Last week, Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. In the process, he may have secured the health sector a much-needed technological boost.
Israeli Consul General David Akov has expressed Israel’s interest in sharing with India database technology that would integrate with the Aadhaar system currently used in India. The Aadhaar number is an identification number that is unique to each Indian citizen that can be linked to mobile devices. According to government data almost the entire population of India has been issued with an Aadhaar number.
The implications of this technological sharing to the healthcare sector lies in the potential for database technology to chart trends, particularly with regards to infectious disease. Using the Aadhaar numbers, hospitals in India can track the locations of disease outbreaks and higher numbers of certain conditions, allowing for resources to be allocated where they are needed.
“Aadhaar number is widely used in India including in the health sector. It is generating huge database of patients health, treatment, medical history. Israeli technology can help in how to handle and use it (database) for better purpose of finding out trends in the health sector.”
Assuming all hospitals in India were connected to this system, data trends on patient numbers could be shared. This would also apply to organ transplants available, bed shortages, alongside many other potential applications. This could optimise the efficiency of the Indian healthcare system significantly, as well as detect what would be large scale disease outbreaks in their initial stages, applying appropriate medical intervention sooner.
The technology could fix a number of issues in Indian healthcare rooted in inefficiency. For example, an article previously published on Health Issues India notes that blood donations are not lacking in India: in fact, blood donation drives generate huge stockpiles of blood. However, these blood donations are not being transported to areas that they are needed and so often end up being discarded due to limited shelf life, leaving some areas deprived of a stock for use in medical procedures. This may not be the case should information on stockpiles and average blood usages be shared via database technology.
There are many hurdles the healthcare sector in India faces, foremost amongst these the highly unequal infrastructure, lack of communication. For this Israeli-donated technology to work, it would require the cooperation of all hospitals. The more data added to the collective system, the more accurately trends could be measured, and resources allocated. Effectively, the more healthcare institutions and providers that are involved, the more this system benefits India.