CEO - In­dia-South Asia, Wolters Kluwer

" We have a huge de­mand sup­ply gap of al­most all re­sources in health­care "Shireesh Sa­hai,

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Front Page - Shireesh Sa­hai, CEO – In­dia-South Asia, Wolters Kluwer

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study con­ducted by the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health, as many as 5.2 mil­lion med­i­cal er­rors and ad­verse drug re­ac­tions have been noted in In­dia. With the in­creas­ing pa­tient load in both gov­ern­ment and pri­vate hos­pi­tals it is be­com­ing very im­por­tant to keep pace with the de­mands of clin­i­cally ex­am­in­ing pa­tients and also en­sur­ing that the di­ag­no­sis is cor­rect. Con­sid­er­ing the need to sup­port physi­cians to take ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sions and to en­hance pa­tient care in In­dia, Wolters Kluwer, the Nether­lands-based com­pany an­nounced the launch of UpToDate Ad­vanced re­cently in In­dia. BioSpec­trum spoke to Shireesh Sa­hai, CEO – In­dia-South Asia, Wolters Kluwer to get more in­for­ma­tion about this ap­pli­ca­tion.

Edited ex­cerpts;

How can Clin­i­cal De­ci­sion Sup­port en­sure bet­ter health­care de­liv­ery?

Clin­i­cal De­ci­sion Sup­port sys­tems use ad­vanced al­go­rithms to pro­vide doc­tors with the in­for­ma­tion they need to make the right de­ci­sions at the point of care de­liv­ery. This ob­vi­ously re­duces med­i­cal er­rors and low­ers health­care cost. Prac­tic­ing physi­cians need to seek answers for clin­i­cal ques­tions dur­ing pa­tient care but are of­ten pressed for time. Many use so­cial plat­forms such as What­sApp to get opin­ions from their peers, but such opin­ions may not be the most ac­cu­rate.

UpToDate is a Clin­i­cal De­ci­sion Sup­port tool -- avail­able in desk­top and mo­bile ver­sions-- which pro­vides ev­i­dence based clin­i­cal in­for­ma­tion to doc­tors which sup­port them in treat­ing pa­tients. It is an ev­i­dence-based, physi­cian-au­thored clin­i­cal de­ci­sion sup­port sys­tem to help clin­i­cians make the right point-of-care de­ci­sions. This app can help doc­tors and clin­i­cians find out answers to any ques­tion they might have.

How do you fore­see the growth of dig­i­tal health mar­ket in In­dia?

The adop­tion of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in health­care is in­creas­ing rapidly. More and more hos­pi­tals are adopt­ing hos­pi­tal in­for­ma­tion sys­tems and clin­i­cal de­ci­sion sup­port sys­tems such as UpToDate in In­dia. Dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity en­ables ac­ces­si­bil­ity on the move, im­proves qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency of health­care. In a coun­try where peo­ple with chronic diseases do not go for treat­ment to save on read­mis­sion costs, dig­i­tal health could help in a large way. And also, the play­ers in dig­i­tal health strive to pro­vide high qual­ity in­for­ma­tion. Such fac­tors serve as ma­jor growth driv­ers for the dig­i­tal health mar­ket in In­dia.

In­dia has been re­ported to be the 2nd largest

user of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy in the world. Peo­ple are turn­ing to mo­bile de­vices for al­most ev­ery­thing. Such a sit­u­a­tion serves as the ideal con­di­tion for the health­care in­dus­try to ven­ture into for a long time. With the hassle-free, low-cost and high-qual­ity per­for­mance, dig­i­tal health is surely the next big thing to hap­pen to In­dian health­care in­dus­try.

What is the hold of Wolters Kluwer in In­dia cur­rently? What are your plans ahead?

Wolters Kluwer In­dia is a 100 per cent sub­sidiary of Wolters Kluwer N.V., and it has been 10 years since we have di­rect pres­ence in In­dia and I am glad that we could pro­vide enough in­for­ma­tion to the ex­perts. Most of the health­care in­sti­tu­tions are sub­scrib­ing to our var­i­ous re­sources rang­ing from ref­er­ence books to jour­nals to soft­wares and ser­vices.

More than one mil­lion clin­i­cians across 174 coun­tries re­fer to our app when it comes to ev­i­dence­based med­i­cal knowl­edge. With the in­creas­ing dig­i­tal pen­e­tra­tion in In­dia, UpToDate has a fast grow­ing cus­tomer base which in­cludes around 10,000 spe­cial­ists across In­dia.

We have a huge de­mand sup­ply gap of al­most all the re­sources in health­care, be it hos­pi­tal beds, doc­tors or nurses. All this can only be im­proved by open­ing up new in­sti­tu­tions and ex­pand­ing cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture and re­tain­ing th­ese qual­i­fied re­sources within coun­try. At the same time we need to en­hance clin­i­cal skill at all lev­els and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion should be a must for all health­care pro­fes­sion­als through­out their prac­tice. This will help in de­liv­er­ing stan­dard­ized health out­comes.

What are your views in the light of the an­nounce­ment of the Bharat Ayush­man Pro­gramme?

Well yes, the Bharat Ayush­man Pro­gramme is surely a big thing. It ne­ces­si­tates in­vest­ment in health­care de­liv­ery in­fra­struc­ture and med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion be­cause th­ese are very im­por­tant for in­sur­ance out­lays to be used op­ti­mally. Hence, In­dia must now con­sider the use of adap­tive learn­ing and mo­bile-based learn­ing tech­nolo­gies in med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion which will help med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als stay com­pletely up­dated and rel­e­vant. Coun­tries that score high on health­care met­rics in­evitably in­vest in tech­nol­ogy that helps health­care spe­cial­ists make ev­i­dence based clin­i­cal de­ci­sions and thereby ren­der more ef­fec­tive ser­vices.

The Union gov­ern­ment has re­al­ized this need and is work­ing to­wards health­care re­forms. The gov­ern­ment has com­pre­hended the po­ten­tial of dig­i­tal health that it can re­duce med­i­cal er­rors and cost of care. How­ever, health­care re­forms, es­pe­cially when it in­volves set­ting up of the dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture like health in­for­ma­tion ex­changes, typ­i­cally take time. So it is im­por­tant for In­dia to iden­tify the in­ter­ven­tions which are easy to do and also pro­vide pos­i­tive out­comes.

What is the cur­rent dig­i­tal health care trend in the South Asian coun­tries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka?

In Sri Lanka and in Bangladesh pop­u­la­tion based district health in­for­ma­tion sys­tems ( DHIS 2) is be­ing im­ple­mented, this al­lows the de­ci­sion mak­ers to have real-time dis­ease bur­den and man­age­ment in­for­ma­tion that en­ables in­formed de­ci­sion and pro­gramme man­age­ment. Also in both th­ese coun­tries a num­ber of mhealth ini­tia­tives in ma­ter­nal, child health, im­mu­niza­tion and nu­tri­tion mon­i­tor­ing are be­ing un­der­taken. Sri Lanka also runs a num­ber of dis­ease reg­istries that al­lows clin­i­cians to track out­comes over a pe­riod of time.

What op­por­tu­ni­ties do you fore­see in the health­care and clin­i­cal di­ag­no­sis mar­ket in Asia in the com­ing years?

The high bur­den of both non com­mu­ni­ca­ble diseases and in­fec­tious diseases will need com­pre­hen­sive point of care di­ag­nos­tics and em­bed­ded clin­i­cal de­ci­sion sys­tems.

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