
In the way regular mobile phones became ubiquitous, soon most people in India will have powerful and connected supercomputers in their pocket as prices for smartphones and internet access continue to drop and become more accessible. Already many Indians are becoming more and more health savvy using technology. From searching medical terms, to booking an appointment at a hospital, or even messaging or video-chatting with a doctor in another city or state, Indians have more options than ever to take charge of their health.
Today, wearable health trackers can monitor heart rates and number of steps taken when you exercise as well as send blood sugar readings from a glucometer and more. Tomorrow, augmented Reality (AR) or virtual Reality (VR) will change patient consultations or medical education. Already monitoring technologies synced to a smartphone can automatically notify family or healthcare workers know when something is wrong or send an alert for help, regardless of where a person is located. In India, a person living where there isn’t nearby access to doctors or healthcare professionals has a greater opportunity than ever before to access some form of professional health advice or medical information.
These technologies are immediately valuable and tangible for an individual, but analysing information across many people is where we can spot important trends that can help large numbers of people in India and beyond. Because we can now track everything: from location, to vital signs, to disease and drug outcomes across millions of people; a vast amount of data is being generated. As such, gathering data, organizing it, and creating positive outcomes from it become more and more important. This is where the application of artificial intelligence techniques such as machine learning will help us understand big data sets and help us make the right healthcare decisions.
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These lesser visible, though no less important of the technology pillars, will impact everything in healthcare – from treatment protocols, to pharma research, from nano-technology to robotic surgery. Such technology will empower doctors and healthcare professionals, individually and collectively and India will become a big beneficiary due to the fact that there aren’t currently enough doctors, medical professionals and healthcare providers for the size of our population. The hope is that soon it will be possible to apply the knowledge and applications gleaned from big data and AI to help people at a large scale, which would have a profoundly beneficial effect on India.
Together the synergy of these new technologies, from the physical world to the digital, from smartphones to connectivity to big data and AI, will have an increasing impact on healthcare. The key for India is ensuring that as many people as possible can access and therefore benefit from these technological changes. If India is able to do so, there is not only the opportunity for India to benefit from the positive changes that technology is bringing to healthcare, there is the opportunity for India to lead the global community in bringing about these changes.
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors. All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
Image Source: computing.co.uk
About The Author:
Before returning to India he spent over 14 years in California where he used to work for Stubhub (an eBay company) as a technology manager. Prior to Stubhub he worked for IBM (Cognos Corporation) and SAS Institute. He has over 16 years of experience in software development, design and Business Intelligence. Prakash holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science.