Digital health tools are leading the way from the front in revolutionizing the way healthcare functions in India, especially during the COVID pandemic. Digital health tools have vast potential to improve the ability to accurately diagnose and treat diseases and to enhance the delivery of healthcare for individuals. These modern tools range from mobile apps, software that help in the everyday workflow to artificial intelligence and machine learning based analytics and insights.
Although digital health tools will reap a lot of benefits to both users as well as doctors and providers, India is facing a lot of challenges and resistance while adopting the same. According to MIT Sloan, 73% of professionals believe that Digital Health Transformation will be imperative to their organization in the next 2 years. At the same time, 63% of professionals feel that the onboarding process for both patients and doctors/labs is not smooth and easy. Starting from the process of collecting patient information through tedious and long data forms to showing that data to doctors/labs which they can further use to draw insights are very traditional in nature and time consuming. Hence, the efforts required to use the tools outweighs the benefits perceived by people and because of this, the adoption has been very slow in India.
Adding to this, according to a survey by Accenture, consumers listed the privacy and efficacy of digital health tools as their top two concerns. Pertaining to efficacy, they are also more interested in getting virtual healthcare from traditional healthcare providers than they are in small setups.
Lastly, Data privacy is one of the biggest issues in the digital realm. That is mostly because Patient Health Data (PHI) can be collected in a variety of ways, it is unclear who is responsible for the security of patient data and information. However, it is no exaggeration to say that this responsibility ultimately rests with the entity that is collecting the data. But there is a lack of framework containing Health Regulations and laws that bind such organizations to strictly follow data privacy laws because failure to do so may result in financial loss and in some cases, damage to the patient’s health.
Majorly due to these issues, the adoption of digital health tools in India has been very slow. Apart from these Pharmaceutical technologies conducted a survey through verdict to identify other major reasons which lead to barriers to the adoption of digital health tools.
Also, even if certain healthcare companies mitigate all the above challenges and try to deploy digital health technologies, hurdles such as high cost, resistance from patients & internal staff to adapt to new software/tool and low level of digital health literacy put them into a tough spot. Leading to which these companies drain their finances and reap very few benefits from the same. Hence, combining both deploying and penetration solutions in India, the adoption of digital health tools is likely to stay slow until major regulatory changes are being made.
More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health technologies are gaining popularity, but not without problems. Minor outbreaks and variants of the virus continue to emerge around the world as people begin to live in a new normal state that scientists now call “endemic.” The health sector is at the forefront of this changing situation. It’s time to rethink how the best healthcare professionals can respond quickly and adapt to challenges and roadblocks faced while adapting digital health tools and methodologies.