Saturday, 1 November, 2008

Conclusions- Ehealth Practice and Application

Well, offlate I received a Huge amount of Inputs from the readers on my blog, Thanks to Didar, Ajay, Pankaj, David, Nitin and all of you. I am hereby drawing certain conclusions out of those Case studies which I received and studied.

Steps required for Such Conclusions:

(1) Create a framework for country studies.

(2) Identify focal points – regional and national (WHO and Member State).

(3) Set up an interdisciplinary and interministry expert group.

(4) Select/appoint a national consultant.

(5) Carry out research on the basis of the framework.

(6) Monitor, review and finalize the study.

(7) Identify gaps.

(8) Build capacity.

(9) Devise strategies.

(10) Establish task group to carry forward initiative.

High-quality infrastructure is one of the most important prerequisites for fostering the growth of the e-health industry. (The main determinants of the e-business environment for health are technology, connectivity, bandwidth availability, telephone charges, power supply and real estate.)

India is aware of the crucial role of infrastructure and is opening up to private sector partnerships on a large scale in order to strengthen it. The infrastructure needs to be developed further. There is also a need for quality incubators (initiators) to promote entrepreneurship, and more biotechnological facilities such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Technological barriers hinder the progress of cross-border trade. There is a need for sufficient internet bandwidth. The cost of internet access has to be brought down, outdated applications must be eliminated, and interoperability across different platforms needs to be promoted.

As legal support plays a major role in creating an environment conducive to compliance, the legal framework needs to be user-friendly and easy to implement at all levels. However, currently, no effective legal framework exists in India for cross-border trade. There is lack of clear definition with regard to the legal requirements and implications of getting into businesses such as contract research, medical transcription, medical coding and billing, all of which deal with confidential health information. In 2001, India promulgated the Information Technology Act for the purpose of facilitating e-governance and ecommerce in the country. The Act also seeks to curb cyber crime and regulate the online environment.

This poses a serious threat to health-care companies outsourcing work to India.

Also a very low level of awareness of country-specific healthcare regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a turn-off.

As far as Manpower is concerned , the workforce was found lacking in domain knowledge of health-care administration and financing, despite the considerable amount of BPO work being done in this area. The supply of health-care professionals does not meet the demand. Also all of us know about limited acceptance of Indian health-care qualifications in developed countries.

Why our E-health models don’t scale and lag?

The promotion of remote diagnosis for US-based patients by Indian doctors in India would require the doctors to hold United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) certificates. This makes the BPO model in this area of health care restrictive. If Indian health-care professionals want to demand high-end work and higher prices, they will need to be certified by US industry associations, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) for medical coders. A good understanding of health informatics could revolutionize the way health information is captured, stored, analyzed, applied and shared.

All said, There is still plenty of room for Indian e-health service companies to enter areas such as telemedicine, clinical trials, disease management, and management of health-care knowledge, as well as that of electronic medical records.

Keep on rolling Guys.

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