How do you see the global digital health scenario evolving in India, given the vulnerability of our health data, yet the promise of health insights to drive better health outcomes?
Digital Health is now being used at different levels in the value chain and across the continuum of care. For seeking healthcare-related information, seven out of 10 people will search the internet, similarly for medical information. With Instagram becoming an advertisement platform for healthcare products and services, patients know more about technology-based solutions than doctors.
When it comes to providers, they are still to accept the reality, but now, technology-based solutions are there for all the challenges healthcare faces. While this means that we have achieved a high level of technical maturity, the care providers’ competence is not up to that level. Also, there is a fear of data loss and patient loss with tech systems being hacked, and these fears are genuine and should be addressed.
By 2025, I believe one of the four healthcare providers including doctors will be using digital health actively, and patients’ needs will drive this change.
What are the policy initiatives we need for India to reap the insights of digital health solutions available today?
The Government has already made its intent clear in the National Health Policy 2017 about creating the Digital Health Ecosystem and has moved to institutionalising technology adoption in healthcare through ABDM. The National Health Authority is doing an outstanding job. We need to invest more and enhance budgets for ABDM, make ABHA numbers mandatory for seeking healthcare in the country, and allocate one per cent of the digital health budget for data security solutions.
Against this backdrop, what are the highlights of the Global Digital Health Summit (GDHS), Expo & Innovation Awards 2023 scheduled for September 1 and 2 at Mumbai’s Jio World Convention Center?
We are aware of the fact that there is a lot of excitement about digital health and emerging technologies, but people need the right guidance to help them decide and embark on their digital transformation journey. Out of every four CEOs in pharma and healthcare organisations I spoke with, I could see the excitement but also the lack of the granular knowledge to implement digital health. This Summit is to help the healthcare and the life sciences industry to discuss the solutions they can implement to boost reach and revenues and have better clinical outcomes. We have got in top global digital health leaders, doctors and hospital administrators from India who are implementing digital health and have benefitted from IT. We hope to demystify that technology requires large investments and also, for doctors, technology takes away the personal touch, and how we can better manage chronic patients in the digital age. This is the first healthcare summit that hosts a session with patients on their expectations from digital health.
How does it take forward the learnings from last year’s Summit?
Last year, we focussed on a few critical questions like return on investment (RoI) in digital health, leadership, and segments to focus. It was a policy and strategy summit, and this is the solutions and implementation summit. We are discussing solutions to implement.
What is the audience mix for the GDHS 2023 and what can they expect in terms of speakers, topics, masterclasses, actionable insights etc?
The audience of GDHS includes senior officials of the Government, global leaders in digital health, three Presidents of Global Digital Health Associations, Presidents of the doctor’s federations and clinical societies, pharma industry CEOs, IT solution providers, hospital CEOs, and medical device manufacturers.
Attendees will get definitive answers about solutions that can help in managing chronic patients, tools doctors can use to become smart clinicians, how small hospitals can leverage technology to increase reach and revenues without increasing beds, how the pharmaceutical industry can leverage technology across the value chain, how the pharmaceutical industry can leverage digital therapeutics and why should medical devices manufacturers focus on software more than hardware. We are also discussing speciality care in the age of intelligent medicine, the use of big data, artificial intelligence, and the importance of data security and privacy.
We are launching the SMART Clinician’s Suite and SMART Hospital Suite to help doctors and hospitals choose the most appreciate technologies. Also, we are launching the Asia Pacific Digital Therapeutics Leadership Alliance to grow the DTx Ecosystem. It’s going to be a historic summit.
Can you give more information on the concurrent Expo and Innovation Awards?
Expo is an experience lab for attendees who come from different parts of the country and across the globe to meet the solution providers and learn first-hand from them. This expo will feature products and solutions that doctors and hospitals can use for digital transformation.
The Awards are for recognising innovative and scalable solutions. They are judged by a global jury chaired by Brain O’Connor, Chairman of the European Connected Health Alliance, and Dr Michele Griffith, President of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth. Awards are objectively judged based on the data provided by the applicants, and the jury is global, so, it is tough to get this award, but those who get it will mean that have a product or service that is of a global standard. I am really excited to see how many Indian companies win this award.
Charting a digital health roadmap is different for healthcare organisations of varying sizes, from doctor clinics to nursing homes, and multi-speciality hospitals. India also has a huge government-funded healthcare ecosystem. How does the Summit address this reality?
The summit deliberations are outcome driven, and based on the deliberations, we are drafting the ‘Digital Transformation Roadmap’ document and making it available to the healthcare providers giving them guidance on how to move ahead with their tech adoption journey. This digital transformation roadmap will be from a patient life cycle approach, and it will apply to doctors, hospitals, and pharma companies; be it micro, small, medium, or large in size or scope.