Event Report

Elets Digital Health Conclave 2021: Reimagining Healthcare with Technology – A Recap

Elets Digital Health Conclave

Over 35 speakers and more than 250 delegates signed up for six heavyweight E-panel discussions at the second edition of Elets Digital Health Conclave to reimagine India’s healthcare space with technology, reports Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee of Elets News Network (ENN).

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The second edition of Elets Digital Health Conclave with a theme ‘Reimagining Healthcare with Technology’ was held on 28 – 29 July 2021 on a Virtual 3D platform, Avtaar. Organised by Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd and co-organised by eHEALTH, the two-day conclave brought together country’s top public health officials from the union and state governments, healthcare experts, and CEOs, CIOs and other decision-makers from the corporate hospitals to network and discuss the role of digital technologies in transforming India’s healthcare sector.

Noticeably, the online event was set up in the light of innovations triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and swift technology adoption by the government as well as the private sector to firefight every day and foreseeable future challenges.

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Welcoming the speakers and delegates to the second edition of Elets Digital Health Conclave, Dr Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Elets Techomedia Pvt Ltd said: “Our wonderful speaker lineup and delegate selection will help bring newer perspectives into discussions and brainstorming on digital health. We hope that our Virtual event will also play a crucial role in building new and nurturing existing partnerships among stakeholders.”

Speaking at the inaugural session, Abhishek Singh, CEO, MyGov; President & CEO, National eGovernance Division; and MD & CEO, Digital India Corporation, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology observed that the deadly virus has led to behaviour as well as technological changes in organisations and society at large. He noted that the country’s health sector has rapidly absorbed technology like never before and in no time. “Digital is now the order of the day,” he added.

Dr Seema Khanna, Deputy DG, (Scientist-G) at National Informatics Centre, remarked that technologies are ought to be built around human needs and should address crises. Co WIN and Aarogya Setu app are the frontline technologies that have played a crucial role in India’s fight against the Covid-19. She added: “Aarogya Setu app is a shining example of collaborative development by the government and volunteers rolled out at a short notice for a vast population of India.”

Informing about the role of the Andhra Pradesh government during the pandemic, state’s Commissioner and Mission Director for National Health Mission at the Department of Medical, Health & Family Welfare, Katamneni Bhaskar said: “We recruited 12,000 professionals in the public healthcare sector during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will also set up 14 medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh.”

Also, the session witnessed a presentation by Dr Vipul Aggarwal, Deputy CEO, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, National Health Authority, on the government’s flagship universal health insurance scheme. In his slides, he showed the major achievements of the scheme since its launch as well, as outlined its benefits, among others.

Highlights from the Panel Discussion on National Digital Health Mission: Enabling Efficiency of Healthcare Delivery

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Dr K Madan Gopal, Sr Consultant (Health), NITI Aayog: Digital technologies have enhanced patient care and bolstered homecare during the pandemic. Besides, telemedicine has played a crucial role in running OPDs remotely, which helped in the Covid-19 management.

Abhishek Kumar, Director, IT, National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), National Health Authority: NDHM will not reinvent the wheel, but will bring about interoperability in the ecosystem with a digital layer. It will work within the federal framework of our country. NDHM is developing the backbone necessary for supporting an integrated digital health infra in India. It is creating digital highways for bridging the gap among varied healthcare stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Dr Pankaj Gupta, Head, Access Health Digital:  Interoperability in healthcare will be crucial for evolving a digital health ecosystem. Interoperability can be realised once healthcare providers adopt the latest software and IT systems for communicating and exchange patient data swiftly and securely. When Interoperability of data in the healthcare sector is widely adopted, seamless delivery of insurance services can also be provided to patients.

Highlights from the Panel Discussion on Covid-19 & Digital Transformation: Key Lessons Learnt

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Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO, National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH): NABH has created islands of excellence over the last 15 years. We have to address the last mile problem in the digital health. This will be done in a mission mode owing to the government’s heightened attention and resource allocation for pushing digital health in the country.

Dr K Hari Prasad, President – Hospitals Division, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd: As the use of Telehealth is growing owing to the pandemic implications, its practice should be standardised. We need standardisation in Telemedicine, Teleradiology and E-ICU to be able to fully tap into the potential of digital technologies and digital health in India.

Gautam Khanna, CEO, PD Hinduja Hospital: Healthcare industry was a laggard in tech adoption owing to its reasonable conservatism. But, it is now witnessing a mind shift towards leveraging available data by using Data Analytics. India’s healthcare sector will rapidly adopt new technologies to address the healthcare of the vast population as well as pandemic-like health issues.

Rupak Barua, Director & Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals Ltd: While we are looking around for the best and latest technologies to solve healthcare and related issues, we should keep in mind the affordability factor, which will indeed help to percolate it down to the grassroots. A true digital technology will make healthcare services affordable as well as address manpower shortages in the sector to an extent.

Rajiv Sikka, Chief Information Officer, Medanta – The Medicity: Telemedicine is an urbane phenomenon that is a myth busted by the pandemic as people from smaller cities of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand constitute around 40% of our telemedicine service. This mode of treatment is like to grow in the future as its utility factor is being widely appreciated.

