The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is trying to address a major problem, which also ails other parts of the country: lack of access to preventive care. And coming to its help is tech giant Google.
In several hospitals across India, even before one meets a doctor, the staff checks their blood pressure, pulse rate, weight, signs of discomfort, et al. Once the doctor consultation is over, the prescription and case summary are recorded against a unique patient ID. Subsequently, other medical-test reports are recorded, too.
But what if people can avail the services without going to a hospital, or even if they aren’t seeking a doctor consultation? What if they can carry their digital health records from one hospital to another? From one state to another. From India to other countries.
The Tamil Nadu government wants to deliver these services right at the citizen’s doorstep.
Here’s where Google comes in. It is a global company that has spent billions of dollars billions of dollars Economist Alphabet is spending billions to become a force in health care Read more on health ventures and is known for its lofty ambitions to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare. The tech giant is helping the state pilot such a tech platform—referred to as the population health registry (PHR), confirmed multiple executives and officials to The Ken.
By December, The Ken has learnt, the state plans to announce the formation of an e-health directorate, a nodal agency for creating and owning the IT infrastructure and database, and a point of contact for external partnerships and collaborations, such as with Google.
This registry is the very reason why a senior Google Health executive practically camped on a monthly basis in Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai for the past one year, according to an executive who works closely with the company.
In a few months from now, the state will be ready with a draft 'right to health' legislation 'right to health' legislation Hindustan Times Tamil Nadu govt drafting ‘Right to Health Bill’ Read more . The plan is to provide the state’s 80 million residents preventive-care services, unheard of in India and globally. In mid-2021, the state government announced the flagship healthcare programme, Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam (MTM), to provide door-to-door screening for non-communicable diseases non-communicable diseases The Hindu TN CM launches Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam scheme Read more (NCDs) like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and kidney ailments.