By Express News Service

COVID19 caught us unawares but next time, we will be better prepared. This was stated by Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman & Founder, Narayana Health, while presenting the keynote address at a virtual web conference titled, ‘Combating COVID-19 Through Technology’.

The webinar was organised by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and the Lifesciences & Healthcare Innovation Forum (LHIF) late last week. It was moderated by Raghuram Janapareddy, Director of Healthcare & Life Sciences, NASSCOM Centre of Excellence.

Several leaders from the healthcare industry who attended the meet conceded that the ongoing pandemic is a huge opportunity for the healthtech industry. They discussed various products and solutions that could navigate a ‘new world order’.

“The purpose of technology is to make healthcare safer, affordable and accessible for all patients. Entrepreneurs must work towards developing products beyond the scope of COVID-19, identify large hospital chains for strategic and fruitful partnerships, and build products that doctors can advocate,” said Dr Shetty adding that government on its part must administer as many tests as possible, track patients and quarantine them.

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“Technology can be used for a range of purposes such as manufacturing smart low-cost devices, remote consultation platforms, monitoring health wearables, democratising diagnostics, enabling policy development and engineer ecosystems to calibrate collective efforts of governments,” said Rekha Menon, Vice Chairperson of NASSCOM and Chairman & Senior Managing Director of Accenture in India.

Agreed Janapareddy. “TeleHealth is not only addressing non-Covid-related healthcare needs of the public in this lockdown, but will significantly transform the way healthcare is delivered in future. All new HealthTech innovators should be building solutions that work seamlessly with the TeleHealth platforms,” he said.

Dr Aravind Kasargod stated that the pandemic has changed people’s perception of government hospitals. The Group Medical Director of Cloudnine Group of Hospitals remarked, “Technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence must be used to build products and solutions that can be widely adopted.”

President of Esri India Technologies Agendra Kumar appreciated the role of GIS technology that can track patients and help authorities plan for adequate quarantine and isolation measures.

“The need of the hour is to scale up India’s ability to develop products in low-resource settings,” remarked Nitesh Jangir, Director Coeo Labs, whose product VAPCare is protecting doctors from ventilated COVID-19 patients.