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NDHM & What it means to be Integration Ready

5 minutes read

The healthcare industry in India has been steadily growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 22% since 2016 and is expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022. 

NITI Aayog released a report titled ‘Investment Opportunities in India’s Healthcare Sector’ published by PIB which states that “The Indian Healthcare market is expected to reach $190 Bn by 2020; $372 Bn by 2022 at a CAGR of 39% The digital healthcare market in India was valued at INR 116.61 Bn in 2018, and is estimated to reach INR 485.43 Bn by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~27.41% during the 2019-2024 period.” 

The expansion of private hospitals to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities is looking like an attractive investment opportunity in the hospital segment. With respect to the pharmaceutical industry, India is likely to boost domestic manufacturing, supported by recent Government schemes under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

Wellness tourism, under the medical value travel diaspora, has given an impetus to the rise of alternative medicine and treatment prospects. Technology, by way of innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI), wearable technologies, and the Internet of Things, also offer multiple avenues. 

The Indian healthcare system is fast-moving towards a wellness-driven model of care delivery from an otherwise historically siloed and episodic intervention approach. This streamlining of the healthcare system creates a wealth of new opportunities for healthcare enterprises and institutions. The hospital industry in India accounts for nearly 60% of the overall health ecosystem’s revenues. The addition of new frameworks for Health ID, PHR, telemedicine, and OPD insurance will create macro-level demand beyond local in-patient catchment zones.

Traditional modes of healthcare delivery are being phased out in favor of new and disruptive models. The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent waves have changed consumer demand and given a big push for the need for a digital healthcare ecosystem. 

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021

The National Health Stack (NHS), a digital platform with the aim to create universal health records for all Indian citizens by 2022, aims to bring both central and state health verticals under the same umbrella. 

The action plan to fulfill the creation of the NHS is laid out in the National Digital Health

Blueprint (NDHB), which also outlines the vision for Universal Health Coverage, that’s been in the pipeline for India’s underprivileged. This is where the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) comes into the picture, as the entity responsible for the successful implementation of the aforementioned Blueprint and subsequent Health Stack. 

The blueprint recommends two building blocks namely, Personal Health Identifier (PHI), and Health Master Directories & Registries, for handling the requirements of a unique identity (much akin to Aadhar) of persons, facilities, diseases, and devices. These building blocks that India is creating for its 1.4 billion citizens are said to be equipped with an interoperability option to seamlessly access digital records.

With rapid rates of digitalization and increasing demands from connected consumers, an integrated ecosystem will allow healthcare providers to deliver value-based care and outcomes in a real-world scenario. The NDHE can potentially create over US$200 billion in economic value for the health sector, over the next 10 years, according to BCG analysis. 

The National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) underlines key principles which include domain perspectives namely, Universal Health Coverage, Security & Privacy, Education & Empowerment, and Inclusiveness of citizens; and the technology perspective namely, Building Blocks, Interoperability, a set of Registries as single sources of truth, Open Standards and Open APIs.

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021 

How integration-ready are we? 

Most hospitals in India continue to use paper-based medical records and verbal procedures to communicate among doctors and nurses for a patient’s treatment. This causes serious implications such as lack of transparency, lack of accountability, error-prone treatment, non-integrated patient health records, difficulty to understand the past medical history, poor collaboration within a team of doctors, a higher threat to infection, and a lack of progress towards adopting AI/ML-based technologies. As the consumer is being ushered into the ‘age of experiences‘, the onus is on digital healthcare enterprises to make them more relevant, emotional, and personalized.

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021

An integration engine is not only an interface engine but also a healthcare integration platform that supports the day-to-day operations of a care delivery organization. From interfaces to workflow to operational decisions, integration engines assist in modernizing the healthcare system.

Source: Mantra Labs Whitepaper, March 2021 

By preparing for integration readiness, healthcare providers can access new patient demand pools from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, identify insights about the health consumer’s lifecycle needs, and leverage new technologies to draw in more value from these interactions than ever before.

As a result, hospitals will be able to drive improved margins from reduced administrative costs and gain higher utilization through increased demand. 

Healthcare experiences future will include insights harnessed from data and human expertise to bring sensory value to each interaction, in other words, the integration of IX or Intelligent Experiences.

Read our detailed Digital Health whitepaper to get more insights into NDHM and what it means to be integration-ready. 

