Policymakers, thought leaders and gamechangers of the healthcare fraternity gathered virtually at the first edition of Healthcare Transformation Summit, which deliberated upon how each segment of the healthcare domain is tackling challenges, issues posed by the COVID-19. How post pandemic will shape the future of their industry.
The first edition of Healthcare Transformation Summit began with a welcome address by Dr Ravi Gupta, Founder and CEO, Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd who briefed the audience about the past events by eHealth and how the magazine catered to the healthcare domain for the past 17 years . He set the tone of the conference by emphasising on how the forum will provide a platform to healthcare providers for sharing their insights on how to tackle an ongoing pandemic and make our system ready for any such future challenge.
Organised by eHealth, Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd, was held virtually from August 21 and 22, it was a two day summit with the theme ‘Adapt and Rise: Combating COVID-19 with Systematic Resilience’ had an important line up of speakers. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, MoH & FW, Government of India graced with his presence as Chief Guest. Launched the special issue of eHealth magazine and Healthcare Excellence Awards were given to leaders who have created a difference in the paradigm of delivery of care.
Delivering the Chief Guest Address Choubey said, “Health is the biggest wealth one could have. One should focus on keeping himself healthy. Digitalization has played a key role in improving the delivery of services. We have more than 40,000 ICU beds to tackle Covid-19 patients. We aim to create 75,000 ventilators. The government’s objective is to make self-sufficient (Atma Nirbhar) India.”
Present as the Guest of Honour, A L Hek, Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Home, Art & Culture, Government of Meghalaya; Satyendra Jain, Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Power, PWD, Industries & Gurudwara Elections, Government of NCT of Delhi chose the platform to inform about the various measures being undertaken by the respective state governments during the pandemic. How they look forward to improving healthcare quality and access in the country post pandemic.
Also read: The Covid-19 pandemic and your Heart
“From day one Delhi govt has taken initiatives to bend the curve of COVID-19. Overall we have 14,000 beds in Delhi where COVID patients are admitted. Out of which 8000 to 9000 is from the private sector. Each stakeholder be it from govt hospitals, private hospitals and civil society have joined hands to tackle the pandemic. The major reason for death in Covid19 is due to comorbidities, obesity and 70 plus are more vulnerable. The infected patients should carry out all measures of self discipline, ” Jain said.
Highlighting work done by the government of Meghalaya during the pandemic, Hek said, “We are doing reviews everyday on Covid19. Protocols are being followed strictly. Healthcare infrastructure has been scaled up. Facilities at PHCs and CHCs have been improved. We have COVID-19 management committee and do tests on a regular basis, have 1089 beds for Corona positive patients. The state has more than 700 committees being headed by traditional heads like panchayat heads. We are providing training to healthcare workers to keep them protected from Coronavirus.”
Policymakers like Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Public Health Department, Dr. G Dewan, MD, NHM and Director Health Services, Government of Haryana Abhishek Kumar, Executive Director-IT, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, National Health Authority(NHA); and Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, Chief Executive Officer, National Accreditation Board of Hospitals (NABH) shared their thoughts on how the healthcare landscape is changing and highlighted how the pandemic has taught us to disrupting and transform healthcare delivery.
Interesting panel discussions saw stakeholders of the industry share the stage to devise strategies for future growth. For instance, From Crisis to Care : Impact of COVID 19 on Infection Control and HAI’, ‘Hospital Infrastructure: New Challenges and Opportunities’, ‘New Digital Health Disruption in Post COVID-19 Era’, and ‘Role of IT in Healthcare Transformation’, and ‘Ensuring a Scientific Approach to COVID-19 Management: Significance of Streamlined Medicine Accessibility.
The participants at the panel discussion Crisis to Care : Impact of COVID 19 on Infection Control and Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) spoke about the infection control, sanitation and Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI), which were long ignored by the hospital sector and are gaining momentum with the COVID 19. The pandemic has reinstated the importance of good hygiene practices. In this panel experts from sterilisation, sanitisation will talk about the effort taken by the industry and the challenges and opportunities to address the hospital acquired infections (HAIs) and opportunities and challenges of the infection and prevention control market.
“Patient safety is topmost priority. Substandard technology must not be used. We need to be careful on this front. Our solution has the advantage of preventing airborne infection. Plasma Technology which we use helps to prevent infection by sterilizing instruments. Many machines only deactivate the pathogens, but our instrument kills the pathogen. Moreover it doesn’t have any side effects. For home isolation patients, it is very effective, ” said Dilip Patil, Co -Founder & Director, Trivector Group & BabyQuest Cryobank.
