Dr Sunil Sharma
Dean
Indian Spinal Injuries Centre

Use Of Emerging Technology In Healthcare

No other technology has progressed so fast in the last few years as wearable computers. It may be worn on the head, neck, arm, wrist, leg, finger, or shoe, in the form of wristwatches, eye glasses, smart fabrics, or even smartphones. A vast array of commercial uses has been explored and delivered since 2010. With the incorporation of special sensors like accelometers, thermometer, heart rate monitor, GPS trackers, and some sophisticated pressure sensors, the healthcare industry has benefitted the most. Several medical uses have become very popular over the years. The most popular being fitness as evidenced from the vast number of smartwatches being sold.

Keeping track of one’s fitness goals and recording calories spent, sleep pattern, heart rate, and also cardiac rhythm in some cases, leading to warning alerts to near and dear ones has enabled quick response to an impending fatal event. Newer applications are coming up in the commercial health sector for prevention of diseases, seeking medical help through critical alerts, or a direct call to ambulance, all on just pressing a single button. mHealth is the use of mobile and wireless technology to support the health service delivery all over the world. According to International Telecommunication Union, there are over 5 billion wireless subscribers, over 70 percent of them residing in low and middle income countries. mHealth is emerging as a preferred way of delivering rehabilitation services remotely, where self-monitoring can be easily done, which can then be shared with healthcare professionals. It can dramatically reduce healthcare cost and save many hours of traveling time and expenses. Some initiatives from the Government of India are:

National Health Portal India – mobile app. This app from Mobile Harvest acts as a mobile extension to the National Health Portal of the GoI. The app features an intuitive UI that makes the access and discovery of health information easy for the rural audience who are predominantly illiterate or semi-literate. This health information service is planned to be deployed in the panchayats that have recently been connected by broadband by the GoI.

AIIMS-WHO CC ENBC – mobile app. WHO-CC AIIMS with the help of nursing colleagues and neonatologist from SEARO region came out with essential newborn nursing for small hospitals with limited resources. The participatory learning tool can be accessed at www.newbornwhocc.org. The core contents are based on current evidence based practices advocated by WHO HQ (PCPNC Guidelines for Health Workers, World Health Organization 2010) and experts’ opinion. The same is converted as Aide Memoire for healthcare professionals on smartphones. Modules have undergone pilot testing among nurses and doctors. The feedback suggested has been incorporated. We would welcome suggestions for further improvement.

HealthyYou Card – mobile app. Search engine and online appointment booking; search doctors, hospitals, diagnostic centers and pharmacies; search by name, specialty and location; book an appointment online; alerts and reminders; get notified by SMS and email on booking an appointment; get reminder for your appointment by SMS as well as email; get SMS and email alert on appointment cancellation /modification (from either of the parties).

HealthyYou HER – mobile app. India’s first template free EHR cost free web-based – access your data anywhere at any time template-free quick data entry – with artificial intelligence swift data access customizability – adapting to any working pattern.

Smartphones have been used for checking and issuing warnings to patients for compliance of prescriptions. The Snapcare app is one such software designed to monitor a patient’s daily activity levels and symptomatic profile. It improves physical activity and exercise adherence in CLBP patients, using a smartphone-based intervention. It is predicted that several such applications will come up in near future to promote healthcare across the globe. It is going to be the next revolution in patient care delivery.

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