Adoption of digital technology to transform India's healthcare post-Covid-19: Jyoti Arora, Special Secretary, MeitY

NASSCOM CoE for IoT & AI organizes Healthcare Innovation Challenge (HIC) for the digital transformation of healthcare providers in India

With an aim to drive the digital transformation of the healthcare providers in the country, NASSCOM CoE for IoT & AI successfully organized Healthcare Innovation Challenge (HIC). The one-of-a-kind initiative was meant 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.

Jyoti Arora, IAS, Special Secretary, MeitY, 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. The role of digital platforms like the 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. Understanding the need, the Government of India has also launched the National Digital Health mission 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.”

“The seismic shifts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have put the spotlight on India’s healthcare sector. The sector is at a strategic inflection point of digital disruption, and thus it is pivotal to streamline our0 efforts to leverage the 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 Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM.

The event was graced by the presence of dignitaries including Jyoti Arora, IAS, Special Secretary, MeitY, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, Srinivasan Sundararajan, VP Technology, GAVS Technologies, Dr. Sanjeev Virdi, Principal Scientist, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation, Chandigarh, Jeyaselan Jeyaraj, President, HIMSS India Chapter, Ishaq Quadri, Secretary, HIMSS India Chapter, Juergen Simon, Head - Siemens Healthineers Technology Accelerator, Siemens Healthineers, Praveen Gulabarni, Global Head of Enterprise Transformation, WIPRO and Sanjeev Malhotra, CEO, NASSCOM CoE-IoT & AI.

 HIC 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.

Through HIC, NASSCOM CoE is focusing on creating a competitive edge & operational excellence for the hospitals by enabling collaborative and frugal innovation.  The initiative will enable hospitals to nominate use cases relevant to them, which will be followed by curation & evaluation of technology-led innovative solutions and enable their deployment to address the nominated use cases. 

‘“Today, people are heavily dependent on hospitals to find solutions to problems created by the coronavirus pandemic. In such a situation, 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.