“We have a huge demand supply gap of almost all resources in healthcare”
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 Netherlandsbased 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 mobilebased 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.
WE HAVE A HUGE DEMAND SUPPLY GAP OF ALMOST ALL THE RESOURCES IN HEALTHCARE, BE IT HOSPITALBEDS, DOCTORS OR NURSES. ALLTHIS CAN ONLY BE IMPROVED BY OPENING UP NEW INSTITUTIONSAND 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.