Healthcare landscape is now changing rapidly – providing point-of-care diagnostics and artificial intelligence to next-gen convenient care and telehealth services. These technologies are bringing improved care and health outcomes, all while reducing costs and eliminating healthcare waste thanks to avant-garde innovation in the industry. While such innovations are transforming the healthcare industry, it is equally important to offer affordable application of the technologies to the marginalized to achieve a transformative and sustainable socio-economic growth.
It generally requires a lot of national efforts and presents numerous opportunities for the developing countries to deliver affordable and quality healthcare. R&D and customized innovations can provide some feasible solutions for the mass people at an affordable price. With the increase in cost of service and number of people seeking healthcare services, innovative solutions can be one of the biggest attractions and often the only solution. When finding such effective innovation solutions, the system however, pose several healthcare challenges that can be categorized as Product, Process and Paradigm Innovation.
Product innovation is the way of augmenting and restyling the product value without altering the core element. Product innovation maximizes product quality, offers value addition, cost effectiveness and improved efficacy and presents markets niches, increased market shares and high return (ROI).
The healthcare nomenclature conservatively includes medical equipment and instruments, health insurance & premium benefits, diagnostics & service delivery, treatment of chronic diseases and launch of patented products. The system also includes robotic surgeries that improve clinical outcomes, confirm patient safety, and reduce trauma. Around 4.5% of the afflicted patents die from infections of surgical wound.
Modern robotic surgeries have drastically reduced the percentage. Such procedures require open surgeries that help patients recuperate faster and reduce post-operation hospitalization by 1.5-2 days. Although costlier, robotic surgeries offer precision operation and have higher recovery while post-traumatic effects and hospitalization cost are much lower.
Introduction of low cost diagnostics can offer affordable healthcare and increased accessibility to the rural and economically marginalized population. Health kiosk, such as ApolloLife comes with height-weight machine and software for measuring blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol. Such equipment provides self-diagnostic methodologies for convenient and regular check-ups.
Process Innovation can be termed as the installation of new or improved steps to optimize and expand business performance. The mechanism can be effectively implemented for internal improvements, process & system modification, and industry & business value chain alteration.
For healthcare, this carries a great benefit – organizations can align their business models to the industry dynamics more efficiently. Telemedicine, precision medicine and other advances are now bringing drastic improvements in terms of efficacy and cost effectiveness. One such instrument is Telemedicine service that allows the patients in critical conditions to be reached at an affordable cost through internet or tele-consultation.
Such measures help in diagnosing, managing and preventing rare disease and often morbidity. Doctors Without Borders, for instance, relays questions about tough cases from its physicians in Niger and South Sudan to its network of 280 experts around the world, and back again via the internet.
Mobile health (M-Health) is already being used in medicals, hospitals and diagnostic centers in the forms of m-diagnosis and treatment tracking for chronic diseases and difficult cases. The autonomous service bots now can send health promotion messages and preventive check-ups reminders etc. It can transfer patient data and disease history for real time distant monitoring.
Paradigm innovation is the creation of new or existing business models or reformation of basic value proposition of existing business setup. For healthcare, a paradigm shift may involve radical changes in archaic medical systems, processes or services. These changes have influenced industry trends and contributed towards achieving population health, financing fairness and system responsiveness.
Public Private Partnerships (PPP) is such time-tested model that combines the private sector expertise, quality and efficiency with the network and administration, mobility and instrument of the public sector. PPPs are new being used in various spheres of healthcare application including medical education, diagnostics, healthcare delivery, medical apparatus etc.
Till date, scientific and technological innovation comes with increasing costs in exchange for modest service improvements in outcome. In more recent scientific contributions, an inflection point may have been reached, meaning better care with lower costs. In such cases, costs can be lowered by cutting extra diagnostic processes, eliminating waste and prescribing only relevant treatments.
One such transformative medical instrument is the introduction of minimally invasive procedure that has helped in reducing trauma, ensuring patient safety, ensuring faster recovery and reducing average hospital stay. Some examples of minimal invasive procedure are ‘Beating Heart’ surgery (an operation without heart-lung machine), ‘Kyphoplasty’ for the treatment of spinal fractures and ‘Keyhole’ surgeries for repairing bone and cartilage.