Digital Health is a growing industry that has the potential to bring numerous advantages to the health sector. The public and private sectors can gain various positive outcomes and benefits by digitalizing the health services in the country.
Among many advantages that telehealth provides to improve the quality of life, a few of them are fast and easy access to health services, efficient storage and sharing of medical history data, proficient delivery of health service with less expenditure, and easy circulation of health-related awareness.
Currently, Pakistan’s ehealth sector is faced with various struggles and challenges such as lack of medical professionals, poor infrastructure, high cost of health services, lack of medical facilities in rural areas, and low expenditure of the government in the sector. However, the inadequacies in healthcare delivery can be diminished by the proper implementation of digital health across the country.
Silk Road Conference:Improving Digital Health Standards in Pakistan
Recently, a silk road summit was held where various speakers and thought leaders of the industry came together and shared their thoughts on improving the ehealth standards in Pakistan.
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Fahd Kakakhel, the founder and CEO of Pak Health Consultants & Digital Health Association shared a few points.
Digital Health Standards: Talking Points by Fahd Kakakhel
Fahd Kakakhel shared that since 2012, his organization has spearheaded healthcare transformation with an emphasis on empowering individuals to manage their own health; innovating new health delivery models; partnering with medical experts to focus on wellness and prevention; and improving healthcare quality.
He said: ‘We are a prominent voice in addressing how our society can build a more sustainable health care system, which increases access, affordability and predictability. We are using our Digital Health platform to process medical data with BOTS and AI to streamline healthcare pathways.
We would like to connect with anyone who is interested in working in these domains to help our fellow countrymen.’
Talking points of his speech were:
- Vision and mission for Digital Health Association
- AI to process medical data with BOTS
- Streamlining healthcare pathways
- CPEC, BRI and SDG alignment
- Mushroom growth of new players and growing influence of existing ones
- Developing deeper interlinkages for an enhanced industrial-academic connect
- Industrial revolution 4.0 – How digitizing health can disrupt this sector
Fahd is also a prominent voice addressing how our society can build a more sustainable health care system, which increases access, affordability and predictability.
Benefits of Digital Health
The main purpose of digital health is to improve the standard of health care by utilizing technology. Digital health consists of various sub-categories such as mobile-Health, telemedicine, telehealth, and health information technology. Mobile-Health, which refers to the usage of mobile phones for health care services, is one of the widely used methods in digital health.
Digital health is improving the healthcare system to provide better health opportunities. Fortunately, in Pakistan, the ehealth initiatives have been presented regional as well as nationwide and telehealth in Pakistan has become more established in recent decades.
Similarly, the health Policy of Pakistan was also established with the main purpose of facilitating and assisting the use of telemedicine, building an online community of doctors for advanced access to skilled medical professionals, share preventive care information, set mandatory standards and protocols for telehealth facility providers, and the efficient automation and digitization of hospitals.
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Digital Health Opportunities in Pakistan
There is a dire need for an efficient telehealth system in Pakistan. The existing health sector in Pakistan is faced with many challenges. These challenges can be addressed and resolved by the proper implementation of the eHealth system in the country.
Digital health can play a major role to improve the healthcare system in Pakistan. However, eHealth is at the beginning stage of development and a proper strategy is needed with proper implementation to clear out the path and support the spread of eHealth practices and advantages in Pakistan. The development of telehealth is only possible by the collaboration and cooperation of all the involved stakeholders to gain the benefits of a digital health sector.
Like other developing countries, the proper implementation of eHealth in Pakistan can solve many issues that the health sector is facing currently. eHealth facilities can help in diminishing the inadequacies of healthcare services, provide improved medical access, and accessibility of improved quality of life with a low-cost medical facility.
Moreover, telehealth brings with it many opportunities such as an empowered and informed environment for patients, high expectations for involvement and engagement with healthcare, better communication and collaboration, efficient resource management, and accessibility of cost-efficient health care facilities.
Gradually, ehealth facilities are being integrated into the current health system of Pakistan to improve the health care system and bring more ease and opportunities to the people.
But the process has many challenges to overcome in the form of network service availability, internet coverage, data and security issues, accessibility, and affordability of mobile phone devices.
However, despite all the challenges, the process is expanding and improving through the efforts of some private and public stakeholders and the future of digital healthcare seems to be bright in Pakistan.