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Digital transformation of patients will create destructive competition in the healthcare sector!

Healthcare has become one of India’s leading sectors, both in terms of revenue and employment. The Indian healthcare sector is diversified and offers opportunities in every segment, which includes providers, payers, and medical technology. The healthcare industry is entering the age of digital innovation as patients seek healthcare facilities made accessible on their smartphones because of their busy schedules and the pandemic. A smartphone is especially important hereafter when considering accessing medical reports, video chats with doctors and consultants, reading and watching healthcare content, and digital payments. Mobility is the name of the new game and recent statistics show that more than 60 percent of all web browsing in the world occurs on mobile devices. As of 2022, many patients have turned toward online consultation to avoid physical contact and this trend will continue to grow. The number of smartphone users in the world is expected to pass the 10-billion mark by 2022. More than six billion people globally are on the internet and you can start to see the possibilities that digital transformation in healthcare offer.

We had already began approaching our old patients, who underwent bypass and angioplasty through mobile. However, in case of new patients, we face certain limitations in consultation on smartphones as we are into heart care specialty. After two consultations and getting all reports on desk, it is easy to consult through smartphones. Some specialties, such as mental health, may find stronger footing via mobile visits at the same time family medicine and regular consultation (for senior citizens), obstetrics and gynecology (in initial stages), and pediatric will have large opportunities for virtual medical consultation. With the increasing growth of smartphones and rapid internet penetration across the country, India holds a huge potential to change its healthcare industry for the better.

In fact, estimates suggest that India’s digital connectivity will enormously increase from 15 percent (2014) to 80 percent by 2034, with a 58 percent increase in the number of rural internet users by 2034. From last 5 years patients’ approach has been changed due to easy access of internet as you can see all leading and mid-sized hospitals are heavily investing in Google ads as they know there is no loyal patient in this world as every person wants better treatment at a low-cost module. So, they search online everything from doctors’ experience, fees to hospital facilities, social media inputs, or any negative feedback on the internet, and this has become the new reality of the healthcare industry.

The nationwide lockdown has led to many healthcare services being offered online. On account of the fear factor of contracting coronavirus among people till 2022, many citizens, especially in urban areas, are expected to consult online with doctors. Hence, on the back of this digital transformation, the healthcare industry is poised to face stiff competition. Many players in medicine, health check-ups and equipment, and large hospitals have started offering discounted packages, which will diminish patient loyalty in the near future. Many hospitals have adopted an integrated hospital information system and electronic medical records. Is that all it takes to be digital?

Registration and consultation to the inpatient services, post-discharge follow-ups, and the option for online consultation need to be taken into account while planning a hospital’s digital transformation. On the other hand, patients have become well-informed as they can easily browse on the internet the effects and side-effects of any medicine prescribed by a doctor and ask questions for the same, thus it has become a challenge for doctors to handle digital transformation of the patients. A decade ago, such challenges did not exist as the internet access was not so widespread. Now relatives of heart attack patients have all information including drugs and procedures, which are to be used for the treatment. Hence, every doctor should adopt the positive side of digital transformation of patients and relatives as it has become all the more important to tackle their medical queries safely.


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