Transforming Pakistan’s Health Sector Through Mobile Technology

We all know that the world of technology has tremendously changed over the last decade. In today’s world, technology is playing a key role in every industry along with our personal lives. If we go back to the old era, everything is different. Technology has completely revolutionized the world from our way of communication to household chores. Like many other developing countries, each sector of Pakistan is also transforming gradually due to rising Mobile technology trends.

Role Of Mobile Technology In Pakistan’s Transforming Health Sector

Out of all of the industries, healthcare is certainly one of the most important. Health plays a very important role in any country’s economy.  The fact is that a healthy population is not only valued in its own right, but it also raises the human capital of a country. As a result of which, it positively contributes to the economic and social development of the country. This is the reason that a country’s investment in health sectors has a long-lasting effect on its prosperity. From very small innovations like adhesive bandages, ankle braces, wearable sensors and health trackers to more compound technologies like MRI machines, technology has certainly made an unbelievable impact on medicine. Like many other developing countries, Pakistan’s Health Sector is also transforming; Mobile Technology being the key reasons behind it.

The ever-growing continuous technological developments in healthcare have saved countless lives. It has improved the quality of life for even more. It has created a huge impact on medical processes and the practices of healthcare professionals as well. The Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have replaced the paper records which has been a game changer for many healthcare professionals. The entire patient’s data such as signs, weight, test results, billing etc can now be fed into a digitized system by the nurses as well as the technicians. Each and every kind of information can be shared and accessed by the professionals anytime regarding any particular patient. In addition to this, EHR can alert the nurses of potential issues such as allergies or intolerances to certain medicines especially when the patient is unconscious.

So, it plays a very important role in patient care. EHR can help in identifying the viral or bacterial infection quickly which can help in improved Public health as well. Cloud Computing is one of the most innovative products in healthcare technology today. According to a survey, more than 75% of the health care centers have been using the cloud for health information exchange. Cloud technology in the health sector can benefit in a number of ways. It can help in reducing healthcare costs. It can predict epidemics, avoid preventable deaths, improve quality of life, and reduce healthcare wastage. The most important advantage is that it can help in developing new drugs and treatments.

Telemedicine is playing an important role in the health industry. It can be used in many fields, such as cardiovascular healthcare, electrocardiograms (ECGs) etc. Telemonitoring can monitor vital signs and symptoms remotely so it can offer shorter waiting times for patients. It has access to rural areas. Moreover, it provides improved efficiency leading to savings.

Mobile technology is making it possible to virtually connect to a doctor anytime and anywhere. Mobiles help the practitioners to access a patient’s EHR, review medical histories, send follow-up emails, and even complete prescriptions as well. Mobile health apps give doctors, administrators, and patients greater flexibility. They can help to generate better health awareness. Such Apps are offering chronic care management, Medication management, Medical references, Diagnostics, Personal health records, Women’s health, Fitness, and weight-loss etc. There are a lot of Apps that are playing vital roles in the Health Sector of Pakistan. Mytabeeb.pk, Findmydoctor.pk, Ring MD, Pharmapedia Pakistan, Marham are some of the mobile Apps that help people find, book appointments, and consult with doctors online in different cities of the country.

Telecom operators have become a major stakeholder in m-Health by introducing various apps and initiatives. With a huge subscriber base, applications introduced by telecom operators cater to a wider group of people. Ufone UHealth, Warid Doctor’s Helpline, Warid Blood Bank Services, Warid Bima Insurance, Zong Insurance, and Mobilink m-Health are some of the initiatives that are playing a major role in Health sector of Pakistan.

In the past, the health care sector of Pakistan was not that good. There was no monitoring systems or surveillance systems at that time. Our doctors were unable to discuss the cases with international professionals. There was the inadequacy of Staff at the Health centers because there were no digitized systems so everything was needed to be done by the people themselves that required more time and manpower. However, now the advanced Technology has enabled many initiatives that have helped in improving the health sector of Pakistan in a great way.

Dengue Monitoring System, Disease Surveillance System, Health Watch, Hospital Watch, Monitoring and Evaluation Assistants (MEA) for Secondary Health, Independent Monitoring Unit for Health Sector (IMU) and VET Inspect are some of the m-health initiatives introduced by PITB that have won the international recognition. These all initiatives are playing a major role in the Health sector of Pakistan. However, still much more needs to be done. Pakistan’s Government should take advantage of technology while planning steadfast m-Health systems through the partnership between engineers and doctors. They can together generate and appraise real mechanisms that can guarantee good health facilities. Pakistan’s government in collaboration with IT, telecom and medical industry should work together to create an encouraging eco-system to support mobile initiatives.

Furthermore, Pakistan’s Government should try to adapt things from foreign countries also. Our health department should also emphasize manufacturing cost-effective gadgets like adhesive bandages, ankle braces, wearable sensors and health trackers, MRI machines. It will certainly make an unbelievable impact on medicine. Australia, Germany, China, and Mexico have seen a quick trend toward home-based health care procedures. On-Sight diagnostics, Telephone-based health care services, mobile monitoring are some of the things that have helped these countries to improve their health sector. Pakistan should make policies keeping in mind such trends that are already in practice. No doubt Health is a complicated, fast-paced and stressful industry. However, we can use technology to make some of these procedures quicker and more user-friendly.  Health care professionals can use a variety of different innovative technologies to improve a patient’s experience. It will positively contribute to the economic and social development of the country.

Laiba Mohsin

Laiba is an Electrical Engineer seeking a placement to gain hands-on experience in relevant areas of Telecommunication. She likes to write about tech and gadgets. She's is known for her love for cats, music, traveling and exploring things.

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