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Enhancing digital patient experience with healthcare chatbots

5 minutes read

Chatbots are fast emerging at the forefront of user engagement across industries. In 2021, healthcare is undoubtedly being touted as one of the most important industries due to the noticeable surge in demand amid the pandemic and its subsequent waves. The Global Healthcare Chatbots Market is expected to exceed over US$ 314.63 Million by 2024 at a CAGR of 20.58%.

Chatbots are being seen as those with high potential to revolutionize healthcare. They act as the perfect support system to agents on the floor by providing the first-step resolution to the customer, in terms of understanding intent and need, boost efficiency, and also improve the accuracy of symptom detection and ailment identification, preventive care, feedback procedures, claim filing and processing and more.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital tools in healthcare, most commonly chatbots, rose to the forefront of healthcare solutions. Providence St. Joseph Health, Mass General Brigham, Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare), and several other notable names built and rolled out artificial intelligence-based chatbots to help with diagnostics at the first stage before a human-human virtual contact, especially while differentiating between possible COVID-19 cases and other ailments. The CDC also hosts an AI-driven chatbot on its website to help screen for coronavirus infections. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered with a messaging app named Ratuken Viber, to develop an interactive chatbot for accurate information about COVID-19 in multiple languages. This allowed WHO to reach up to 1 billion people located anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, in their respective native languages.

For Care Health Insurance, Mantra Labs deployed their Conversational AI Chatbot with AR-based virtual support, called Hitee, trained to converse in multiple languages. This led to 10X interactions over the previous basic chatbot; 5X more conversions through Vanilla Web Experience; Drop-in Customer Queries over Voice Support by 20% among other benefits.

Artificial Intelligence’s role in the healthcare industry has been growing strength by strength over the years. According to the global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next 5 years, healthtechmagazine.net has reported. 

Speaking of key features available on a healthcare chatbot, Anonymity; Monitoring; Personalization; collecting Physical vitals (including oxygenation, heart rhythm, body temperature) via mobile sensors; monitoring patient behavior via facial recognition; Real-time interaction; and Scalability, feature top of the list. 

However, while covering the wide gamut of a healthcare bot’s capabilities, it is trained on the following factors to come in handy on a business or human-need basis. Read on: 

Remote, Virtual Consults 

Chatbots were seen surging exponentially in the year 2016, however, the year 2020 and onwards brought back the possibility of adding on to healthcare bot capabilities as people continued to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Chatbots work as the frontline customer support for Quick Symptom Assessment where the intent is understood and a patient’s queries are answered, including connection with an agent for follow-up service, Booking an Appointment with doctors, and more. 

Mental Health Therapy

Even though anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related disorders and their subsequent awareness have been the talk around the world, even before the pandemic hit, the pandemic year, once again could be attributed to increased use of bots to seek support or a conversation to work through their anxiety and more amid trying times. The popular apps, Woebot and Wysa, both gained popularity and recognition during the previous months as a go-to Wellness Advisor. 

An AI Wellness Advisor can also take the form of a chatbot that sends regular reminders on meal and water consumption timings, nutrition charts including requisite consultation with nutritionists, lifestyle advice, and more. 

Patient Health Monitoring via wearables 

Wearable technologies like wearable heart monitors, Bluetooth-enabled scales, glucose monitors, skin patches, shoes, belts, or maternity care trackers promise to redefine assessment of health behaviors in a non-invasive manner and helps acquire, transmit, process, and store patient data, thereby making it a breeze for clinicians to retrieve it as and when they need it.

Remote patient monitoring devices also enable patients to share updates on their vitals and their environment from the convenience and comfort of home, a feature that’s gained higher popularity amid the pandemic.

A healthcare chatbot for healthcare has the capability to check existing insurance coverage, help file claims and track the status of claims. 

What’s in store for the future of chatbots in Healthcare? 

The three main areas where healthcare chatbots can be particularly useful include timely health diagnostics, patient engagement outside medical facilities, and mental health care. 

According to Gartner, conversational AI will supersede cloud and mobile as the most important imperative for the next ten years. 

“For AI to succeed in healthcare over the long-term, consumer comfort and confidence should be front and center. Leveraging AI behind the scenes or in supporting roles could collectively ease us into understanding its value without risking alienation,” reads a May 2021 Forbes article titled, The Doctor Is In: Three Predictions For The Future Of AI In Healthcare. 

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