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Healthcare Masterclass series sheds light on open source innovations, digital solutions and robotics as the future of healthcare

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 The Healthcare Masterclass series Designing Better Healthcare for People’  by Dextrus Workspace and UnLtd India, with Express Healthcare as media partner, brought together healthcare innovators offering creative solutions to India’s need for healthcare reform. From understanding how open source designing and innovations are supporting front-line workers, to diving deep into the world of robots and how they are able to detect COVID-19 via wastewater. The masterclasses shed light on open source innovations, digital solutions and robotics as the future of healthcare.

In the 2019 Global Health Security Index, which measures pandemic preparedness for countries based on their ability to handle the crisis, India ranked 57, lower than the US at 1, the UK at 2, Brazil at 22, and Italy at 31, suggesting it is more vulnerable to pandemics and hence creating an urgency to find solutions outside of the traditional methods.

With the COVID-19 crisis reshaping economies and public policies globally, it becomes imperative to use this moment to lay the foundation for a strong, sustained and socially inclusive response mechanism through technological advancement and governance innovation as it holds the key to identifying barriers and providing efficient solutions for developmental challenges at a local, national and global level.

Dimagi: Designing tools for delivering last mile impact

During a pandemic, communicating clearly, overcoming language and geographic barriers is critical to make sure that the population is informed and reminded to use appropriate precautions. The exponential advancement in technology—with the wealth of data it offers—has allowed health officials not only to have access to vital information but also communicate in the most remote parts of the country, which is critical during a crisis. The masterclass by Dimagi, a global healthcare innovator, highlighted the ways in which they are able to deliver sustainable social impact for underserved populations by using innovative technologies.

“During a pandemic, there is a lack of time to install mobile apps on the phones of health workers or community members. SMS and WhatsApp are ubiquitous tools that can overcome this challenge. Dimagi leverages messaging to enable healthcare workers and community members to directly register and track cases, and simultaneously allow patients to monitor themselves daily also via messaging,” explained Sriya Srikrishnan and Namrata Tomar from Dimagi.

Thus, designing simple mobile solutions, Dimagi, has been able to maintain consistent open communication channels and in turn build the capacity of frontline workers, making remote healthcare delivery a possibility.

Fluid Robotics: Designing healthcare systems to detect and prevent future outbreaks

The current healthcare system is facing acute shortage of testing kits while thousands of asymptomatic carriers of the virus are moving about undetected posing a huge threat. This has made tracking the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak a challenge. Could a robot be the answer? Robots can’t fall sick or catch infection, hence they are proving to be very effective in handling high risk jobs where humans could be at risk of exposure.

Asim Bhalero, co-founder, Fluid Robotics, an organisation whose water monitoring system (FluidWMS) has been deployed for monitoring raw-sewage contamination, walked the audience through the current wastewater systems in India while highlighting how maintaining and repairing these systems can improve healthcare delivery.

Drawing from his experience in setting up Fluid Robotics, he showcased how pivoting his model to contribute towards detecting the virus led to adapting and designing their robot to track the outbreak of COVID-19 through wastewater systems, complementing health systems to detect future outbreaks.

Makers Asylum: How to mobilise communities during a crisis

While the world was in a gloom and trying to fathom the extent of the crisis, something surprisingly uplifting started to happen: companies, communities and innovators began to come together to work openly at an unprecedented level, putting the ability to create value before the opportunity to make a buck. When word started spreading about the shortage of PPE kits, ventilators and medical supplies, the power of community and collaboration showed us all what we can accomplish when we work together for a common good.

Vaibhav Chhabra, founder and chief learning officer at Maker’s Asylum, in his masterclass explained how open source design innovation can lead to more holistic and adaptable solutions that can easily and affordably be replicated to amplify its impact.

“And since we open sourced our design, we could activate a system to get 1 million face shields made in 49 days across 42 cities. At one point, the entire community was making 1000 face shields per day”, says Chhabra who along with his team decided to quarantine themselves in their maker space when the country went into lockdown to launch the M-19 Initiative.

They initiated a process of designing, producing and distributing face shields for the healthcare workers while people across the nation accessed their design and were able to adapt it based on availability of resources and equipment. This brought together an interdisciplinary team of artists, athletes, doctors, manufactures with their youngest being 12 year old who made 350 shields at home.

These, amongst many other innovations across healthcare technology and open source designing proves the value innovators can add in reforming the current healthcare system.

1 Comment
  1. my real chemistry says

    This is really an informative and useful article for everyone. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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