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Investments in tele-health may decrease 12 percentage points in next 3 yrs: Report

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Investments in telehealth that emerged as a successful model during covid-19 pandemic are expected to decline 12 percentage points over the next three years, according to the Future Health Index (FHI) India 2022 report released by Royal Philips, a global player in health technology on Wednesday.

The company’s flagship report titled ‘Healthcare hits reset: Priorities shift as healthcare leaders navigate a changed world’ also said that in the same time frame the current level of investment in artificial intelligence may double, which is an increase of 28 percentage points.

Investments in telehealth have also been accompanied by the accelerated adoption of digital health records (DHR), a necessary foundation for delivering remote care. “The government’s efforts to make healthcare data-driven are reflected in the investment priorities among Indian healthcare leaders, with half (49 per cent) citing digital health records as a top investment,” said the report.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth and enhanced the accessibility of treatment for people in rural areas. Indian healthcare leaders are also currently overwhelmingly supportive of the adoption of remote care solutions as 33 per cent state that a shift to virtual care is among their key priorities while 51 per cent say that telehealth is currently a top investment area for them, the report said adding that now the focus is more towards technology driven healthcare.

“To create a more resilient, future-ready healthcare service, leaders are looking at new, technology-driven ways of improving care,” said the report. In its seventh year, the Future Health Index 2022 report, based on proprietary research from almost 3,000 respondents conducted across 15 countries. From an Indian perspective, the findings highlight that healthcare leaders are now more focused on offering their staff better support by addressing issues such as wellbeing and satisfaction. 31 per cent of Indian healthcare leaders said that they are prioritizing staff satisfaction and retention, which is a significant increase from the previous year when only 17 per cent did so. Further, extended care delivery has emerged as a key focus area for Indian healthcare leaders as 26 per cent of them said that they are prioritizing it currently, while 32 per cent expect it to remain a top priority in three years.

“The pressure exerted on the Indian healthcare industry during the pandemic was unrelenting. However, it provided the much-needed impetus to the adoption of digital technologies in healthcare and increased its accessibility. The Philips Future Health Index India 2022 report explores a resetting of priorities and of care delivery itself, as Indian healthcare leaders navigate a fundamentally changed world,” said Chhitiz Kumar, Head of Sales and Service, Health Systems, Philips Indian Subcontinent said.

Indian healthcare leaders, the report said, are confident that an integrated infrastructure of data and predictive analytics will enhance utilization of digital healthcare resources.  They have faith in their capacity to make use of the data at their disposal as 78 per cent think their organisation is capable of extracting useful insights, and 77 per cent say they have the requisite technology to do so. The majority (76%) are also confident in the accuracy of the data that their facility has access to.  

The report said that leaders in Indian healthcare are also working to enhance data utilisation in their facilities even as they face infrastructure challenges.