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Just over a year ago, COVID-19 hit the world. Its devastating force has shattered healthcare systems, with millions of victims and the threat of a looming next wave. For India, the impact, especially around the second time around, had been far too unimaginable as people desperately tried to find beds and essential supplies as health infrastructure collapsed.


The country has since returned to normal and authorities have prepared to fight an impending third wave. Despite hard work, only time will tell how effectively systems will perform when such a crisis unfolds. The pandemic has revealed glaring gaps in our healthcare system waiting to reveal its gigantic scale. In all the vulnerabilities that have surfaced, seeing the rise of digital healthcare solutions to deliver quality care brings a bit of solace.

Boosting digital health in the country has long been a priority for the government. For this mission, he launched the National Digital Health Mission to support the country’s integrated digital infrastructure. The COVID-19 outbreak has further strengthened the digital health discourse in the political and public arena. The criticality of digitization efforts depends on collecting useful data to generate meaningful information that could facilitate improved care, support effective decision-making, predict endemics, optimize health outcomes and, most importantly, reduce disease. health care costs.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a well-built data infrastructure in the country could have resulted in triage of patients and better management of healthcare resources. This is where the country is lacking. The implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) in healthcare practices can solve the huge challenge of healthcare data.

Improving healthcare outcomes with the EHR

The Indian healthcare data ecosystem is still in its infancy. The country must overcome a myriad of challenges in order to have a robust health data architecture. One of the pressing issues is the dispersion and fragmentation of data, given the multiplicity of data sources ranging from doctors, diagnostics and hospitals. The other notable challenge is with paper charts: the traditional way many physicians still like to write prescriptions. These factors cause a major disruption in the construction of a hub where data generated from different means could be stored centrally. With the buzz growing around big data, streamlining health information that grows exponentially after the virus outbreak should be a priority.

The potential of the EHR in this regard is remarkable, as the system acts as an ideal source to collect and store data from various points in the health ecosystem. Simply put, the EHR is the digital version of a patient’s paper records of a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, allergies, lab test results, medications, treatment plans, and more. The EHR puts patients at the center, capturing all health data concerning them in a structured way at a single point, which could be deciphered using advanced technologies based on artificial intelligence (AI). The organized health data of a billion and more people can play an important role in public health outcomes, enabling clinicians to take informed action about their patients. Further integration of individual data sets into the EHR system from wearable devices, wellness apps, and fitness trackers would strengthen the data environment, making healthcare more predictable and more advanced.

Giving meaning to EHR data

The use of artificial intelligence is only possible when a robust data source is in place. From this perspective, the EHR is a perfect tool for deploying AI tools and technologies for predictive purposes. From a physician’s perspective, the EHR provides physicians with the ability to view their patients’ charts in a concise manner, in addition to being a great platform for them to receive medical information aligned to their specialty in a timely manner.

For pharmaceutical brands, this represents a great opportunity to take advantage of the uptrend. Collaborative partnership with AI-backed programmatic platforms can enable pharmaceutical marketers to deliver the right messages to physicians at the right time and in a non-intrusive manner. Ensuring that messages don’t disrupt the workflow of healthcare professionals creates a seamless experience for them. Appropriate and effective messages, including about clinical trials, new therapies, drug advancements and patient support, delivered through the EHR provide healthcare providers with valuable information and knowledge throughout their clinical workflow . It could also cause doctors to consider treatment plans that they might have ignored earlier due to lack of meaningful information. While there are many ways for physicians to benefit from the EHR architecture, in a broad sense it makes the delivery of care more effective and efficient, as the full spectrum of data is used in the best way. possible.

AI-driven platforms that elevate physician engagement on EHR networks could dramatically lower the marketing costs of pharmaceutical brands, which could ultimately trickle down to drug prices. That’s what big data can do: make healthcare affordable. It may take a little longer to get there, but EHR can be a great start in terms of streamlining big healthcare data.

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