Future of e-health in India is bright : Dr. Shashi Gogia, President, Indian Association for Medical Informatics, India

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What is your vision of e-Health and how do you foresee the future prospects of Medical Informatics in India and beyond?
The concept of e-Health is that each and every citizen’s data is available at the time of need, and that data is utilised at the time of epidemics or disasters such as Tsunami so that needy patients or victims can be identified with their case history. So making a National Population Database is essential. A person, where ever he or she is staying, can be facilitated a good quality health care through this process of e-Health. These are the basic things  which telemedicine and utilisation of Medical Informatics in India can provide. The future of e-Health in India is bright. It can help in the progress of healthcare in our country.

Keeping the patient’s history is very important for the success of e-Health programmes in totality. The very base of telemedicine depends on keeping the basic patient record. When the doctor knows what the basic problem is, he or she can give a much more focused attention to the problem of patient. The diagnosis will be accurate. Till now what is being done in telemedicine is sending the x-ray across to the doctor but on that basis, accurate analysis cannot be done. So what is required is the availability of text data to the doctor. Diagnosis will be easier and accurate if it is done on the basis of the text of the patient’s basic health record. So each and every doctor should have an EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system for recording patients’ health records.

Why is it important for a country to adopt the system of e-Health? Has it become a necessary requirement of our times?
e-Health is definitely a necessary requirement especially in a large country like India as we are in such diverse locations. People, for instance, in the hilly areas have to travel long distances to bring the patient to the doctor. With the introduction of e-Health, at least 50% to 60% of this travel can be cut down. But e-Health is much more than that. There has to be National Population Database, and availability of this data online as well as its effective utilisation.

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