Friday, May 18, 2012

WHO Bulletin on E-health

The newest issue of the WHO Bulletin is on e-health. This is an interesting issue , but what I found very disappointing is that there was not one single article written by a patient !

E-health , if used properly, can allow us to put patients first – and this is the major reason why I am so hopeful about it. Top-down approaches are doomed to fail  - and while there are a lot of pilot projects which do well, the key is to get them to scale up and become sustainable.

This is where entrepreneurship comes into play. Clever Indian entrepreneurs will start companies which develop products for patients and doctors. Those which are useful will grow and multiply – while the others will die.

Innovation will be the key to success here. We need to change the entire ecosystem – and the key is to get doctors online. Once the doctors come online, everyone else will follow !

It’s hard to get doctors to change, so the key is to give them their own personal website. Because this is useful for them , doctors will be happy to make the shift to a digital e-practise !

This is the big picture , as I see it.

1. Every patient will have their own PHR ( personal health url) on the cloud and on their Aadhar UID.They will do this because their doctor prescribes it !

2. Their  doctor will prescribe a PHR because it makes him more productive ( and increases his efficiency and income) . PHRs will be an integral part of the doctor's website's patient portal.

3. Information therapy can then be tailored to the patient’s needs , based on his PHR

4. Patients can interact online, using social media

Who will provide all the pieces of the puzzle ? Startups ? Tomorrow’s googles ? Today’s facebooks ? Health insurance companies ? The government ? I think all of these have a role to play – but only time will tell how this will play out.

The major advantage India has is that we have no legacy issues, so we can leapfrog and beat the rest of the world.  We are renowned for our frugality and our IT expertise – and we can leverage these to come up with clever solutions !

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