The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the focus on contagious and communicable diseases and how to control them. The large population of India makes it vulnerable to communicable diseases. India is dealing with not just Coronavirus but many communicable diseases like Tuberculosis and HIV. Communicable diseases are a major problem all over the world. These days technology is being used in the containment of communicable diseases in India. In an exclusive interaction with the Financial Express Online Ashvini Danigond, Executive Director & CEO, Manorama Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. talked about the use of technology, requirements for streamlining the last mile delivery, challenges and opportunities for health tech players and more. Excerpts:
How technology such as predictive analytics can be used in the containment of communicable diseases in a densely populated country like India?
Predictive analytics is a health technology solution that has played a pivotal role during the pandemic, which has been instrumental in bringing to the fore health disparities with data-driven insights. Through predictive analytics, it is possible to gather specific data on populations to better serve the health needs of society. Predictive analytics can help stratify risk and give a more detailed picture of the collective health of a particular area. This way, healthcare providers can devise additional ways to plan and prepare for the future rise in the number of Covid-19 patients. To deepen understanding of what the insights mean and what can be done based on findings, it’s important that healthcare institutions place effort into ensuring all stakeholders understand the data and how to apply it.
What are the critical amendments in taxation and policies regarding manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain management that the government needs to initiate to streamline the last-mile delivery?
While the Indian healthcare industry is on the cusp of growth, the government also needs to initiate steps to reduce the burden of the high cost of finance for local manufacturers. There is also a need to curtail the effective rate of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on medical devices to 5% from the current 18%. The government can also look towards incentivizing high-end medical equipment manufacturers to scale up the production of such devices within the country. There is scope for upgrading the manufacturing facilities and supply chain infrastructure with technology, automation, and digital interventions. Further, the government would need to bolster the logistics infrastructure for initiating the last-mile delivery in the country, including facilities for cold chains.
India is gradually becoming a manufacturing hub for software for medical equipment. What are the challenges and opportunities for health tech players?
Re-strategising a long-term roadmap to promote this industry remains crucial. To meet the financial challenges in the industry in the aftermath of the pandemic, a robust funding mechanism to nurture an innovative ecosystem needs to be prioritised. There is a need to push for enhancing the competency of the sector through skilling, upskilling, and reskilling. This should be in alignment with the current medical and technological advancements. For health tech players, there is scope for expanding access and opportunities through collaborative policy support for both the demand and supply sides.
Creating an ecosystem of key stakeholders remains imperative for the effective use of resources and scalability. Building a roadmap that focuses on accelerating innovation and research & development (R&D) remains crucial as well. A futuristic and collaborative approach could drive India to emerge as a trusted partner for the world for software for medical devices.
What are the key factors that health tech players need to keep in mind to stay relevant in this constantly evolving and changing dynamics of healthcare requirements globally?
Digital technology will continue to expand and improve patient engagement and management. There will be scope for creating a holistic experience through usage of tools and solutions when it comes to screening and diagnosis, care delivery, care navigation support, disease management, remote monitoring or even supply chain solutions for that matter.
The need is to promote value-based care along with introduction of population health management, electronic medical records (EMRs), further adoption of Telemedicine and overall usage of digital healthcare solutions by care providers is the need of the hour. There remains tremendous scope for research and development (R&D) in the healthcare sector. Cutting-edge applications with usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in health drug discovery, personalized medicine will continue to remain a game-changer.
What are the best practices that India can adopt from other developing countries like Mexico, Vietnam, and Malaysia when it comes to public health?
In Mexico, for example, every medium to large city has at least one first-rate hospital. The Centennial Care 2.0 in Mexico is aimed at implementing new, targeted initiatives to address specific gaps in healthcare and improve outcomes for its most vulnerable citizens. On the other hand, apart from encouraging the private sector, Vietnam is also requiring healthcare facilities at central and provincial levels to help scale up the capacity of those at the district and commune levels. The country’s policy focuses on technical skills transfer with the key objective to reduce the stress of those at higher-level hospitals. Similarly, the Malaysian healthcare system remains advanced due to extensive support from the government through investment in hospital’s medical infrastructure.
