Proper medical recordkeeping is the key factor for a successful treatment. Patient records give the doctors required insights into the patient profile and help them ascertain the best course of action as to what tests should be conducted, what treatment should follow, what medication would be the most appropriate etc.. Organised patient profiles save the patients from repeated and redundant treatment processes. They save patients money, time and energy and minimise the likelihood of a wrong treatment.
In this direction, electronic medical recordkeeping or EMR is a highly valuable introduction in the healthcare sector. It makes the medical history or patient easily accessible to the doctor and the patient him/herself. It works as a unifying factor between medical centers wherein the medical records can be accessed anywhere in the country with a touch on the screen. However, this technological boon is yet to go a long way. Its adaption is limited more to the metro cities and rural areas are still untouched by it largely. A comprehensive patient record system is still missing in these regions.
This does not mean that the rural or tier 2 and 3 cities do not stand the opportunity of their healthcare facilities adopting the systems for an organised medical recordkeeping.There is a growing number of mobile and internet users there and it would just require an efficient healthcare infrastructure and little education to enable the rural patients to access their medical records on their cell phones.
So what are the challenges?
Healthcare standard in rural areas of the country is still far from being good. But, that is not all. Lack of awareness among the people in those areas is also a serious challenge in maintaining an orderly medical recordkeeping system.
The first and foremost problem here, like several other sectors, is the education on these developments. Although people have started to get access to technology and internet, they are largely unaware of their introductions and development in the medical and healthcare field. Even if the government starts to invest attention and money in smart rural healthcare facilities, there will be a big need to educate the patients about the benefits of effective recordkeeping and how they can access their reports as and when needed.
There are several app developers these days who are churning out numerous apps related to healthcare such as workouts, health monitors, pharma, doctor appointment etc. People in rural areas and tier 1 and 2 cities are largely dependent on television, radio or newspaper commercials for the awareness of products such as this. Hence, there is a big room for spreading awareness among them. Adoption of technology in their daily lives is way behind how it is in metro cities. And this lag is even bigger when it comes to medical technologies. To take an example of patient records in their healthcare system, they still have to rely on reports prepared by manual efforts that not only hold greater possibilities of human-errors but also make way for dubiousness and redundant treatments.
In addition to the above, the other issues with rural patient records are as following:
- High cost associated with setting up electronic health record (HER) systems in these areas where availability of capital and infrastructure is too limited
- Low awareness of EHR vendors and technical assistance involved
- The viability of the EHR introduction, implementation and sustainability in rural demography
- Concerningly low availability of information technology talent
- Challenges in obtaining a good broadband connectivity
- Difficulty in obtaining a strong internet connectivity
- Fewer takers of the introduction and implementation of EHR systems in the rural areas
How is eHealth helping patients manage their records?
In this space, eHealth has attempted to introduce a paradigm shift. It has created a system where local doctors, clinics and pharmacies help patients manage their health records while keeping them secure. This is sure to come as a medical boon for the rural population of India.
With an objective to make quality care available to all the citizens in the country, especially in rural areas, eHealth facilitates are establishing a unified system of recordkeeping which optimises the coordination between medical centers. The unification of rural hospitals with urban advanced medical centers makes remote care possible and accessible. This system gives the doctors an easy access to the patient reports which enables them to determine the best course of remedial action. Imagine how helpful it may be coming when the patient is not in a position to share details.
With the help of its eHealth ID, which only requires a one-time registration, eHealth ensures that patients can access their records, prescriptions and pharmacy bills for previous treatments anytime they are required.
eHealth is a big step in revolutionising patient care and medical recordkeeping. In days to come, it is set to transform the face of rural healthcare facilities.