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An online solution to healthcare



Access to affordable healthcare is still a big challenge in a country like ours. Despite the various steps and policies the Government has taken to overcome this barrier, medicines still remain unknown and unavailable for the needy. In an era of e-commerce, integrating healthcare with technology and revamping healthcare access is the need of the hour.

There has been no dearth of innovation in the healthcare sector — globally as well as in India. A report by management consultancy firm Bain & Company says that the focus of innovation in healthcare will shift from product arena to delivery. Therefore, new ways of delivering healthcare is an area that has seen significant investments recently.

IT’s care

It’s high time the power of information technology is leveraged in healthcare.IT has the potential to re-define healthcare accessibility in India. Technology can help healthcare reach deeper into the country. The rise of technology-driven consumer behaviour can be of help here.

This calls for a unique, yet simple, mechanism to bridge the gap between the needy and the available service through information exchange. Informing about the existing becomes as important as innovating. A consumer should be empowered to choose the kind of healthcare he needs by being informed of the options and we must help him make that informed choice.

Today, a lot of consumer engagement happens through the Internet — via desktops as well as mobile devices — and the online channel will only grow to become the primary source of health information for consumers. If we are able to connect the service provider with end users, it will revamp the entire scenario quickly.

While e-commerce in healthcare is confined to mere product purchases, there has to be a mechanism to help patients understand their doctors, treatment options and get the price quote that suits their needs online.

But here, it is imperative to maintain quality since healthcare is a complete ‘no-tolerance zone’ and the mechanism expectations have already been set by the e-retailers.

E-healthcare

A platform connecting all doctors together and making the information accessible to the user is a big task at hand — and is certainly doable. Important things that a customer bears in mind while choosing healthcare are cost, facility and the quality. If all these are made available at the click of a button, a patient would be empowered to make her medical care choice, even before she sets foot inside a clinic.

If a patient can actively participate in his medical care decision, the manner in which healthcare is being consumed and marketed in India today can be improved dramatically.

At present, the root of India’s healthcare malaise lies in the ‘information asymmetry’ that has the doctor and the patient separated by a myriad of administrative and communication barriers.

The only way to eliminate this asymmetry is to once again bring the doctor-patient relationship to the forefront by empowering them and allowing them to access one another in an open and trust-filled atmosphere.

A cloud- based solution integrating the healthcare seeker and the provider and bringing them together can restructure the accessibility to a large extent.

The writer is CEO and founder of DocTree.in, a virtual hospital

Published on June 05, 2014
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