Tell us about Manorama Infosolutions Pvt Ltd (MIPL’s) Lifeline Communicable Disease Management Suite (Pandemic Solutions)
Manorama Infosolutions Pvt Ltd (MIPL) Lifeline Communicable Disease Management Suite (CDMS) populates and represents real-time data such as citizen record capture at Port of Entries, Pandemic Administration, and War-rooms, Contact Tracing, Last-mile Vaccine Management, Teleconsultation Solution and Covid-19 Hospitals and Quarantine Centre Pandemic Solution.
A centralised war-room helps to streamline capacity and efficiency management to mount the fight against Covid-19 while providing data visualisation of key performance metrics such as availability of beds, drugs and consumables, supply of medical oxygen, and infection spread related statistics in a particular district. It features dashboards and monitors, which help healthcare administrators to review the performance of districts at the central level.
With the CDMS, improved patient care is made possible through real-time alerts related to abnormal vital readings, the creation of a unique Electronic Medical Record (EMR) of a patient across multiple healthcare facilities, and remote monitoring of patients through teleconsultation. Also, the CDMS enables end-to-end workflow management with a pre-defined Covid-19 form.
How is it helping government authorities/healthcare providers to execute multi-mode interventions to fight this crisis and increase management efficacy?
Our virtual collaboration platform telemedicine is making a great impact in the markets we are present in. Along with this, we are also focusing on consolidating our presence in various emerging markets with our solutions and helping the customer achieve their healthcare digital transformation goals.
As I mentioned earlier, MIPL has developed a specially curated Lifeline Communicable Disease Management Solutions Suite to solve the challenges faced by healthcare providers, administrators, and government in the pandemic situation. This is in addition to the public health solutions that have proved to be groundbreaking in the industry.
Could you share a few success stories/ case studies?
MIPL has successfully made critical deliveries for large and complex healthcare projects across the globe during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. New-age solutions that have emerged and are being adopted better now include: Telemedicine and virtual consultations, Communicable Disease Management Solution (CDMS) for administrators from public health, and public health solutions are also critical for healthcare policy and better management of pandemic.
MIPL has successfully implemented the CDMS for Kolhapur Collectorate and the Telemedicine Project of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) facilitating the management and treatment of Covid-19 cases. The CDMS has helped city health authorities through the lockdowns facilitating the screening and management of Covid-19 and enabling patients to remotely connect with doctors and have their diagnosis done.
What remains MIPL’s business strategy during the pandemic?
For MIPL, public health has been a key pillar since its inception almost two decades ago. During the phase of the novel coronavirus infection, solutions related to pandemic management like Communicable Disease Management Solutions and Telemedicine remained the key growth verticals for the company.
Any significant current and upcoming projects you would like to mention that are being undertaken, both in domestic and international territories?
As for International projects, at the moment a country automation project has been initiated in Bhutan by MIPL for implementing the Hospital Information Management System (HIMS) in 379 healthcare facilities. MIPL has also successfully bagged the country automation project in Seychelles for the Healthcare Agency, which is run by the Ministry of Health (MoH), Republic of Seychelles and is currently under implementation.
In India, for the Wockhardt group of hospitals, we have been instrumental in replacing their legacy solutions and this project is also under implementation.
Manorama’s Lifeline Smart City Suite of Solutions has expanded to international markets and is in the process to be integrated and implemented for International Smart City Projects. Sri Lanka and Africa are the two nations, which are prominently featured on the company’s agenda in this regard.
What are your views on the PM’s Digital health mission? Any suggestions you would like to share?
While the Central government has launched the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) to digitize the healthcare records across the country, there is immense scope and opportunity for more. In addition, through the National Health Mission (NHM), the government has been aiming to provide access to equitable, affordable, and quality healthcare services that are accountable and responsive to people’s needs.
There is a need for a National Registry to bring authenticity and greater visibility to the hospitals and healthcare facilities across the nation, which will ensure that the information linkage between various stakeholders belonging to the healthcare industry remains adequate.
Considering that the sector is at a strategic inflection point of digital disruption, it, therefore, remains pivotal for healthcare providers to streamline the efforts to leverage the best of the digital technologies to support medical infrastructure for an effective response to an emergency health crisis-like situation.