Mobile telephony, information technology, cloud computing, UID’s have become a way of life. There was a time when these technologies were merely food for science fiction, but now we cannot imagine a world without them. Technology is all over the place, in all aspects of our lives, including health-care. A steady paradigm shift is taking place in the medical industry – in the way diagnosis, drug delivery, and communication happens. Technological innovations have brought a revolution in the way diseases are diagnosed and treated at hospitals and dispensaries. Nowadays, patients are integrated into these processes, facilitated by these transformed technologies. Information, traditionally disseminated by paper files, is now communicated through e-files in CD-ROMs and USB drives. Even wireless technology is being used increasingly. And these are the little triggers that are transforming health-care radically.
Imagine such a future – You have cough and cold, and are running a mild fever. As usual, you’ve ignored it for two days, and on the third day, you decide to visit your physician. You get checked by the physician and are prescribed some pills. All this is recorded on his computer, with your UID, and the prescription gets transmitted to the nearest chemist. Based on your preference, the chemist delivers the drugs at the dispensary or at your home. If the physician wants you to undergo some tests, he mails the required details to the nearest diagnostic centre and ask you to visit the centre. The diagnostic centre accesses the file, conducts the tests, and sends the results back to the physician, and to you too. After assessing the report, the physician contacts you on the phone and suggests you the next course of action. If you need to be admitted, he informs a certain hospital and suggests you get admitted there. The hospital treats you, and all the records of the treatment are stored in the same file with your UID. These reports, along with your complete case history, can be accessed anytime, anywhere, with a password. The health records will be on the central server of an insurance company, in case you have a health policy, and if not, you could be on a rental server, just like a bank locker. As far as payments are concerned, for the policy holder, the insurance company will take care of it. In case of a cash-less transaction, it will be directly debited from the person’s bank account.
Now imagine the scenario for monitoring your own health – check your blood pressure, connect the instrument to the mobile or landline, and send the file to the server through the Internet. If your health is being monitored by your physician, he will get a notification on his mobile to check your reading. If he finds it risky, he will contact you to prescribe medicines and list the precautions you need to take. Periodic records of other vital functions will also be maintained. You can similarly monitor the health of your family members, which is particularly helpful if any of them suffer from chronic or terminal diseases.
This also increases the scope and opportunity for co-branding of services tremendously.
Medical-equipment manufacturers can tie up with telecom service providers to provide seamless service – just like handset manufacturers collaborate with telecom service providers today.
Insurance companies, with their interest in monitoring and controlling the health of their policy holders, will provide these facilities at a subsidized rate. As such, there could be tri-party marketing activities, with product manufacturers, telecom service providers and insurance companies joining hands.
In fact, all this could be a standalone marketing venture of health-care services. A health-care services company could tie up with product marketers, telecom service providers, insurance companies and doctors to provide end-to-end health-care, by enrolling patients, particularly those with chronic ailments. A network of physicians and hospitals could be developed that can offer these facilities to patients enrolling across the country. A patient could avail of health-monitoring and treatment facilities wherever he travels, even overseas.
With abundant growth predicted for the health-care services sector, there exists tremendous opportunities, for marketers, to lay down systems in place for information exchange between the service providers and consumers. We now need to wait and see, who gets on to the bandwagon, and to what extent, they can be ready to service this change.
This blog post is written by Mukund Mahajan, Principa; Consultant, Brandscapes Worldwide
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