August 27, 2019
In order to discuss the roadmap of a digital transformation of India’s health system, International Innovation Corps (IIC) supported by Rockefeller Foundation organised a one-day symposium ‘Catalyzing Innovations in Digital Health’ at the University of Chicago Center in Delhi. The symposium got stakeholders from the government, industry, academic and non-profits together to deliberate upon how technological innovations can transform healthcare service delivery in the nation for improved health outcomes towards the achievement of the targets outlined in SDG3.
“Global public health is at a digital tipping point given the tremendous power technology has for creating impact in healthcare, especially at the community level where more and better data can improve the health of individuals, communities and whole societies,” said Deepali Khanna, Managing Director for Asia at The Rockefeller Foundation. “India is a world leader in technological advances, and it’s time we harness this innovation to accelerate the needle on public health outcomes.”
Shriya Sethi, Director for Projects, for the IIC presented the spoke about IIC’s work with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, National Health Authority, and WISH Foundation on different aspects of the expansive digital health landscape. A fireside chat between Lov Verma, Former Union Health Secretary and Rahul Mullick from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation deliberated on the existing gaps in India’s health systems where digital interventions can create impact.
Citing the examples of National Health Stack and the National Digital Health Blueprint, Lov Verma said, “We have come a long way, an architecture for the digital health ecosystem has been set out, the challenge is how it will be implemented in the days to come.”
The symposium featured panel discussions to answer key questions in India’s digital health trajectory, including how innovations can move from pilots to scale, and how emerging technologies can be channelized for front-line health workers. The power of collaborations to unlock the potential of India’s wealth of health-related data, especially with the government, was a key theme. These curated panels featured key opinion leaders including Dr. P. Anandan (CEO, Wadhwani AI), Sudeshna Adak (CEO and Director, OmiX), Dr. Prashant Mathur (Director, ICMR-NCDIR), Shama Karkal (CEO, Swasti Health Catalyst) and Kriti Mehrotra (Country Director, Dimagi), amongst others.
To conclude the symposium, Dr. Indu Bhushan (CEO, AB-PMJAY) conversed with Dr. Shamika Ravi (Member, EAC to the PM and Director for Research, Brookings Institute India) on Ayushman Bharat and how data-driven decisions can improve efficiency in healthcare.
“In the short-term, PMJAY will prioritise reaching the last mile, our target is that every family should have one e-card, quality of service, a more robust IT system, prevention of fraud and the rates will be our focus,” said Dr. Indu Bhushan.
A detailed report on the event will be released soon.