India Brand Equity Foundation anticipates that the healthcare sector will record a threefold rise, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22% during 2016-2022 to reach US$ 372 billion in 2022 from US $110 billion in 2016. Digital intervention in healthcare is expected to drive the industry at a CAGR of 23% by 2020.
After reading these statistics it is evident that India is swiftly moving to become a digital health care nation. With the launch of National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) by the honourable prime minister of India, it is obvious that digital health is the road ahead, when it comes to healthcare sector.
NDHM will be rolled out in phases and four primary systems shall be launched in the first phase. At a later stage, there is also a plan to integrate telemedicine and e-pharmacies into this.
The four stages include, health ID, Health Facility Registry (HFR), Personal Health Records (PHR) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR).
According to the Future Health Index (FHI) 2019 report, India is leading in the adoption of digital health technology with 76% of healthcare professionals in the country already using digital health records (DHRs) in their practice.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined mHealth as ‘use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives.’ In May this year, India had tabled a resolution at WHO for mHealth, which was supported by over 30 nations. This clearly signals India’s intent to be a global leader in digital health.
With the world steadily moving towards digitising healthcare, India is also initiating programs such as, National Health Portal, Online Registration System, E-Rakt Kosh, ANM Online (ANMOL), telemedicine projects (in remote & inaccessible areas), Tobacco Cessation Programme, leveraging mobile phones for reaching patients of Tuberculosis and launching stress management app to keep up.
With majority of the Indian population living in non-tier 1 cities, it is essential for the healthcare facilities to reach them conveniently and at an affordable rate.
Need of digital health record
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken various measures in the field of digital health. This has been done to overcome the key challenges of health sector:
- Shortage of healthcare professionals
- Affordability of healthcare facilities
- Accessibility of healthcare treatment
Digital health records can be a viable option that can overcome these setbacks in the field of healthcare and can be advantageous for both healthcare providers and patients.
Doctors can benefit from digital health records as digital health records:
- Can be used both in in-patient and out-patient settings
- Can increase revenue and averted costs
- Improve legal and regulatory compliance
- Improve ability to conduct research and increase job satisfaction
- Increase patient follow up by regular EHR reminders
- Reduce staff resources devoted to patient management
- Reduce costs relating to supplies needed to maintain paper files
Read more about the advantages and short-comings of EHR here.
Digital records can be considered a boon for the patients as well. Patients can benefit as:
- Communication between the physicians and patients can greatly improve
- Patients can have an access to their entire medical history and not just the current visit
- Save time of the patient at the clinic
- Reduce costs related to printing of reports
- Save extra trips of patients to collect lab tests
- Highly useful in case of catastrophic events where time is essential
- Useful in emergency situations by making the past history available in no time
Read more about the benefits of EHRs here.
What is EHR?
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s health record. EHRs are patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. While an EHR contains the medical and treatment histories of patients, it is built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and can be inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care.
Some of the key components of EHR include:
- Contain patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunisation dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory and test results
- Allow access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient’s care
- Automate and streamline provider workflow
EHRs have numerous benefits, which include:
- Improved patient care
- Increase patient participation
- Improved care coordination
- Improved diagnostics and patient outcomes
- Practice efficiencies and cost savings
What is EMR?
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are online medical records of the standard medical and clinical data from one provider’s office, mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment. Comprehensive and accurate documentation of a patient’s medical history, tests, diagnosis and treatment in EMRs ensures appropriate care throughout the provider’s clinic.
EMRs can be beneficial for small and large scale clinics and hospitals by:
- Recording accurate, up-to-date patient information
- Enabling quick access to patient’s records
- Enabling safer, more reliable prescribing
- Enhancing privacy and security of patient data
- Reducing costs through decreased paperwork
EHR vs EMR
EMRs are basically digital version of patient’s health records. They contain patient’s health information, from diagnosis to treatment but are present with only one healthcare provider.
The information doesn’t travel from one care-giver to another. They are no better than paper records just that the digital element make them easy to store and retrieve.
EHRs on the other hand do all the functions of an EMR just that they are built to compile and store information from different sources.
They contain over-all data of the patient such as lab reports and prescriptions. The National Alliance for Health Information Technology stated that EHR data ‘can be created, managed, and consulted by authorised clinicians and staff across more than one healthcare organisation.’ EHRs are designed to be accessed by all people involved in the patients care, including the patients themselves.
To know more about EHR visit here.
What is digital prescription?
A digital prescription or an e-prescription is one that is sent electronically by a doctor to a patient. It is generally considered error-free and legible, unlike the handwritten prescriptions where chances of errors or modifications are high.
It has numerous benefits, including:
- Instant notification of allergies, drug interactions from previous prescriptions
- Prevention of prescription drug errors
- Easily prescribe controlled substances
- Reconcile medication history quickly
- Reduction of lost prescriptions
- Increase patient safety
Many softwares are available for digital prescription generation. Some of which are:
- CompuRx Prescription Pad
- Prescription Pad
- PD +
- E- PRESCRIPTION
- Aegis healthcare software solution
- iRX Clinics
- SISGAIN e-Prescribing
Common FAQs on Electronic Health Record and Digital Prescription
What is an EHR in healthcare?
An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s health record. EHRs are patient-centred records that make information available instantly and securely to authorised users.
What is an EMR?
EMRs are online medical records of the standard medical and clinical data from one provider’s office, mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment.
Is E-prescription legal in India?
According to the Government of India, Telemedicine Practice Guidelines published on March 25, 2020, it is legal for doctors in India to practice telemedicine which includes e-prescribing patients.
Is online medical consultation legal in India?
Yes, online medical consultation or telemedicine is legal in India. To read the tele-medicine practice guidelines, visit here.
Do we have an all-in-one solution for digital health records and E-prescription?
Yes, Prescribe Wellnexus Pvt. Ltd. is one such efficient solution that offers WhatsApp based tele-consultation along with various other benefits such as EMR storing and digital prescription generation at an affordable price. Trusted by India’s highly reputed hospital chains, Prescribe is an IIT, IIM backed health-tech start-up. To know more book, a live demo today.
With tele-medicine being widely adopted by health care professionals, a rise in digitisation of health records can be expected too. Though digital heath records come with their own set of short-comings, it can be hoped for that these drawbacks will be worked upon in the near future to give an efficient and secured service to care-givers and patients.