EHRs in India: Revolutionizing Healthcare, One Record at a Time
16 Aug 2023
is a growing interest in electronic health records (EHRs) by healthcare
organizations and governments worldwide in the recent years. Electronic health
records (EHRs) themselves are not an innovation and have been in development
and use for several decades. While the term "electronic health
records" may not have been commonly used in the early days, the concept of
electronic patient data management and computerized medical records dates to
the mid-20th century. The history of EHRs can be traced back to the early days
of computing and medical informatics. However, the exponential pace of
developments in big data, analytics and artificial intelligence have led to
unlocking of several opportunities and innovations in the healthcare delivery
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Electronic Health Record Standards for
India (2013) said:
idea that any person in India can go to any health service provider/
practitioner, any diagnostic centre or any pharmacy and yet be able to access
and have fully integrated and always available health records in an electronic
format is not only empowering but also the vision for efficient 21st century
have the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered in the following
Improving interoperability remains a significant focus in the development of
EHRs. Healthcare organizations are working towards seamless data exchange
between different EHR systems, enabling efficient sharing of patient information
across various providers and healthcare settings.
and user experience: Developers have been investing in creating EHR systems
with improved usability and user experience. User-friendly interfaces and
intuitive designs help healthcare professionals navigate and interact with EHRs
data feed for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning applications:
AI and machine learning technologies are being integrated into EHR systems to
assist in data analysis, clinical decision support, and predictive analytics.
These capabilities help identify patterns, trends, and potential health issues,
leading to better patient outcomes.
access and telemedicine integration: EHRs are being adapted for mobile devices,
allowing healthcare providers to access patient information on the go.
Additionally, EHRs are being integrated with telemedicine platforms, enabling
remote consultations and patient monitoring.
patient portals: Patient portals are becoming more prevalent in EHR systems,
empowering patients to access their medical records, schedule appointments,
request prescription refills, and communicate securely with their healthcare
recognition and natural language processing: Voice recognition and natural
language processing technologies are being incorporated into EHRs to enable
more efficient data entry and documentation for healthcare professionals.
with wearable devices and remote monitoring: EHRs are being integrated with
wearable health devices and remote monitoring technologies, allowing healthcare
providers to access real-time patient data, track health metrics, and intervene
health management: EHRs are now equipped to support population health
management initiatives. By analyzing aggregated patient data, healthcare
organizations can identify health trends, high-risk populations, and areas for
improvement in overall health outcomes.
2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
(ABDM), saying it has the “potential of bringing a revolutionary change in
India’s healthcare facilities”. The flagship digital initiative involves the
creation of not just a unique health ID for every citizen, but also a digital
healthcare professionals and facilities registry.
adoption of EHRs at scale faces multiple challenges including lack of
interoperability and standardization, data privacy and security risks, and lack
of adequate technological infrastructure especially in rural India. The Indian
government, in an attempt to address these challenges, launched the Ayushman
Bharat Digital Mission, which aims to create a national health information
network that will facilitate the exchange of EHR data between different
healthcare providers. The government is also providing financial incentives to
healthcare providers who adopt EHRs. Kiran Gopal, director at the National
Health Authority (NHA) said the government is working on making the health data
of Indian citizens “interoperable”, which will also serve as a “single source
of truth”. Robust EHR systems sit at the core of government schemes like ABDM
and will open opportunities across the digital health ecosystem to enhance care
delivery in India.
study by the American Medical Association found that EHRs can improve patient
satisfaction by up to 25%. Another study by RAND Corporation found that EHRs
can reduce the number of medical errors by up to 80%. According to a 2019
report by the National Health Authority, the Indian healthcare system could
save up to $12 billion per year by using electronic health records (EHRs).
are some ways that incumbent healthcare industry players can prepare themselves
better to leverage the government's electronic medical health records (EHR)
the benefits of EHRs: Healthcare providers need to understand the benefits of
EHRs in order to be motivated to adopt them. These benefits include improved
patient care, reduced costs, and improved efficiency.
their current IT infrastructure: Healthcare providers need to assess their
current IT infrastructure to determine if it is capable of supporting EHRs. If
not, they may need to make investments in new hardware and software.
their current processes to be compatible with universal health ID mapping.
their staff: Healthcare providers need to train their staff on how to use the
EHR system. This training should include both technical and clinical aspects of
the EHR system: Healthcare providers need to implement the EHR system in a way
that minimizes disruption to patient care. This may involve phasing in the
system gradually or providing alternative care arrangements for patients who
are not able to use the system.
the system: Healthcare providers need to monitor the EHR system to ensure that
it is functioning properly and that it is meeting their needs.
government's EHR adoption initiative is a major opportunity for the Indian
healthcare industry. By preparing themselves accordingly, healthcare providers
can position themselves to reap the benefits of EHRs and improve the quality of
care for patients. It also presents opportunities for new-age healthcare
companies to leverage and build on top of the 'India health stack' and disrupt
the way healthcare is delivered and consumed using innovative business models.
Some of the major opportunity areas include healthcare analytics, remote
patient monitoring, clinical decision support, and personalized medicine.
Author: Madhur Singhal, Managing Partner & CEO, Praxis
Co-Author: Akshat Gupta, Manager, Praxis Global