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Eindia 2009 Conference

ehealth 2009 was a very successful conference this year.The attendence was very impressive and it was great to see Public sector participation there.

In my session, i.e. Online and Mobile Applications in Healthcare –
exploring new service channels and business models, Dr Rathan Kelkar, Director, Kerala IT Mission, Govt. of Kerala shared some of the robust Government initiatives as per Kerala's IT mission.Dr. SMS is one such Initiative.

The sole idea of the project is to help people to use their mobile phones to receive information on health resources and to provide the user with a comprehensive list of medical facilities available in that locality, such as hospitals having expertise in various medical specialties (Cardiology, Opthalmology, ENT etc).

To avail the facility the user has to send an SMS to a pre-designated number, the contents of the SMS should be the Pin code of the locality for which he or she wants to know about. This pilot was tried in Kozhikode District and after its success there, KSITM has rolled out the project in six more districts this year.

This session was one of the most interesting because of the Global participation.The stress was on Emerging markets and I was extremely happy to see participation from Dr. Shabbir S. Abdul, Researcher, National Yang Ming University, Taiwan; Dinusha Vatsalan, School of Computing, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
where e-health and m-health models in Healthcare are now taking shape.

Mr. Nivedan Sahani, VP Government and PSU Enterprise Services, Airtel- shared what Operators are doing in the m-governance and mobile applications arena to strengthen e-health in India. He explained the initiatives in terms of rural healthcare in India through Aanganbari Projects.The Health MATE product which Mr. Sahani showcased was developed under the Use Case scenerio that a Field agent records symptoms of patient in rural area, sends to city based doctor for his online prescription, delivers medicine to patient.

India is one of the fastest growing Mobile markets in the world.In September 2008, Informa Telecoms & Media conducted the annual Mobile Content & Services Industry Survey. Of the 307 telecom industry professionals who participated in the survey, 71% believed that social networking & community services will have a significant impact on driving P2P uptake of mobile content. Healthcare services can therefore be benefited using social networking to doctor to doctor, doctor to patient and patient to patient social networking.

When I was speaking about the Immediate Business models on the platform ehealth and mhealth in India, I talked about challenges, Infrastructure, Budgets and Feasibility.I talked about simple Business Models like Health Tips, Health awareness messages, Pill reminders, LBS and support with Healthcare facilities and personalised Healthcare.

SIMpill is a successful example of SMS, being used to help combat diseases.It is about making sure people take their medication. It was used during a 2007 trial in South Africa to ensure people took their medication for TB. In the pilot, 90% of patients complied with their TB medication compared to 22% to 60% take-up without it.

I talked about basic issues of Encouragement, Awareness and Assurance which are very critical and important in healthcare.India (as per Economic Times) will get back to 9% growth by September 2010- reiterating the Centre’s commitment to create more spending power in the hands of people especially growth of rural India. This will call for convenience and better health standards. Success will hence be particularly in the area of health awareness schemes and training health care professionals.

Mobile phones are generally affordable and available to the population at large, making them more accessible than computers and far more cost-effective than hospital beds.Therefore Mobiles in developing countries can boom the existing Telehealth and ehealth industry, by providing more reach, better impact and more involvement and awareness about such initiatives.

The Brainstorming went interesting when all revenue models started talking about the direct relationship between improved communication and access to health care, also Increasing numbers of subscribers and coverage reaching & superceding MDGs for connectivity.Where I was addressing Clear plans for sustainability,Mr. Nivedan Sahani rightly stressed on Training and capacity development.

Mr. KVRK Rao, VP Marketing, SG technologies, came across as a Knowledgeable Speaker talking about full network participation for Successful integration. He successfully cruised us through Creative combination of new and old technology in his new range of products.

The Session concluded on a clear picture regarding Value add for the consumer in terms of Enhanced quality of care, Enhanced disease surveillance and control as well as Increased productivity within health system and profitability for the provider so as to reduce feelings of isolation for health care workers as well as consumers as a part of the overall Healthcare services network in India.

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