What can we do to change the healthcare industry through EHR, when there is a cavernous deficiency of Digital Literacy in the country
According to the UN data, the population of India in 2019 is 1.37 billion and the internet using population in India has crossed the 500 million mark, with 251 million constituting of the rural India. That is a major feat that the country’s most promising program ‘Digital India’ has achieved in 2019. The world now reckons India to be one of the giants in IT and ICT, especially in the implementation of advanced digital computing tools like EHR.
What we often pride in as unparalleled accomplishments stands on a broken foundation of India’s Digital Transformation. How can we call our progress a success, if the Digital Literacy in the country is still at questionable levels?
What is Digital Literacy?
Wikipedia defines it as, a person’s ability to find, evaluate and compose clear information through writing and other mediums on various digital platforms. It is constructed on the grounds of traditional literacy. While 25-30% of the population still suffer illiteracy, it is not justified to say we have attained enough digital literacy.
Digital Literacy in the Healthcare Sector?
The National Digital Literacy Mission Program, Digital India, Digital India Pledge Integrated Health Information Program, e-health and telemedicine initiatives, National Digital Health Blueprint are all policies and programs to improve healthcare through digital transformation. However, the process is more complex than what is presumed to be. The Indian healthcare sector is broadly divided into two sections based on population distribution – urban dnd rural healthcare sectors. While the urban heathcare ecosystem has made rapid progress to match international standards, the rural sector still struggles to deliver quality healthcare to all because of lack of infrastructure ability, modern amenities and instruments, expert medical practitioners, sanitation etc.
Thus making both the sections part of the same digital healthcare policies, doesn’t make sense. The distribution of balanced quality healthcare across all regions of the country and promoting technology enablers such as cloud computing and EHR would require improvements in Digital Literacy.
One Step at a time might solve this issue
There are multiple steps that needs to be taken care of, if the Indian Healthcare paradigm is to become standard, uniform, useful and efficient for all. The adoption of EHR or Electronic Health Record, would undoubtedly be an enabler for big achievements by Indian medical industry aided by extensive research and development. Let us see what are the challenges that require a solution before EHR can deliver the expected impact widely.
- Empowering the population- If people know what benefits they are getting from the digital front, they would readily try to adopt it.
- Overcoming connectivity issues- Even though according to an IAMAI report, in 2012, 45,000,000 people of rural India uses internet, there are network and connectivity issues that the government needs to address, in order to penetrate rural sphere.
- Educating about patient rights- Even if the doctors are set to adopt EHR as their helping hand, both urban and rural patients should know what are their rights that they are entitled to.
- Spread awareness in Digital Literacy – Educating the school going population is important, but it needs to reach every household. So, every individual can avail all the e-governance services provided to them. Its important to spread awareness across all sectors and not just education.
- Create tools to improve access – Right tools are prerequisite to enable access to and improve participation of people. These tools bring the power of information to everybody to kick start a virtuous cycle of technology adoption.
There are a lot that of work that needs to be done to successfully derive the benefits of EHR in both public and private sector of the healthcare industry. Covering the grounds of privacy and security is what the government is currently looking into. But, the foundation of such advanced nationwide strategies needs to be strengthened before progressing to more ambitious challenges.
There is nothing that people can’t achieve with dedication, and the passion for serving people. We at AyushEHR is constantly trying to work on the above areas and improve people participation. We are creating much needed tools to enable technology in some of the often neglected areas such as Ayurveda. Further we have launched our documentation and support portal for educating and empowering our users. Log in to https://docs.ayushehr.com/ to know more.