E-health: Lack of common platforms a major challenge

India is a window into what is happening globally in the healthcare arena. The trends in m-health and e-health in the country mirror some of the macro trends happening elsewhere in the world, said Dr David Walton, director of global health at ThoughtWorks


Dr David Walton, director, global health, ThoughtWorks

Today the challenge India has, much like many other countries, is to not only reach the poor but also to ensure a level of healthcare that reflects equity.

The pace of development of e-health and m-health is as fast as it has ever been, and the penetration of devices like mobile phones is both unprecedented and increasing.

All the while, the push to have more care done at home and away from the hospital is gaining traction and developing increasing numbers of community health workers. As such, the potential for m-health seems boundless in its ability to change the way care can be delivered.

"Mobile health and e-health have had a tremendous uptick in both interest and utilization, from places like the US and Kenya and many places in between. The understanding that m-health and e-health tools can improve healthcare delivery across the spectrum of the healthcare experience is promoting more uptake, both large and small scale, both public and private," opined Dr David Walton, director, global health, ThoughtWorks.

But there is limited use of mobile applications in which healthcare is facilitated in global north countries. "There are plenty of monitoring applications and wellness activity trackers to help people measure the number of steps they've taken in a day, but something as simple as SMS messages to vulnerable pregnant women is rarely seen, even in areas with limited access to practitioners or hospitals," he pointed out.


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