Adding to it, Dr. Tamorish Kole, Chairman, Medeor Institute of Emergency Medicine, Medeor Hospitals, said, ” Amidst Covid-19, Hospital acquired infection has come to the fore as a major issue. Overcrowding in hospitals is a major challenge.”
Giving a clinician perspective, Dr. Chandrika Kambam ,Director – Clinical Services , Health Care Global Enterprises Limited, ” HAI increased length of stay of patients and cost as well and infection control protocols and programmes were neglected before COVID-19. Things have changed due to the pandemic. Hygiene compliance have gone up by 22 percent nowadays. Social distancing, wearing a mask would help in the long run.”
The event also witnessed very interesting dialogues on healthcare infrastructure. The panel discussion on Hospital Infrastructure: New Challenges and Opportunities, Nitin Pandey, Head HTSI, Solutions CoE Philips India, said ” Covid-19 has led to lots of challenges including segregation of isolation wards. Hospitals are creating makeshift areas. We are suggesting design changes in hospitals which help patients. We are planning exterior expansion.” Gave a detailed presentation on how advanced hospital infrastructure should be.
Other panelists deliberated upon challenges, planning which was put into creating different zones in hospitals during the pandemic and how the architecture will be playing a pivotal role to keep patients and staff safe in near future.
In the panel discussion ‘New Digital Health Disruption in post COVID-19 Era’, the panelists addressed how pandemic has leveraged the advantages of a thriving health tech ecosystem. Dealing with the challenges brought about by COVID-19, the policy makers, technology experts will deliberate upon how the newly launched National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) and how it will elevate the healthcare domain.
“National Digital Health will definitely be a gamechanger. Interoperability is needed. Most of the medical records are on the paper at the moment which needs to be in digital format,” said, Abhishek Kumar, Executive Director-IT, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, National Health Authority (NHA).
The discussion established that NDHM (Digitalisation of health records) initiative will definitely prove to be a milestone.
Crucial topic like Role of IT in Healthcare Transformation were also deliberated upon the landmark announcement of NDHM by panelists who spoke about the role of IT in healthcare plays a significant role in streamlining physicians’ work, optimising systems, improving patient outcomes, reducing human error, and lowering costs through amazing web and mobile experiences.
The panel also saw a detailed presentation by Dr Vipul Aggarwal, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB – PMJAY), Government of India on different features of the AB-PMJAY.
“We are looking for a user friendly and self controlled digital ID. IT is becoming pervasive today, ” said Kiran Anandampillai, Advisor (Technology), National Health Authority (NHA), Government of India.
Informing technology must be affordable, K Madan gopal, Senior Consultant (Health), NITI Aayog, said, ” We need to check whether the technology is safe or not and need to be careful to ensure that technology gets synchronized with existing processes. Creating a digital record is a very important step. Covid19 has thrown us an opportunity to improvise.”
Meanwhile, Dr Raj Kamal Yadav, Mission Director, Ayush Mission, Uttar Pradesh, Special Secretary, Ayush, Government of Uttar Pradesh, said, “We have leveraged IT to improve things during Covid19 pandemic. We launched AyushCoverApp. IT is playing a key role in integrating different services leading to better care.”
Stressing on the imperativeness of tabulating these risks and devising effective strategies to tackle them, they advised that risks are not to be feared, they just need to be managed. They also spoke on the importance of designing the right processes and implementing them correctly to manage risks effectively.
One of the important sessions on Day 1 of the summit was Ensuring a Scientific Approach to COVID-19 Management: Significance of Streamlined Medicine Accessibility. In this discussion panelists emphasised on how accurate and well-developed healthcare and medicine availability can help people to handle uncertainty and fear during the crisis. The need for better training at HCP level has also been realised by the stakeholders and departments across need to put emphasis on capability building programmes for healthcare professionals working at front to fight the pandemic.
Talking about the initiatives taken by the government of Haryana, Dr. G Dewan, MD, NHM and Director Health Services, Government of Haryana said, “Testing facilities are in place now. We have scaled up infrastructure to tackle cases. We also have started a door to door initiative by ANM on the line of polio campaign to detect cases among asymptomatic patients. We have made transit beds for COVID-19 patients. Home isolation facilities have also been allowed for patients having moderate symptoms.”
While Dr. Rathan U. Kelkar, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Government of Kerala, said,”Our strategy is to do active surveillance and contract tracing to break the infection chain. For covid-19 patients having mild symptoms, we are allowing home isolation. We have undertaken various campaigns.”