Highlights from the Panel Discussion on Potential of AI, Big Data & Analytics in Healthcare Ecosystem

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Dr Aloke Mullick, Group CEO, OMNI Hospitals: Most hospitals lack a data-set, which is crucial to be able to leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). At present, we are witnessing that most hospitals in the country are only able to adopt entry-level AI technologies such as bots.

Abdullah Saleem, Group CIO, Omni Hospitals: AI will undoubtedly reduce medical errors. The technology has begun demonstrating good results in the telemedicine or tell consultancy domains. AI technology is evolving and is likely to open new frontiers in the healthcare industry.

Radha Krishna Rao Sagi, Medical Director, Prathima Hospitals: Doctors do not understand technology and startup guys or techies do not understand healthcare. So, there needs to be enthusiasm from both sides for keeping abreast of developments taking in each other’s domain. This will create an environment where innovations will happen by identifying the real needs of healthcare providers and professionals.

Krishna Rao RV, Sr GM & Head – IT, AIG Hospitals: AI is enabling doctors to see, treat and monitor more patients located anywhere. Doctors need not require bringing human touch element or physically consult in every case. Considering this, AI can be an effective tool in augmenting patient care and improving the experience of healthcare providers.

Highlights from the Panel Discussion on Role of Telemedicine & Remote Patient Management in Healthcare Delivery

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Dr A Shariff, IT Head, AIIMS, Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic and eventual lockdowns have accelerated the adoption of telemedicine. AIIMS has provided 2.4 lakh teleconsultations from the start of the pandemic to this day.

Vikaas Bhatnagar, Group CIO, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences: We have developed a mobile app that enables patients to upload prescriptions and medical records in our private server. This becomes a part of our EMR for swift teleconsultations.

Dr Param Hans Mishra, COO, IQ City Medical College & Hospital: Awareness needs to be generated among the rural mass about the pros of telemedicine. Our country needs to work towards making telemedicine accessible to all.

Dr Tausif Thangalvadi, Medical Director, Premier Hospital: AI technology calls for a big investment and to offset it is a challenge. Many players are working towards it by trying to avail health funding from health-focused financing organisations.

Bhoopendra Solanki, Head IT, Sakra World Hospital: Young doctors are more open to teleconsultations and telemedicine. This presents a bright scenario for new methods of treatment. However, a lot of emphases should be laid on data security aspects.

Highlights from the Panel Discussion on Ayushman Bharat: Opportunities, Scope & Challenges

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Dr Ajai Agarwal, Director, Health Policy & Quality Assurance, National Health Authority: Ayushman Bharat scheme provides an opportunity to include the ongoing state-specific schemes in the national programme. This is being done in states that have joined the flagship health programme of the government of India.

Rajat Agarwal, Deputy Director, IT, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB – PMJAY), National Health Authority: We are using Information Technology big time to make Ayushman Bharat services seamless. We are also ensuring that data is safely stored and secured in the authorised systems

Dr OP Yadava, CEO, National Heart Institute: Ayushman Bharat scheme also involves foreign TPAs. So, India’s data will get shared with them. This may give rise to cases of data breaches.

Ravishankar M Sankeshwar, Chief Information Officer / Administrator IT, KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital MRC: Hospital CFOs should be consulted in ascertaining costs, which is an important element in framing insurance and services packages.

Highlights from the Panel Discussion on Business Transformation of Healthcare Companies during Pandemic: Significant role of CIO

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J P Dwivedi, CIO, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre: We are no longer Chief Information Officers, but we are Chief Integration Officers as everything flows into us in an organisation. The role CIOs have come into prominence with the increasing generation of data and use.
Anuroop Sehgal, Cluster IT Lead (North), Fortis Healthcare Ltd: CIOs have digitally empowered almost all stakeholders, which helped to manage the pandemic crisis.

Kishor Gojiya, Associate Head – IT, CIMS Hospital Pvt Ltd, Care Institute of Medical Sciences: CIO is now more of a strategic function rather than an operation function. They are now invited by managements into strategic discussions for drawing up growth plans.

CA Neeraj Jayaswal, CFO – India, Medicover Group: Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have emerged as enablers of business. Any plan or work that an organisation embarks upon has to get it done by CIOs. The pandemic has exemplified its role in the healthcare sector too.

Plus, exhibited at the second version of Elets Digital Health Conclave is NeoSOFT Technologies. The company is an SEI-CMMI Level 5 and ISO 9001:2008 certified global IT consulting & software solutions provider. Established in 1996, the Mumbai-headquartered company has offices in the US, the UK, Dubai, Italy, Germany, Japan and Australia, serving over 1,500 SMB and Fortune 500 clients in more than 50 countries with “85” client retention.

The Panel Discussions Moderated by:

  • Sameer Mehta, Executive Vice Chairman at Dr Mehta’s Hospital, and Vice President
    at CAHO
  • Neeraj Lal, Group Sr VP, Medicover Hospitals (India)
  • Dr Venkat Ramana Sudigali, Director & CEO, Excell Hospitals
  • Dr Naresh Yallapragada, CIO, KIMS Hospital
  • Kartik Sharma, Managing Editor, Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd

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