The rapid migration to digital technologies driven by the pandemic can improve the efficiency of healthcare service delivery informed Jyoti Arora, IAS, Special Secretary, MeitY, added that the role of digital platforms like Arogya Setu app, telemedicine portals, online bookings, mapping of patients, teleconsultation, intelligent diagnosis, online clinical support, smart devices, among others during the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the importance of digital healthcare to the forefront.

Speaking at a virtual event Healthcare Innovation Challenge (HIC) organized by NASSCOM CoE for IoT & AI to drive the digital transformation of the healthcare providers in the country, Arora said,”Realising the importance of emerging technologies long back, the key aspect of our programs was a collaboration between industry and different state governments in the PPP model to promote the development and adoption of emerging technologies in different sectors including health. The challenges before India’s healthcare system are immense and with digital technology, we can improve the efficiency of service delivery within the Indian context.”

“Understanding the need, Government of India has also launched National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) to digitize the healthcare records across the country and during this transformation phase, the solutions coming out of HIC will help hospitals in improving their efficiency, reduce costs and ensure quality healthcare and making healthcare more inclusive,” Arora added.

The virtual event focused to find out possible solutions to digital technology challenges shared by participating hospitals, the challenges focused on out-patients convenience including lesser dependence upon administrative staff, cost reduction, Inpatient care improvement, Pathology digitalization, and use of AI, among others by utilizing best health-tech solutions, better branding and promotions, finding cost-effective options and through innovation.

Highlighting that the seismic shifts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has put the spotlight on India’s healthcare sector, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, said “The sector is at a strategic inflection point of digital disruption, and thus it is pivotal to streamline our efforts to leverage best of the digital technologies to strengthen medical infrastructure for an effective response to emergency care. The integration of healthcare with technology is blurring the divide and improving patient care services, increasing access, affordability, and lowering costs. It is heartening to see not just corporates and governments but even start-ups coming ahead to develop innovative solutions to support the sector. An important initiative like HIC is vital as it will pave the way to bridge the gap between existing challenges and innovative solutions.” said

HIC is an initiative launched by NASSCOM, which aims to build a platform of hospitals, corporates, pharma, and health-tech companies, and startups to drive the digital transformation for healthcare service providers. HIC has received 125 applications from various healthcare startups across the country with solutions to the problems in six specific areas shared by the participants’ hospitals.

The hospitals that took part in HIC included Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, Delhi, Zydus Hospital, Ahmedabad, Institute of Medical Sciences & SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Mehta Multi-speciality Hospital, Chennai, KIMS Hospital, Hyderabad, Aravind Eye Care System, Madurai and Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru. Those applications were screened by the NASSCOM CoE team and subsequently, the shortlisted startups pitched to three jury panels, consisting of all participating hospitals and major corporates. Winners identified by juries were announced by the participating hospitals who also shared their thoughts on how they look to move forward with digital adoption.

‘“Today, people are heavily dependent on hospitals to find solutions to problems created by the coronavirus pandemic. In such a situation, the use of technology will play a pivotal role in all areas like supply chain, patient registration, physician assistance, etc. Furthermore, through the latest innovations, healthcare facilities can be made available for the remotest locations very easily,” said Ishaq Quadri, Secretary, HIMSS India Chapter.

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