EghtesadOnline: New waves of Covid-19 cases and rising casualties have encouraged the Iranian tech sector to help upgrade medical services and boost the development of digital health industry.
Farshad Allameh, a professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said Iran’s healthcare sector offers considerable untapped potential for digital growth, Peivast.com reported.
“Knowledge-based companies and technology teams should value the opportunity, adapt their offerings to the medical sector’s demands and upgrade treatment services with smart ideas,” he said.
According to Allameh, Iran’s technology ecosystem is able to upgrade the treatment process, improve interactions between physicians and patients, and bolster the supply of medicines and treatment equipment by developing smart solutions.
Allameh noted that Iran has a massive health market and industry insiders should broaden their horizon to international levels.
Domestic knowledge-based firms and startups have developed smart platforms for supplying telemedicine, smart health platforms and remote care tools to help people cope with health conditions.
Synapse, for instance, a tech firm at Samsung AUT Tech (a substitute of Amir Kabir University of Technology) specialized in equipping hospitals with smart technologies, has built up a system that converts the documented information of patients and converts them into digital data.
The database is connected to Synapse’s smartphone application called “InLab” that can be used by physicians and other medical staff.
The app gives doctors remote access and helps them review patients’ pathological tests and write prescriptions.
Electronic Health Record
By using smart tools, Iran’s conventional healthcare system is gradually switching to a fully electronic mode.
Establishing a system for Electronic Health Record is one of the state-backed schemes to help the health sector embrace the digital world.
EHR is a joint project implemented by the 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.
During an earlier speech, President Hassan Rouhani said an electronic database and digital prescription system are the project’s infrastructures that should soon become operational.
He noted that when it comes on stream, people can access their EHR through a smartphone application or a 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 will type the prescription on SSO’s site and the patient can receive the medicines from any pharmacy having a contract with the organization, which means most major pharmacies.
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 and electronic prescription 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.
According to Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, the country’s medical equipment market value reached $1.7 billion in 2019. (http://t.ly/ojEZ )
Based on a report by Iran Securities and Exchange Organization, the country’s market value of pharmaceutical companies reached 230.5 trillion rials ($904.19 million) in 2018-19. (http://t.ly/nWgO)
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 observe 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 are currently 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.
Increasing Use of Tele-Healthcare Technology
With regard to technology, the increasing use of video consultations and remote health services is projected to push the tele-healthcare segment over the coming years.
In addition, several market players are currently making significant efforts for increasing their capabilities in the field of telemedicine in order to effectively cater to a substantial proportion of consumers.
Based on these factors, the tele-healthcare segment is projected to grow at an impressive CAGR of 26.2% through the forecast timeframe.
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.