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EghtesadOnline: With the private sector’s financial support, 1 trillion rials ($3.57 million) have been allocated to help physicians link up with DrNext.ir, a local electronic health record and prescription website.

In a ceremony on Monday, Iran's major e-commerce platform Digikala and its e-payment subsidiary Digipay announced joining forces to offer loans worth 300 million rials ($1,100) to help physicians equip offices with the requisite digital systems to connect with DrNext, IRNA reported.

Officials emphasized that in order to store health records and prescriptions of patients online, physicians would need laptops, tablets or smartphones, as well as other ICT infrastructure connecting their offices to the website.

As stated at the event, not all of the listed devices need to be used; physicians may select the digital device best suited and convenient for them.

The financial package is intended to assist doctors in joining the platform.

According to Digikala, the loans need to be paid in low-interest, monthly installments over a two-year period. To apply for the loan, physicians must fill out the forms on DrNext.ir and they will receive the payment within 10 days.

The financial assistance is intended to hasten the implementation of Iran's long-awaited Electronic Health Record scheme through the use of the privately-owned website.

EHR is a joint project implemented by the Health Ministry and Iran's Social Security Organization for digitizing health services. It is a real-time, patient-centered digital record that makes information available instantly and securely to authorized users.

Last year, a group of private tech professionals collaborated to launch the DrNext platform, which has since evolved into an integrated and powerful platform to aid the implementation of EHR scheme.

 

 

Electronic Health Record

By using smart tools, Iran’s conventional healthcare system is gradually switching to a fully electronic mode.

The EHR scheme is based on an electronic database developed by the Social Security Organization, which have become partly operational over the past few years.

Reportedly, people can access their EHR through a smartphone application, or a pertinent website using their national ID number.

In recent years, SSO has been upgrading the database to make it more efficient.

In addition to the database, doctors can use digital health cards developed by the organization, instead of paper insurance books, to prescribe medicines. They now can type the prescription on DrNext website and the patient can receive the medicines from any pharmacy having a contract with the organization and linked with the platform.

Each individual’s health history will be uploaded on the smart electronic cards. Doctors using specialized devices for reading the data stored on the card can access the patient’s health history without relying on the internet.

The other measure complementing EHR is the use of digital signatures by physicians and electronic prescriptions for patients.

Experts believe that the use of digital signatures will also prevent fraudulent actions and prevent the misuse of online prescriptions, along with the speedy processing and delivery of medicine in drugstores.

Technical requirements for the implementation of digital signature have been met and the scheme was run as a pilot for volunteer physicians and drugstores.

The Iranian government has focused on digitizing the country’s old data infrastructure with schemes to push both public and private providers to simplify several tasks, including the purchase of insurance.

Experts believe that thanks to the digitalization schemes, the incorporation of technology in medical fields can increase revenue and help develop the digital health market.

 

 

Global View

According to a research report by Global Market Insights Inc., the global digital health market was valued at $106 billion in 2019 and it is likely to surpass a valuation of $693.4 billion by the end of 2026.

The global digital health market is projected to register significant growth over the coming years, as healthcare systems across the world are fighting the outbreak of coronavirus. In order to tackle Covid-19 and the pressure it is putting on the healthcare infrastructure, digital health is likely to play a crucial role in the efficient storage and transfer of patient data, which help improve patient treatment.  

Healthcare systems have been under immense pressure, and as a result healthcare services provided through video consultations are expected to cause a significant shift in consumer preferences and positively impact the market outlook over the coming years. 

Remote consultations can fulfill a major role in restricting the spread of Covid-19 infection.

Consequently, this has motivated many governments to modify the regulatory policies that govern their digital health services. 

For instance, the governments of Australia and the US have authorized the reimbursement of healthcare-related services provided through video consultations. This reimbursement move is likely to bolster the outlook toward digital health and drive market share through 2026.

 

 

Growing Demand for Digital Health Devices

The hardware component segment accounted for about 30% of the industry share in 2019 and is likely to exhibit substantial revenue growth over the coming years. 

An upsurge in the use of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and wearables is a key factor expanding the segment share.

Furthermore, the latest technological advancements in data analysis, microelectronics, telecommunications and sensor manufacturing techniques are positively boosting the hardware segment in the digital health market.

Major market players are using strategies such as partnerships, investments and acquisitions to set themselves ahead of the competition in the industry.

 

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