#DIGITALHEALTH

Covid-19: How can it benefit India? by Saif Razvi, Sai Praveen Haranath, Vikram Ramakrishnan

The article was first published on the COVID-19 the India Story, and has been re-published here with the authors permission

The costs of the Covid-19 pandemic are well documented. The costs of the responses to the pandemic are yet to fully play out and could be equally devastating. 

Lockdowns have varied nation to nation in intensity depending on the breadth of economy that was shut down. There have been millions more job losses than deaths to date. School and university disruptions, restriction of travel, unsettling of migrant labour, interrupted food and transport chains have all added to the burden. People have suffered other physical ill-health due to healthcare systems being focused solely on Covid-19. For example, delays in cancer diagnosis and heart disease may have led to otherwise preventable deaths.1 

Why #DigitalHealth will become the new normal by Sujeet Katiyar, @sujeetkatiyar

During COVID-19 pandemic, terms like telehealth, telemedicine, remote-patient monitoring, virtual care and digital health are thrown around very commonly, though these terms have been around for years, but the recent situation is accelerating patient awareness and physician adoption of these technologies.

Covid-19 – Healthcare Systems’ breaking point or tipping point? By Ambarish Giliyar, @iAmGiliyar

Healthcare systems world over are over-whelmed and struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. The deluge of infected patients and suspects are stretching the healthcare ecosystem beyond their capacity. Telehealth & Virtual Care tools are being introduced to health systems to increase access and remote-screen people. This and more is happening in addition to the Consumerization demands that has been lurking for some time now.

Digital Health In India – Legal, Regulatory and Tax Overview by Nishith Desai Associates, @AntaniMilind et al

The current legal and regulatory landscape that governs Digital Health is scattered and ambiguous. To make matters worse, there is none or very little legal scholarship in the area of Digital Health in India. The scope of Digital Health is vast and covers various business models, which inherently makes it difficult to regulate as a whole.

This paper seeks to knit together existing laws and regulations into what may be called an “ad-hoc” legal framework for Digital Health in India. It is being written for those who are already invested in Digital Health as workforce or capital contributors as well as those who are still testing the waters. Since this is a research paper, it also seeks to raise questions and takes positions which are yet to be tested with the hope that it would set the tone for legal discussions in larger platforms

An Excerpt from the document

Aarogya Setu – What more could this bridge connect? by Dr. Senthil, @drsenthilp & Jai Ganesh

Is the Novel Corona Virus here to stay? The opinion is different among the experts! In the absence of a vaccine to prevent or medicine to cure, how effective are the lockdown and social distancing going to be in flattening the curve? While the world waits for answers, COVID19 has become one of the biggest mystery humankind has encountered in recent time. Lives of more than half of the world’s population have suddenly become uncertain.

Aarogya Setu, India’s flagship COVID app has become the most downloaded contact tracing app in the world. Should an app with such a tremendous reach be limited in terms of its utility only for the current crisis – the COVID? Or, do we extend its use for an e-healthy connect with citizens?

How a little virus has made a big change in Healthcare by Dr. Sunita Maheshwari

Post Covid: What will change in healthcare: Tele tele everywhere

When we started Teleradiology Solutions over a decade and a half ago, it was unheard of. The concept was new, untested. Radiologists were raw, untrained, unused to this new way of reporting diagnostic scans which was very different than being in person in a hospital. Bandwidth was expensive, unreliable and weak. However, pre covid-it had become a well oiled global teleradiology healthcare practice with smooth and robust IT enabled, radspa enabled workflows.  And Radiologists typically worked part or full time from home as per their personal preference. So when the 4 hour notice lockdown hit India, we could keep working-from homes in India, from homes in America, from homes globally. Suddenly, everyone realised the potential benefits of what we had been doing for what seems like forever!

Digital Health Tech Trends That Will Become Mainstream In 2020 by Madhavi Kanumoory

Before we talk about digital health tech trends, let’s look at what’s happening around us

From a consumer perspective:

  • About 65+% of the population uses mobile phones today, >50% of which are smart phone users and this # is only going to grow exponentially
  • Consumers “expect” information at their fingertips when they want it, where they want it and how they want it
  • Health awareness and focus – consumers today are empowered with abundance of information and there’s a much higher level of health awareness and focus on “well being”
  • People generally want to be healthy and have a fulfilling life rather than spend time in hospitals. A relevant paradigm shift is the fact that the hospitality industry has grown significantly with focus on wellness and luxury
  • There’s a huge shift in lifestyle – it’s about time optimization and how every minute of the day is spent. Underlying this shift is the way people are keeping themselves fit and healthy to enable the lifestyle that they wish for and this is happening by proactively monitoring their vitals, behaviours, exercise routines, eating habits, etc.

Innovative solutions for India to manage critically ill #COVID-19 patients, a five point agenda by Dhruv Joshi and Dileep Raman, @cloudphysician

Dhruv Joshi, Dileep Raman, Cloudphysician

The reality of the Indian healthcare system

The current onslaught of COVID-19 has brought to the fore numerous issues that healthcare systems face worldwide. India, with its COVID-19 case load trailing China, Europe and the US by a few weeks, is almost certain to encounter its healthcare system’s limitations in the coming weeks to months. Many countries today have witnessed a geometric rise in the number of cases of the virus owing to its infectiousness and unique transmission characteristics. Barring unknown climatic effects or significant mutations in the virus, it is likely to follow a similar course in the Indian population. The similarities unfortunately end here. 

