Hospitals Address COVID Recovery and Beyond with Innovative, Digital Health Solutions

Updated on September 25, 2021
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By Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare

As hospitals face challenges to address patients’ needs for COVID-19 recovery and beyond, they are recognizing the critical role of digital health technologies and innovative solutions. Thanks to digital solutions, hospitals are transforming healthcare access and care delivery, making care more affordable, convenient and personalized for individuals wherever they are located.  

Many organizations are undergoing digital transformation to introduce “smart” infrastructure through extensive use of emergent technologies, including telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and Internet of Things (IOT).  

Looking beyond the pandemic, hospitals will become even more consumer-centric, and clinicians will be empowered with solutions that reach out to meet patients at the home via digital means. Despite its benefits, hospitals will need to be aware of the challenges of health tech. 

Smart Hospitals or Hospitals 4.0: Making Healthcare Affordable and Accessible to All

According to U.N., the world population is expected to exceed 8.5 billion people by 2030 and by 2050, the number of people over the age of 60 will double in comparison to 2015. The age group of 60+ is also the population segment that requires the most amount of medical care, hospitalization and care continuum.

To be able to meet this growing need with available resources, hospital systems will be required to undergo digital transformation and introduce ‘smart’ infrastructure through extensive use of emergent technologies.

The future of hospitals will be consumer driven, where the doctors and nurses will reach out to meet patients at their homes via digital means. At Aster we have seen significant benefit through the introduction of services like Aster E-Consult, Doctors and Nurses@home, Whatsapp order and delivery of prescription medicines by Aster Pharmacy among others.

Smart hospitals optimize, redesign and/or build new clinical processes, management systems and even infrastructure, all enabled by underlying digitized networking infrastructure of interconnected assets. The goal is to provide a valuable service or insight that was not possible or available earlier to achieve better patient care, experience and operational efficiency. Because of the digital transformation of the healthcare industry, smart hospitals contain three important layers – data, insight and access – to maximize productivity, provide better patient satisfaction and ensure flexibility.

There needs to be an adoption of smart hospital systems and electronic medical record systems, with regulators working alongside insurance payers to drive standardization and automation. This has already brought in efficiency in-terms of operational excellence, better utilization of resources and available staff, addressing one of the key concerns of many healthcare providers regarding high operational costs and limited availability of talented healthcare professionals to serve patients.

 It’s essential to create a larger vision to share data across the fractured continuum of care. This patient-centered model can include the role of shared care records, open systems platforms and EPRs comparing functionality, scalability, deliverability and data quality. This should entail wider dissemination within a trust, for example, of digital solutions that might be effective across several clinical teams, to optimize the use of facilities and infrastructure but also taking a more unified regional ecosystem approach, whereby clinicians and patients – safe in the knowledge of interoperability and ease of use – can find digital technology from multiple vendors in a single place. 

Remote Medical Interventions and Geriatric Care

The advent of 5G network is set to revolutionize the delivery of care. Imagine experienced surgeons based in India operating on patients in the US digitally using advanced robotics like the DaVinci Robotic system.

Solutions like teleradiology and telemonitoring can enable doctors to treat patients across geographies and reach the remotest corners of the world to make quality healthcare accessible. This will be beneficial for elderly care who require more continued and connected care.

Data Analytics, AI and Machine Learning

Undergoing preventive surgery to minimize risk of disease occurrence will become the norm of as more people realize that the burden of sick care can be huge. 

Through data analytics of a family’s medical history, occurrence of chronic diseases like familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and diabetes, neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, various forms of cancers can be determined, and early measures can be taken to minimize risks.

In this digital healthcare environment, the opportunities for hospitals to leverage AI and machine learning are boundless. They go hand in hand with data analytics and digital image processing which are, in many instances, effectively enhancing the work of doctors and radiologists. These capabilities provide highly accurate diagnostics and reporting that often exceed the abilities of the human brain because they continuously learn as more data is loaded. 

Actionable analytics are especially important in the healthcare sector where one wrong decision can have serious consequences for individuals and even entire communities. This is where advanced analytics mechanisms like AI can help make the data actionable. Datasets will grow and stored data will be more sophisticated and detailed. The more data you acquire and store in old-fashioned systems, the bigger a problem you may have in the future.

Going forward, it’s important to remember that the optimization of facilities and infrastructure enable change; drive better clinical outcome and not allow for multiple duplications and failures in IT implementation which are costly affairs. Hospitals will need to plan for these expenses in their annual budgets because the livelihood of patients and staff depend on technology’s proper implementation.

At the core of everything, digital solutions must make healthcare more human. Digital tools must take away the administrative burden that overwhelms healthcare workers and support decision making in a swift and agile manner.

Healthcare is getting completely reimagined, recalibrated and is looking extremely exciting as we look ahead.

About Alisha Moopen

Alisha Moopen is the deputy managing director of Aster DM Healthcare. Having joined the company as a director in 2013, she is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and development of the company, and notably spearheading the expansion of the group into new markets.

As a trustee of Aster DM Foundation, Alisha’s philanthropy and involvement in social welfare through Aster Volunteers program bridges the gap between people who would like to help with those in need. 

As a Young Global Leader elected by World Economic Forum in 2018, Alisha has a presence on the world leadership stage. Her other international accolades include 2018’s Top 100 World’s Greatest Leaders in Asia and GCC, one of Forbes Middle East magazine’s Top Next Generation Indian Leaders in 2018 and in 2021, and inclusion in the list of Women of Influence in the Arab World by CEO Middle East magazine. Alisha joined the board of directors for the Thought Leadership & Innovation Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in the United States working at the nexus of science, technology and public health in 2021. 

She is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and worked with Ernst & Young.

Alisha graduated from the University of Michigan with distinction in Finance & Accounting and holds a degree in Global Leadership & Public Policy Change from Harvard University. 

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