Tech & Health Care

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Entrepreneurs are known to turn crisis into opportunities. The global pandemic saw adoption of technology in healthcare like never before. Major Sunil Shetty speaks to three eminent guests about the future of healthcare and use of technology.

A crisis is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to think differently and create new solutions. And, more importantly, it is an opportune time to push disruptive ideas across to discussion makers, enablers and end-users who otherwise would either junk or freak out at unconventional concepts.


The second wave of the pandemic paved the way for testing one such disruptive idea – “Medicine from the Sky.” Telangana, a south Indian state, approved drones for delivering vaccine and critical medicines under a pilot project in the Vikarabad district of the state. Soon other Indian states such as Karnataka followed and are drafting their drone program for medical use.

According to Dr Amaresh Rao, CTVS Surgeon, Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, “healthcare has always been threatening to bring in disruptive technology,” but that never taken off in a true sense. However, what the pandemic has done is it has put the use of technology in healthcare in accelerated mode. Dr Amaresh further adds, “if at all some disruptive technology has to smash its way through healthcare”, then this global pandemic is the right time for disruption to happen, as there is a critical need and acceptance.

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Medika Bazaar is India's largest B2B e-commerce platform providing medical supplies directly to hospitals and clinics. According to Vivek Tiwari, CEO, Medika Bazaar, his company receives "multiple calls on the helpline, requesting immediate delivery of medicines. Vivek says, "when you need" critical devices or medicines" "to be delivered to a patient today," then the delivery is required today, "because life can't wait. According to Dr Amaresh, the "centre stone of medicine has been the person-to-person interaction." Be it patient interaction with a doctor or healthcare workers or even day-to-day work, such as documenting health records, finding a bed, are all people-driven with minimal use of technology. But, the pandemic has “emphasised the need to protect the personnel by reducing the role of people and increase efficiency by incorporating technology," says Dr Amaresh. Adopting technology has its challenges, such as medico-legal cases & regulator hurdles, but there is no doubt that there is a need for disruptive technology such as medical drones "We had been ready for the last two years" with the drone technology for health care. The delay has been due to regulations and regulatory bodies, says Prem Kumar Vislawath, founder and chief innovator, Marut Drones. The pandemic has accelerated the need, so have the approvals, confirms Prem. "What we are doing is strengthening the existing healthcare systems, especially in rural India where we can create impact by saving lives," adds Prem. Medika Bazaar being an early adopter of technology, is constantly "looking for problems solvers and enablers that fit its business model." According to Vivek, his company had entered into an MoU with Zipline, an American medical product delivery startup, to explore the use of drones for delivering medicines in India. Drone services would require "dedicated infrastructures, such as take-off and landing sites," marked flight path etc., irrespective of the sector it supports. Space constraints in urban India could pose a challenge for extensive use of drones, which may not be the case in semi-urban and rural India, where a drone can prove most beneficial, according to Prem Kumar. Even today, in rural India, precious lives are lost for want of essential medicines. According to Prem, many times, medications don't reach a critical patient due to lack of delivery mechanism or transportation, and drones can bridge this gap. The medical drones have undergone upgrades, and they come in different shapes and can carry variable and temperature-controlled payloads. Marut Drones will be beginning the pilot project to deliver critical medicines from the district hospital to the primer healthcare centre in June 2021, thereby ushering in a revolution and a new adaptive mindset. Adopting "disruptive technology "requires a change of mindset and a regulative framework to operate in" apart from early adaptors and advocates. It seems time for medical drones has arrived. need, so have the approvals, confirms Prem. "What we are doing is  strengthening the existing healthcare systems, especially in rural India where we can create impact by saving lives," adds Prem. Medika Bazaar being an early adopter of technology, is constantly "looking for problems solvers and enablers that fit its business model." According to Vivek, his company had entered into an MoU with Zipline, an American medical product delivery startup, to explore the use of drones for delivering medicines in India. Drone services would require "dedicated infrastructures, such as take-off and landing sites," marked flight path etc., irrespective of the sector it supports. Space constraints in urban India could pose a challenge for extensive use of drones, which may not be the case in semi-urban and rural India, where a drone can prove most beneficial, according to Prem Kumar. Even today, in rural India, precious lives are lost for want of essential medicines. According to Prem, many times, medications don't reach a critical patient due to lack of delivery mechanism or transportation, and drones can bridge this gap. The medical drones have undergone upgrades, and they come in different shapes and can carry variable and temperature-controlled payloads.  Marut Drones will be begging the pilot project to deliver critical medicines from the district hospital to the primer healthcare centre in June 2021, thereby ushering in a revolution and a new adaptive mindset Adopting "disruptive technology "requires a change of mindset and a regulative framework to operate in" apart from early adaptors and advocates. It seems time for medical drones has arrived.