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Upgrade to remain relevant

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Diagnostics is the backbone of healthcare. They serve as decision points in effective healthcare for the patient. The size of the diagnostics market is expected to rise considerably from Rs 60,000 cr in 2017 to over Rs 1.35 lakh cr by 2024. Fuelling this growth is inclusive perspective from diagnostics while developing treatment plans, increasing awareness on lifestyle diseases, desire to manage health etc. Diagnostic companies in India have evolved over the years and today is at par with global standards. Alongside comes the need for a skilled workforce to match up the infrastructure to provide intelligence, support the clinical side of healthcare with accuracy and absolutely no scope for error to meet the desired patient outcomes. With the growth and advent of newer technologies and digitisation, diagnostics industry requires specialised and highly skilled workforce to match up to the technologically advanced set-up in the country. Currently, there is an evident learning gap that exists amongst the work force that can be filled only when upskilling is considered important across the domain.

It is also important to remember that skilling employees is important not just to keep up with the technological trends, but also to stay ahead of new health tests and diagnosis for the patients. Automation and adoption of newer technologies in high end labs have changed the landscape for other small and medium unit labs. Diagnosis that were earlier done by junior and senior technicians, are seeing the use of artificial intelligence, machine work, and computerisation.

In the wake of this changing landscape, the industry is looking for specialised and skilled workforce that is well informed about the industry and its evolution, multi-taskers and quick learners and smart enough to implement theory into practical. Over and above, should be able to manage the transformation of end-to-end processes without causing a delay in analysis of test results. This clearly implies that it is important to select supportive training and technology partners who guide and support the work force beyond installation and enable quicker integration between technology, processes and the laboratory staff. Most of the diagnostic labs are ISO certified. They follow mandates set as quality indicators. To keep in par with the quality standards, labs must continuously upgrade, upskill and improve as per the requirement of ISO.

We are in a digital age where Internet of Things (IOT), Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nanotechnology etc., will define the future of healthcare. Nurturing, attracting and retaining the right talent will be crucial for the industry to remain relevant. Improving the accuracy of tests, shortening laboratory turnaround time, and delivering accurate diagnostic information is essential to enable timely and targeted therapeutic and patient management decisions. Adding, more employees doesn’t help here, but retaining and upskilling the existing technicians can help in getting the desired outcomes both in terms of analysis, delivery as well as communication.

Increase in evidence-based treatments, demand-supply gap, changing disease profiles, increase in health insurance coverage, rising income levels, demand for lifestyle diseases-related healthcare services and increase in preventive health check-ups are the factors that will drive growth of the diagnostic laboratories industry. Building and fostering right skills can improve healthcare outcomes and the economic prosperity of the country.

Diagnostic labs with state- of-the-art technology, sophisticated automation, ready to use kits are not the only indicators of high quality. Instead, there is a need to develop new skills and upskilling, in quality controlled diagnostic labs’ for effective better patient care.

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