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A Long-Term Roadmap For Indian Healthcare

Words by Orville D’Souza

Words by Orville D’Souza
Words by Orville D’Souza

Innovative tech solutions are driving a healthcare revolution, optimising practices and improving patient outcomes with precision at the core of care

As we transition from the pandemic to a more endemic stage, healthcare innovation is ripe for disruptive innovation, which has only picked up momentum post-pandemic. Drawbacks in the status quo and consumers’ favourable experience with technology-enabled health care mean enormous opportunities for disruptive competitors and agile, innovative incumbents. Data and analytics capabilities will grow in importance as critical enablers and key differentiators. We need solutions that build on the strengths of today’s healthcare system and leverage innovative, proven, private-sector approaches, and successful public-private partnerships to achieve a modern, high-performing, simpler health care system for all.

The path forward in achieving high-quality, affordable health care for everyone requires a series of actionable, practical and timely policy solutions that can enable –

  • Universal Coverage – All individuals should have access to affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage. Both
    public and private sector needs to support strengthening and expanding of existing coverage options.
  • Improve Health Care Affordability – Focus on improving health care affordability with the goal of reducing health
    care cost trends nearer to general inflation.
  • Enhance the Health Care Experience – Commit to creating a simpler, more transparent, engaging and profoundly
  • more personal experience for consumers and physicians.
  • Drive Better Health Outcomes – The health system should improve care quality to reduce the burden of disease and drive better health outcomes.

The critical role of the National Digital Health Mission

Optum, with its deep expertise, advanced analytics and innovative technology, leads the healthcare business and technology services in the United States to help customers drive sustainable health economics and more personalized care.

In our assessment, the digital-first approach can substantially improve the safety of patients and healthcare workers by digitally assessing the condition and risks of patients prior to face-to-face interactions, facilitating a no-touch and no-wait approach to patient admissions and patient flow, and enabling continuous monitoring of at-risk patients.
In India, we need to create trusted digital relationships with consumers, patients and other stakeholders, fuel the demand for health care services by using highly scalable digital products and services, enhance digital capabilities and provide lower cost digital products and services that make it easy and convenient to access health care. The National Digital
Health Mission (NDHM) can play a critical role in the digital transformation of the health care ecosystem in India. Its objective of strengthening the accessibility and equity of health services in India is a required measure to improve the overall efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health service delivery.

Innovative thinking: The way forward

Technology solutions play an integral role and enables us to collaborate across company lines and in the industry to improve data accuracy, streamline administration, reduce costs and improve care access.

Topping the list of emerging technology in the industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The third annual Optum survey on AI in health care captures how executives in hospitals and health systems, health plans, life sciences organizations, and employers view AI’s ability to impact several areas of their businesses. With so many healthcare organizations pressing forward with AI, those who take too long to act are at risk of being left behind. In fact, the highest revenue companies are now setting the standard: Companies with $1 billion+ in revenue are far more likely (55%) to have an AI strategy in place and to have implemented it than their peers with lower revenues (37%).

We are also closely focusing on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) to develop accurate
member risk profiles, anticipate members’ needs and promote preventive care and personalize care experiences. Research has shown that negative social determinants such as job insecurity, living in an unsafe environment, and social isolation are connected to chronic stress responses and poor long-term health. Trying to improve population health with medical interventions — but without addressing social determinants — is an uphill, if not futile, battle. The rationale for focusing on SDOH is simple — achieving health requires more than just controlling disease.

With industry organisations facing sharper realities around managing costs and new
expectations from consumers, leaders are looking more closely at technology to pave the way to better collaboration, experiences, and outcomes.

As with any digital transformation intervention, it’s essential that you don’t start with the
technology and then force it into a solution. The key is to partner with all stakeholders to
understand their most important needs and develop the technology strategy to address those needs. The National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) prepared by the committee led by Shri. J Satyanarayana with its framework for the National Health Stack has laid the foundation of the digital transformation of the Indian health care industry. And we are confident that we will soon be able to feel its positive impact on the country’s health care ecosystem.

Orville D’Souza is currently Vice President of Optum India Operations and serving as an Executive Director on the Board of XLHealth legal entity in India, a 100% subsidiary
of UnitedHealth Group. He has led the Payer Markets & Care Services verticals since 2016. Managing a distinct entity, he provides leadership shadow for Risk Adjustment & Quality, additionally Technology, Analytics, ITeS & contact center supporting the HouseCalls Program, which is one of its flagship services.


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