COVID-19 pandemic expanded bandwidth of public-private partnerships and innovation in Indian healthcare

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For Indian healthcare, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst to scores of public-private partnerships where innovative medical technologies helped identify patients and understand their disease progression of either the coronavirus or even cancer.

From mobilizing lab resources for the testing centres to supply chain logistics and mHealth apps, there has been a profusion of novel technologies like body temperature measurement, AI-based virus detectors, dashboards with updates on COVID-19 spread and anti-microbial gloves, among others, across the country and globally.

The pandemic which caught the healthcare sector off guard has led to an increased awareness of how technology can be leveraged remotely to help everyone get access to timely diagnosis, treatment and care. There were a lot of new trends that came up within the industry given the accelerated pace of innovation seen this year, said Mudit Dandwate, CEO and co-founder, Dozee.

For Anish Bafna, CEO, Healthium Medtech, this year has been one for collaborations with the medical fraternity in not only managing the pandemic but also working towards building foundations for a stronger medical devices sector.

During the pandemic lockdown, when the hospitals witnessed a fall in elective surgeries, with only emergency interventions and child birth happening, companies like ours kept the production facilities running and warehouses adequately stocked to ensure an uninterrupted supply of essential medical devices. We worked in close collaboration with hospitals to educate on safe OPDs and surgeries even in tier-3,4,5 towns, said Bafna .

Aishwarya Vasudevan, group chief operating officer, Neuberg Diagnostics, noted that the year 2020 was eventful for the healthcare sector going by the way it tackled the COVID-19 challenges. It made not just India but every country examine the existing health infrastructure. An effective approach to handle the COVID-19 crisis was through a collaborative effort from both the public and private sectors. The extent to which India contained the spread and managed recovery rates is proof that public-private partnerships did pay off to a large extent. To increase testing capacity, everyone from the administration and authorities to manufacturing facilities, from logistics organisations to path labs, and hospitals to pharma companies played their role in ensuring seamless service delivery. Therefore, the lesson for all of us is to embrace the fact that we need to work jointly with all other stakeholders,” pointed out

In 2021, we anticipate that strengthening the health infrastructure . There is a need for a continued emphasis on the ‘Make In India’. Remote patient monitoring will be one of the biggest trends in 2021. With more physicians turning towards virtual care, telehealth that manages this critical patient data is proving to be the lifeline of modern medical management, said Dandwate.

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