An E-Healthy Pakistan: Treating Medicine with Technology
Eccentrica Technologies came up with a smartphone application for the Shaukat Khanum Hospital which allows you to not only participate in funding but also stay tuned and monitor the progress rate as well as get the latest news and alerts.
Extremely heartening is the fact that utilizing technology is not just limited to a few private hospitals or to a hospital built for a social cause by a political leader. The Indus Hospital, another charitable organization is also doing its best to automate and ensure that all medical records are kept online. As one proud doctor, also part of the hospital’s board of directors assures in this video, this organization tries its level best to not utilize paper. Patients from some of the most financially and socially challenged segments of Pakistan’s population are provided state-of-the-art medical care, absolutely free of cost.
But with putting everything online, ensuring that as soon as, for instance, a blood test is conducted, your reports should be uploaded on the hospital’s systems… is this enough? Consider for yourself how going to a hospital, as a patient, is in itself an experience for some. You get told a whole load of news… the doctors insist you’re not really sick, you should carry on as usual, but deep down inside you’re just scared… and that is how your ‘period of expectancy’ begins.
Every time you feel sick, that fear of being sick takes over and you wonder what you could do to help yourself. In my case, I phoned up my medical practitioner or the hospital ER. In retrospect, it was no big deal. I had ingested unhealthy food so was suffering an upset stomach. My condition made me nervous and the hospital faculty I contacted for emergency advice suggested I come over for a check-up. They could not advise any medication without an examination. It was difficult to take time out, but I went. I was told there was nothing to worry about.
There are countless ‘me’s’ in Pakistan. Fear makes us over-cautious. We are scared enough to rush to the hospital on what we feel might just not be a small pretext. Again, in retrospect, it is no big deal. But this is Pakistan. In spite of this being the age of technology, most hospitals… all the bigwigs included, have not managed to automate their services to the point where a patient might avail their doctor’s advice online. Just to be clear, the fee is not the issue here. Hospitals are welcome to charge patients for online consults also. However, so far, if I need medical aid or it is an emergency of some sort, I must, no matter what, physically go to my doctor or the hospital and get it.
From my point of view, as a patient as well as someone just interested in technology, the next step should be to allow doctors and patients an online relationship. With smartphones and apps available for just about everything, maybe it would not be such a bad idea to have an app that allows you to sign up, log-in and get a medical consult. Sure, the doctor or hospital will charge, but two benefits as I see them: you save time and you get your regular practitioner online to give you advice… which in case you are really sick, is probably the best thing that could happen.
That said, obviously, physically going to the hospital remains the best bet. But sometimes, it’s nice to have a second option with a simple click!