Digital health is considered as a unique opportunity to transform the country’s healthcare system radically. The emphasis of a digital transformation for the health sector in India is not just as a result of the pandemic but the vision of the National Health Resource Repository (NHRR) according to the National Health Profile Report (2019). The concept aims to address the digitization of healthcare to strengthen evidence-based decision making as a long term strategy for the country.
Given the current scenario where the doctor-patient ratio is less than one doctor (0.62) for every 1000 patients in India and according to the National Health Profile Report (2019) of the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), India has only one allopathic government doctor for every 10,926 people, the requirement for E-Health is more than necessary. This doctor-patient ratio gap can be easily controlled by trustworthy healthcare apps which will tackle most of the post-treatment hospital visits and home-based consultation services.
Primarily, the answer to the question as to what is the app designed for and the target audience must be known. It is crucial since the design and interface of the app is configured in such a way that a customized experience is delivered to the end-user. E-Health is a broader term to a lot of healthcare requirements which begins from consultation to diagnosis to post-treatment follow-up sessions. Each of the processes has multiple options such as chatbots helping diagnosis or an in-built tracker in a smartwatch that connects to the app etc.
More than the traditional concept of cost recovery with a market-driven profit margin, the app pricing will hugely depend upon value addition to the end-user. Mobile applications are always prone to updations concerning technological advancements and app security. The app being a “Healthcare app” requires it to comply with governance models and regulations of the medical realm.
Thus, the cost recovery pattern is crucial for various reasons. Suppose the revenue recovery option of the app is going to be data mining and advertisements. In the case, the app security is compromised, resulting in the end-user eventually switching the app for a better one. Even a paid application is not going to solve this competitiveness until and unless it is a need-based value provided via the app making the end-user stick to it.
Some apps are offered in conjunction with a fitness product or a medical device, but again, it will hugely depend on desired functionality and affordability. It will not be a viable option to formulate a freemium strategy wherein limited functionalities are provided for the unpaid period. Instead, a trial option can be provided for a limited period with the complete functionality of the app.
The E-health apps should be able to support correct platforms and Operating Systems. Since it is a smartphone-based application, apart from reaching maximum users, some clients might prefer the interface of one platform over the other as per their existing analytics, so it is essential to build native applications in both Android and iOS.
Thus the efficiency of User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) is not only about the design but also about the end-user feeling the application as a part of their day to day health activities.
Solid development practices such as:-
It is important to note that there are specific regulations in terms of data usage when it comes to healthcare. Probably the most sensitive information such as biometrics, mental health conditions, etc. is collected as the app is installed. Still, it is also crucial to maintain security regarding the users’ health records. A free application that runs on advertisement is a risky option that the user will find sceptical and eventually delete.
In India, there is no dedicated authority responsible for data protection. Some provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) are amended from time to time. Further, SDPI Rules framed under the IT Act, 2000 formulates provisions that deal with the protection of personal information and sensitive data.
Unlike personal data protection rules which give comprehensive control to the Government, the health data norms are more liberal. Since the Government is still the nodal authority in our country to issue health IDs, the users, including practitioners and healthcare facilitators, have the discretion to request data deletion.
Thus, the mere creation of the app is not viable enough and has to be trustworthy and assure privacy to the users. Here, the AI and blockchain technology integration will act as a strong control measure.
A holistic health care service is ensured when the care considers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of people. Interoperability and healthcare analytics ecosystems are the significant factors ensuring service integration in the health care sector, in turn, achieving effective EHR integration. The systems should also have a common platform and standards defining the workflow.
India is extensively looking forward to harnessing the power of digital health as a vital enabler in transforming the healthcare system. NDimensionZ Solutions has the right kind of team and resources to cater to this digital wave in the healthcare sector