Developing world signalled to promote digital health innovations

Governments of the developing countries have to take hand in leveraging digital technology if they have to improve the healthcare industry, says a 2012 report by the Digital Innovation in Healthcare Working Group.

According to the report, health care sectors face numerous challenges related to rising healthcare costs, limited access to healthcare and uneven quality of healthcare, which could be significantly reduced if the governments followed six principles aimed at promoting transformation in the sector.

These include signalling investors and entrepreneurs to adopt digital technology as a priority, establishing a system of outcome-based healthcare payments.

Others include revising the regulatory requirements to enable clinicians to offer remote care services, as well as supporting the regulatory process for medical applications with software development cycles. The governments should also facilitate fast sharing of information protocols, outcomes and best practices.

The report further classifies digital economy as a national economy and expects it would rank among the top five in the world by 2016.

Digital economy is projected to reach in $4.2 trillion in the G-20 nations by 2016. The emerging nations will account for some 34 percent of the G-20’s overall digital economy and for 48 percent of its growth.

The report claims Internet has significantly disrupted industries as it has reduced transaction costs, lowered barriers to entry, removed intermediates from the supply chain as well as expanded consumer choices.

In effect, the Net, coupled with huge increases in processing power, enables mass customisation. Healthcare, the report says, has however remained largely resistant to these forces as it has not been disrupted ”in the way that book-publishing, music and news industries have been.”

Patients have scarce self-service options than in other sectors, as well as limited access to authentic information on the quality of healthcare on offer.

The governments should intervene to enable the healthcare industry to tap into the power of digital technologies to improve healthcare services, according to the report.

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