2024 Health IT trends in India: Expanded healthcare AI applications

The past year saw India work towards establishing the foundations of its digital health ecosystem through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. This has provided a springboard for health institutions, research organisations, and even small practices and individual consumers to catch up with the rest of the world in testing new technologies. 

Health IT developers have stepped up to support India’s need for digitalisation in healthcare. Rustom Lawyer, founder of India-based Augnito, developer of voice AI for clinical documentation, spoke with Healthcare IT News on where the country’s health IT landscape could go this new year.

Continuing this year, the following are what he sees as areas of momentum:

  • AI-powered diagnostics and clinical decision support

  • Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring

  • Data privacy and security

Meanwhile, the following emerging trends, he says, may see increased uptake and activity this 2024:

  • Personalised medicine and AI-driven clinical trials

  • Wearables and assistive technologies 

  • Mental health and AI-powered support 

Interestingly, Lawyer points out, AI technology can tie all these trends up. For instance, there is AI for streamlining clinical documentation, enabling faster, more accurate diagnoses. AI can also enhance the transcription and analysis of doctor-patient conversations in telemedicine. Moreover, it powers digital assistive applications that help patients access health services independently. 

Embracing digital 

The Indian government continues to drive greater digital health adoption across the healthcare ecosystem largely through the ABDM. The programme, which aspires to connect the different stakeholders of the health system, has so far helped create health IDs for over 500 million individuals and link more than 300 million health records with around 200,000 registered health facilities. Instrumental in pushing the Indian people to have their health IDs created were the government’s incentives for healthcare providers. Even private and small clinics around the country have been roped into the programme to help them digitise.   

As access to healthcare post-pandemic grows closer and more efficient for consumers, this can propel India’s digital health market to grow up to $37 billion in value by 2030 from just $2.7 billion in 2022.

Another factor that is also driving healthcare technology adoption, particularly among hospitals, is its promise of significant cost savings, Lawyer notes. 

“Take it from Apollo Hospitals,” he says. Following their partnership to integrate voice AI into its clinical documentation workflow, the major hospital group was able to have a “return on investment 21 times over, save an average of 44 hours per month for their doctors, and establish a 46% increase in overall productivity.” 

“By streamlining workflows and improving efficiency, AI-powered solutions can deliver significant cost savings for hospitals, making them more receptive to adoption.”

Voice AI, anyone?

In the years to come, there may be a growing focus on voice biomarkers for the early detection of diseases. 

“Leveraging over 2,500 biomarkers that are present in the sub-language elements of the human voice alone, we will soon be able to identify neurological ailments such as Alzheimer’s, mental health diseases such as depression, and pulmonary diseases like COVID-19, just by hearing a patient speak,” Lawyer explained. 

How voice AI works is it scans for voice patterns in a patient’s speech that are stored and collected in a database of linguistic intonations, inflections, cadence, and others. This, Lawyer believes, can provide “unparalleled efficiency, cost, and reach benefits” to India, where there is a wide patient-to-doctor ratio and 70% of all healthcare infrastructure is locked in metropolitan cities. 

“Overall, I believe 2024 will be a pivotal year for health technology in India.”

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