Giving the industry perspective, Naresh Hasija, Associate Vice President, Mylan Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd said,” Mylan has been extremely vigilant to supply critical medicines. We have a huge manufacturing facility. Protecting our employees is the most important thing during corona times as they make visits to various facilities.”
Dr. Heera Lal, Additional Mission Director, National Health Mission Government of Uttar Pradesh appreciated all the healthcare players who lend their support to tackle the pandemic and said, ” We must change our strategy of covid management in new situations to manage well like in the past. So far we managed well.
Day 2 of the virtual summit the opening session was initiated by discussing a topic on Rebuilding Healthier Nation: Challenges in dealing with Pandemic Situations?
Initiating the discussion, Dr Vijay Satbir Singh, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Public Health Department, said ” We are experiencing one of the worst episodes in human history in the form of Covid-19. The total tally in India has crossed 3 million. Covid-19 challenge has taught us to scale up health infra to make ourselves ready for future challenge”
Touching upon the technology aspect, Gandharv Roy , COO, MEDICA Super Specialty Hospital, said,” Government relaxation on teleconsultations is a welcoming one. Now with more ease we could use technology particularly tele-consultation. We can augment the usage of telemedicine in rural areas. The pandemic has also taught us the better usage of fundamental data and this will definitely change the healthcare landscape.”
Putting forward his views on how Corona has changed the perspective of healthcare, J P Dwivedi, CIO, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, said, “It (COVID-19) has disciplined us to think on out of box ideas. Initially there were many challenges but things have improved now. Covid-19 has brought opportunity in disguise to us. We leveraged integrated solutions, telemedicine apps to provide care to patients. For routine checkups, we convinced patients not to visit hospital until or unless they face some emergency issue.”
Touching upon the healthcare business and how hospitals are sustaining costs a CEO panelist spoke about how the healthcare businesses will peddle out from these troubled times and manage operational cost as the lockdown has caused huge hit in terms of outpatients and inpatient revenue.
“We have undertaken measures to tide over the crisis and tried to increase the revenue through telemedicine. Also addressed the staff concern as well. Told them to come up with innovative ideas to keep ourselves afloat,” mentioned OP Yadava ,CEO ,National Heart Institute.
Pointing out the difficult times, Dr. Venkat Ramana Sudigali, Director & CEO,Excell Hospitals, said, ” Occupancy rate has plummeted. Things may not improve for the next four-five months at least. It is a difficult time for all of us to sustain. We have to innovate ourselves to enrich patient experience.”
The panelists also cited that they need government support in the form of tax benefits and other subsidiaries, release of CGHS pending payments and work on regulatory guidelines.
Another interesting session was on How COVID-19 has redefined the health IT scenario, where are we heading ? . In this panel CIOs from the leading hospitals spoke about how the digital health tech space is providing reliable technology and delivering high-quality, connected, and cost-effective care. The CIOs highlighted the new interventions of IT in healthcare.
Informing that interoperability would be a major challenge in the NDHM, CIOs pointed that Covid-19 led them to bolster healthcare infra and scale up processes, particularly eICU and telemedicine.
Another set of experts deliberated about how Covid 19 paves new vistas to telemedicine. Here the discussion focused on how the usage of telemedicine has surged in manifold with COVID 19.
Telemedicine should be seen with the prism of three tiers of delivery of care, said Dr. Rajesh Harsh vardhan, Head, Department of Hospital Administration, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow & Medical Superintendent, SSCIH, Lucknow. He added that technology driven tools are accessible in even the remotest part of the country today. Harnessing potential of telemedicine has become important during covid-19 to make clinical care safer.
Sachin Grover, Head of Solutions, Indian Subcontinent, Philips India, said, “Earlier people used to follow telemedicine through phone calls and video calls. With new guidelines, the government has tried to allay fear of providers. There is no dichotomy now. Patients are getting accustomed to telemedicine. 2020 will be remembered for adoption of telemedicine to bolster care delivery process. We have come up with solutions like tele ICU to help patients.”
Participating in the event, Sunil D Khaparde, Former Deputy Director General TB Control, spoke about how to end TB by 2025.
Other panelists informed that during this pandemic, the technology proved a gamechanger, where doctors provided care keeping themselves and patients safe via telemedicine.
In the final panel discussion Unlocking innovations in Healthcare speakers informed about how new innovations like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), robot surgeries can shape up the healthcare segment as a whole.
Thus, the two day Healthcare Transformation Summit witnessed a well-rounded deliberation on how to navigate the present pandemic and overcome it. The sessions and panel discussions were more engaging and interactive. As a continuation eHealth officially launched the second edition of Healthcare Transformation Summit, which will be organised coming October 30th and 31st.