Technological innovation is the key to improving healthcare management amid the rising number of patients suffering from chronic diseases including diabetes and hypertension, speakers from home and abroad said yesterday.
It is important that the government as well as the private sector invest in technological innovation research, they told a seminar organised at the Digital World 2017 exposition in the capital.
Information and Communication Technology Division and the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services organised the exposition at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
"Diabetes, kidney diseases and hypertension is rising everywhere. Besides, critical care for the elders is becoming more important now," said Dorian Liepmann, a professor of mechanical and bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He said this was even more important in the densely populated countries like Bangladesh where chronic diseases were rising.
Referring to a digital biosensor for detection of liver damage, Prof Liepmann said one could test the liver condition at home by using the tool. A number of other diseases can also be detected in a similar way where nurses were not required.
Abdul Matin Emon, CEO of Doctorola, an online-based healthcare management firm, said there were some four doctors for each 10,000 population in Bangladesh, which was quite low. Moreover, most doctors are urban-based, he said.
As a result, the patients crowd the city hospitals. The use of telecommunication and online-based services can reduce much of the travel time, suffering and expenses of the patients, Matin said.
"If truly necessary, a patient can surely come to visit a doctor in Dhaka, but the follow-up can be done via online communication," he said.
Jullia Quazi, managing director of US-based firm Healthcare and Life Sciences, said healthcare was going to be a major agenda for the "Digital World" in the future.
Kavin Holub of Augmedix, a US-based firm working for technology-based documentation for patients and health systems, said maintaining the information of patients digitally and making them available to doctors in need was one of the most important tasks in healthcare management.
Traditionally, doctors have to spend a lot of time collecting patients' information, but this task can be better managed by digital documentation, he said. Farruk Alam, country director of medical device company Medtronic Bangladesh, also spoke.