Over the years, India has seen considerable growth in telemedicine and the current situation has only accelerated its adoption. Venugopal Reddy Kandimalla, Senior VP, Global Head, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Tech Mahindra shares with Prabhat Prakash about the company’s offerings to the telemedicine sector, how it is bound to see a boom, and how India has a lot of potential for its growth, amidst more
Please give us some insights into end-to-end integrated solutions for healthcare providers. Name some of them. Further, is it pan-India?
As COVID-19 disrupts the socio-economic order of the world, healthcare sector continues to bear the maximum burden. Even during these unprecedented times, we continue to work towards serving healthcare providers by offering them innovative and end-to-end integrated healthcare solutions. Some of our offerings include remote patient monitoring, virtual care solution and telemedicine, among others. These solutions are aimed at bridging gaps in the healthcare facilities while enhancing the efficiency of physicians, hospitals, ancillary facilities, clinics, governmental health bodies and public health organisations. Through these solutions, we are helping global healthcare and life sciences enterprises to reimagine their business processes and deliver remarkable patient experience.
We also customise our solutions according to the needs of the client/market. For instance, in India, we use internet protocol-centric solutions in telemedicine, emergency management and computational research. In the US, we are providing nurse triaging capacity and digital customer care centres to help them fight this crisis. We are also collaborating with other suitable partners to combat the situation at hand.
How do you see the growth of telemedicine sector in the era of COVID-19? Where does India stand as compared to other nations?
With the rapid outbreak of the pandemic, the healthcare systems faced some unprecedented stress. This has led governments and companies across the world to turn towards telemedicine solutions in order to flatten the curve of demand on health systems. In the pre-COVID times, countries were slow to pick on the virtual healthcare trend. However, with technology becoming more sophisticated and social distancing norms becoming mandatory, we will see an uptake in the demand of telemedicine in India as well as the globe. According to a report by Global Market Insights, the market size of telemedicine is expected to grow more than $175 billion by 2026.
Over the years, India has seen considerable growth in telemedicine and the current situation has only accelerated its adoption. Furthermore, India will emerge as a leader in this market, with the support from government to provide required infrastructure and defining regulations and guidelines for the industry.
How are collaborations with healthcare providers helping to combat COVID-19? What are the offerings to healthcare providers that have associated with Tech Mahindra in this venture?
With our strong industry and business-process knowledge coupled with expertise in technology, we help healthcare providers transform business practices and provide enhanced patient experience. Through our numerous technology-led solutions, we have joined hands with healthcare providers to help them fight against this pandemic. Currently, we are working with the government as well as non-government bodies to provide them with the necessary support through our Emergency management and Telemedicine solutions. We had partnered with Delhi Police to design online curfew pass system. The solution helped in reducing essential service request turnaround from three days to thirty minutes.
How are your offerings different from other players in the market?
We offer comprehensive list of solutions to our customers in the context of their business and the current market needs. We have invested into specific capabilities for customer journey mapping and design thinking as tools to create our solutions. In the digital world, customer experience is very important, and this is factored into each of our solutions. Besides this, agility in product development, rapid scalability to meet the needs and a flexible business model are our core differentiators. In some of the markets, we have practising physicians who are part of the core product team to shape the solutions and evangelise with customers.
How is Tech Mahindra implementing the guidelines issued by the Government of India into their telemedicine offering, especially in rural areas?
The Government has published guidelines for telemedicine in March 2020. Our solution is designed keeping these guidelines in mind. Certain points from these guidelines are implementable in the IT solution and others are practice guidelines for the doctors. We have implemented the Guidelines into the workflow and care pathways in our solution and for practices specific to the medical professional. We reiterate them during the on boarding process.
How is the remote patient monitoring system being executed with utmost efficiency? How does it help address the issue of shortage of clinical experts?
With an aim to improve the access and quality of healthcare systems, we offer remote patient monitoring systems. The multi-parameter monitoring solution helps in addressing the issues related to the shortage of clinical experts and hospital staff by bridging the gap between conventional clinical settings and where patients work and live. The solution leverages digital technology to collect medical and health data from patients and transmitting the same to healthcare providers for monitoring, assessment and giving recommendations.
In the remote patient monitoring space, four things are important – patient experience, care provider’s experience, productivity and quality of care. While quality of care is of paramount importance irrespective of the model, one has to take extra precautions in creating the other three elements while managing the care digitally. Customer takes an important and active part in the remote health process and we provide information related to conditions, self-assessment tools, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven triaging and vital measurements by self. All of this gives necessary information to the doctor before the care can begin. Similarly, artificial intelligence and machine language-based tool sets are providing additional inputs to the care providers to complement the decision-making process.
Define virtual care solution offered by Tech Mahindra, and how is the company deploying emerging technologies (AI, ML, Blockchain etc.)?
Virtual care has become a ‘must-have’ during these times empowering healthcare providers to combat the situation. Through our virtual care solutions, we help the government implement health programmes in rural and urban areas thereby redefining healthcare delivery and creating the world’s largest Integrated Digital Health Network (IDHN). We have also introduced HealthNxt- the world’s first enterprise-class virtual care platform that brings features and functions of the best-in-class niche virtual care applications into one seamless offering. Designed around human-centric design principles, it is an ambient voice-enabled solution that addresses clinician usability. The platform can further help hospitals in lowering costs, improving revenues and enhancing the quality of the care.
As part of our TechMNxt charter, we are leveraging new-age technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain and machine learning to develop solutions for our clients and partner ecosystems, that can help in early detection of COVID symptoms and effective management of the crisis. We are also using AI and data modelling techniques to monitor the disease spread and predict its progression. The AI-based solutions can also be helpful in creating an affordable warning system that can be used by masses for early detection.