Improvements for Healthcare in India

Technical advancements are revolutionizing the health care industry in India. The country is now experiencing a rise of entrepreneurs and start-up culture, with a promising GDP that is expected to expand to 7.5 percent by 2020. In return, the health care industry of India can expect to see more personalized and accessible health options as well as better infrastructure. Below are five recent improvements for health care in India worth noting.

Five Improvements for Health Care in India

  1. The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), also called the Ayushman Bharat, is one of the biggest advances in Indian health care to date. The initiative provides health care coverage for 100 million low-income families in India — nearly 40 percent of the population will have secondary and tertiary care procedures handled for them. Priority is given to women, children and senior citizens. Another component of the NHPS involves setting up 150,000 wellness centers to take care of primary health. In poor regions of India where people have remained dependent on government hospitals, their lives should improve as the NHPS improves health care infrastructure and creates more job opportunities.
  2. In March 2019, Esri, a global company developing location intelligence software, opened its latest research and development center in New Delhi. Esri is bringing improvements for health care in India through geospatial mapping technologies with the software ArcGIS, which can assist health organizations in making decisions that impact the health of India’s population. In developing countries, the demand for health service can outweigh the availability of service. As a result, geospatial intelligence has not been a priority in India’s government policies. The infrastructure for health care networking in India is limited, but there is a possibility for growth with Esri building a hub in India. Medical mapping, or health geo-information, is an efficient way for countries to monitor disease outbreaks, flood risks, and many other functions that improve overall public wellness. For example, in 2013, African organizations used ArcGIS to find the regions of Africa most afflicted by the eye disease known as trachoma; health workers were then able to reach out and provide antibiotics and corrective surgery to these areas.
  3. The startup company Niramai is developing an affordable screening tool called Thermalytix to counter the high rate of breast cancer-related deaths in India. According to WHO, one in every 12 women have the risk of a breast cancer abnormality, and Indian women have a 50 percent chance of survival. By using thermography for early detection, the screening tool is radiation-free, non-invasive, privacy-sensitive and accurate. Thermography reading has been around for a while, especially in the world of holistic medicine, but Niramai’s device uses machine learning algorithms to ensure an accurate result, making it one of the most innovative improvements for health care in India yet.
  4. Phillips and GE Health care have made it possible for doctors in urban cities to see rural patients through an apparatus called Tele-ICU. Since most hospitals in India are not equipped with high-quality intensive care units to handle the high demand, Tele-ICU provides a new option and eliminates transportation risks for patients. It uses video cameras, microphones, alarms and other tools to monitor patients in need of intensive care. By establishing an intensivist and a nurse within a command center, doctors can review patients’ records electronically through Phillips’ Clinical Decision Support software. Through the InTeleEye Mobile Cart, the command center can enter the ICU and oversee a patient’s physical condition through a screen. Tele-ICU thus upgrades the care and reduces the length of stay, therefore diminishing overall hospital costs, too.
  5. Several phone apps have made improvements for health care in India with the goal of helping women. Maya, a comprehensive health tracker app, provides a tool for women to manage their menstrual health. The developer, Plackal Tech, claims that only 12 percent of women at reproductive age in India use sanitary napkins, likely due to the country’s stigma of menstruation. To combat this stigma, Maya helps educate and empower women to understand and nurture their bodies. Another app, Celes Care, has become India’s first virtual health clinic for women. In 2015, the World Bank found that 174 women died per 100,000 live births, which is an improvement from the 215-figure in 2010. This number is still high, however, compared to developed countries where the mother’s mortality rate stays in the single digits range. Apps like Celes Care are necessary to provide long-distance preventative health care and deliver prescriptions to women in India. Within a minute, users can connect privately with a female physician who will address issues concerning fertility, pregnancy, thyroid, PCOS, weight control and menopause.

Such innovative solutions provide hope for reducing health risks and increasing access to health care in India.

– Isadora Savage
Photo: Flickr