Editorial Simplified: A Prescription for the Future | GS – III

We need to achieve a balance between staying at the cutting edge of clinical protocols, technology and innovation and continue to deliver world-class care, while finding increasingly efficient ways of operating to continuously lower the cost of care.

Relevance: GS Paper III (Science and Technology)


Theme of the article

While using cutting-edge technology, we need to find ways to continuously lower the cost of healthcare.


Introduction

Healthcare in India has been transformed over the last three decades, and life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal deaths have improved.


Impact of technology on healthcare

  • Information technology and biotechnology are twin engines, with immense potential to transform the mechanics of care delivery. There are several examples of the kinds of impact technology and biotechnology can make on healthcare.
  • Telemedicine has already brought healthcare to the remotest corners of the country.
  • The use of artificial intelligence for preventive and predictive health analytics can strongly support clinical diagnosis with evidence-based guidance, and also prevent disease.
  • From the virtual reality (VR) of 3D-printing, we are now moving towards augmented reality (AR), by which, for example, every piece of node in a malignant melanoma can be completely removed, thereby eliminating the risk of the cancer spreading to any other part of the body.
  • Biotechnology, cell biology and genetics are opening up whole new paradigms of understanding of human life and disease, and have made personalised medicine a way of life.

The case of India

  • India needs to rapidly adapt to, embrace and drive change if it wishes to stay relevant in the global healthcare order.
  • India’s change imperative has become even more pronounced with the launch of the National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat.
  • The vast scale of the programme requires reimagining an innovative model which will transform healthcare delivery in the country.
  • By leapfrogging through smart adoption of technology and using emerging platforms such as Blockchain, significant improvements are possible in healthcare operations and costs.
  • For India to grow, healthcare as an engine of the economy needs to flourish. And the private sector needs to earn healthy rates of return on investment to continue capital investment in infrastructure and technology.
  • In our quest to achieve low-cost healthcare, we must not inhibit our potential for growth, nor isolate ourselves from exciting global developments.
  • We need to achieve a balance between staying at the cutting edge of clinical protocols, technology and innovation and continue to deliver world-class care, while finding increasingly efficient ways of operating to continuously lower the cost of care and bring it within the reach of those who cannot afford it. This is a difficult balance to achieve, but not impossible.

Conclusion

We have it in our hands to shape the winds of change we face today into the aerodynamics that will definitively propel our collective destinies forward. India can be an example for the rest of the world to emulate.


 

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