Abhimanyu Bhosale, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LiveHealth

The healthcare industry is realising the power of Information and communications technology (ICT) and is gradually warming up to new technologies. Technology trends such as digital patient engagement, use of internet of things (IoT) solutions for pre-diagnosis, deployment of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to improve healthcare professionals’ productivity, and access to virtual healthcare or telemedicine are set to significantly disrupt the healthcare industry. Meanwhile, the scope of big data analytics in the healthcare industry is also immense. Technology leads of enterprises operating in the healthcare space share their views on emerging ICT trends in healthcare, the status of technology adoption and the future outlook…

How have the ICT requirements of the healthcare industry evolved over time? What are the key ICT solutions used by your organisation?

ICT remains a key growth driver for emer­­ging markets. Healthcare is one of the ma­jor ones. Typically, ICT requirements start with infrastructure and capacity building, followed by the reliability and quality of ICT solutions available in the market.

We are now seeing not only more cloud-based solutions as compared to wh­en we started in 2013, but also better quality solutions such as real-time logistics tracking, online point-of-sale systems and mobile-based solutions. So as technology adoption and infrastructure improve, better solutions are evolving to leverage the new capabilities.

At LiveHealth we are using a range of ICT solutions. Apart from a complete information management system, a customer relationship management (CRM) system and an EMR system, we are offering business insights with the help of analytics and AI tools. In addition, we have IoT services in place to automate and ma­na­­ge remote medical devices. We are in­vest­ing in product development on different adjacent areas. In many such areas, we are the first organised player to build and offer these kinds of solutions. Auto­mation is one of our key focus areas, where we are automating operational pro­cess­es inside a laboratory, and speeding up the turnaround time by 40 per cent.

What is the scope of big data analytics, AI and IoT in the healthcare industry? What are your plans for leveraging these technologies?

The scope of these technologies in the healthcare landscape is huge. These technologies enable many new functions which were not possible earlier. We are using AI to improve medical certainty during reporting of lab results. Through AI we are able to help doctors automatically validate results considering a wide range or variance in reporting parameters.

“AI has the ability to drive higher levels of precision and greater predictability in diagnosis, which can help in early diagnosis and treatment, and timely prevention of diseases.” Abhimanyu Bhosale

What roles are telemedicine and m-health pl­ay­­ing in the delivery of healthcare services in India? What is your outlook for these services?

The existing and rapidly growing demand in the healthcare sector can only be met by implementing newer, effective and innovative technology solutions. Telemedicine and m-health are evidently playing a crucial role in bridging this demand gap. These solutions provide the ability to treat patients remotely in most regions of the country. They also provide convenience in healthcare, which is the most sought after element for urban folks. Telemedicine and m-health have made healthcare easily accessible, convenient and cost effective. In my view, innovative technology implementation is the key to transforming the entire healthcare ecosystem and providing a better quality of life to everyone.

What are the challenges in managing the IT/telecom infrastructure and deploying new technologies? How can these be resolved?

The lack of basic supporting resources and tech­no­logy adoption and unskilled manpower are some of the major challenges. The cost of improved infrastructure to support new advanced technology is still high. With better accessibility to infrastructure, which includes electricity and the internet, most providers will be able to substantially improve their quality of care, and reduce their costs and efforts. The other two challenges can be resolved by customer education and by helping them be more equipped with the skills required to understand and use innovative technologies.

What are the upcoming technology trends that will shape the healthcare industry in the next few years?

One of the biggest technology trends that has the potential to take healthcare services to greater heights is AI. It has the ability to drive higher levels of precision and greater predictability in diagnosis, which can help in early diagnosis and treatment, and the timely prevention of diseases. It is a logic-based ever-evolving te­ch­­nology that uses data science and analytics to deduce the next course of action.