Is India ready to face the #COVID19 Pandemic? by Jeyseelan Jayaraj, @jeyaseelanj

Jeyseelan Jeyaraj

India’s population is 1.3 billion as of 2020 based on the population forecast (1). India is home to 18% of the world population. As per the Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Disease Dynamics (EPI Model), at least 40% of the people are likely to be infected in the US. As per Prof. Lipsitch (2) a well-known Epidemiologist of Harvard school of public health, “40% to 70% of people worldwide are likely to be infected by COVID-19 in the coming year”.

Indian Healthcare Organisations and #HealthTech Startups Response to COVID19 [Live Updates]

Live Updates

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list, it’s being updated as and when we are coming across updates from various organisations. The list will be continuously updated. Rest assured there are many more Innovators working to provide solutions and services to Indians. We want to thank people working in healthcare organisations and others providing care and solutions during these testing times 🙏

MoHFW, GOI & WHO:

  • WHO:
    • 1. WHO COVID Alerts on Whatsapp: link
    • 2. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Dashboard: link
  • MOHFW, GOI / State Governments:
    1. Please call the 24×7 toll free National Helpline number 1075 for support, guidance, and response to health related queries on #COVID19.
    2. MoHFW, GoI Website, link
    3. MYGOV Corona Helpdesk Whatsapp Number: +91 9013151515, in partnership with Haptik
    4. Government of Goa in partnership with INNOVACCER Inc has launched a self check tool for COVID19 : https://covid-india.innovaccer.com/#/
    5. ICMR Website, link
    6. Government of Punjab COVA App, link
    7. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI issued a document dated, March 2020, “BOARD OF GOVERNORS In supersession of the Medical Council of India” – Telemedicine Practice Guidelines: Enabling Registered Medical Practitioners to Provide Healthcare Using Telemedicine

Consumer-centric digital platform for integrated health care services by Ambarish Giliyar, @iAmGiliyar

…an approach for 2020 and beyond!

Healthcare Consumers’ biggest pain point today has been the difficulty in navigating the fragmented ecosystem! This fragmented ecosystem is leading to impersonal communication & transactions and complicated & time-consuming affair. Due to the increasingly personalized and convenient experiences with other sectors, Consumers have high expectations when it comes to the services they’re receiving from the healthcare industry, according to a new global survey from Salesforce Research.

The future of healthcare and medicine by Dr. Rohit Sharma, @Zinitheai

There is no denying the fact that healthcare costs very high. We all are just 1-2 Serious illnesses away from getting totally bankrupt and losing all your savings if luck goes bad and there is no insurance to cover it. Even if there is no financial constraint, getting access to a human physician and getting to satisfactory quality time with them is next to impossible for billions.

Healthcare, DOXIVA and #HIMSS20 By Tejas Deshmukh, @tejasvdeshmukh

Tejas Deshmukh Blog

Healthcare in the world’s most developed country US, someone asked me is it cost-effective? You know the answer, no, it’s one of the most expensive commodity in the US. US ranks 1st when it comes to per patient spending, yet the World Health Report 2000, Health Systems: Improving Performance, ranked US health care system 37th in the world when gauged on the parameter of patient outcomes. This rising healthcare costs with poor patient outcomes proves the theory that “more money does not guarantee better health.”

Caveats for #DigitalHealth by Bharat Gera, @bgera

Bharat Gera

Everyone from Marc Andreessen to the angel next door is talking about the disruptive forces of digital technology knocking the doors of healthcare industry. Nothing is more appealing than a cure for cancer or at least a possible early diagnosis. Potential for solving the resource crunch by replacing doctors with AI appears to be on the horizon.

Nursing professionals in Health IT- A Dream to Dream by Medha Verma

Medha Verma Blog

If you are in healthcare, you must have come across this group of professionals here and there. Well, everywhere! Nurses often are bridging professionals in healthcare hence they were one of the few professionals who were impacted the most with the introduction of HIT in India and across the globe. 

About the program, Research methods in innovation processes for #digitalhealth technology by Bipinkumar G Rathod, @bipin4uk

The Trans Atlantic telehealth research Network and Centre for Innovative Medical Technology at Odense University Hospital have organised a 5 days PhD Course, the subject is research methods in innovation processes for Digital health Technology. Other participating organisations are Aalborg University Denmark, CITRIS and the BANATAO Institute, the University of California and University of Southern Denmark.

A roadmap for Academia and Industry Collaboration in Digital Health by Bipinkumar G Rathod, @bipin4uk

Digital health Technology adoption in India is gaining momentum. Many digital health entrepreneurs are providing solutions for hospitals and patients. With India becoming more connected, by becoming one of the largest markets in terms of the mobile phone and broadband densities in the world, many Innovative solutions and Technology ecosystems are being developed for Digital Health interventions.

India’s Health Leapfrog – Towards A Holistic Healthcare Ecosystem Part 1 by Anukriti Chaudhari @AnukritiChaudh2 – @Product_Nation

The leapfrog we envision is that of public, precision healthcare. This means that not only would every citizen have access to affordable healthcare, but the care delivered would be holistic (as opposed to symptomatic) and preventive (and not just curative) in nature.

#RPA in Healthcare: The Path Ahead for Health IT Leaders By Sreejith Madhavan


Historically, healthcare industry has shown a reluctance to invest in technologies that did not come under the purview of diagnostics and treatment, or demanded by insurance payors (such as electronic claims submission). Anything that required cognitive (human) intervention or intuition was kept aside from the technological takeover. The unprecedented growth of life expectancy, the discovery of new drugs and treatments, and the ability of modern medicine to combat chronic ailments and epidemics have spurred the need for technological inclusion in multiple areas of healthcare.

As patients become more digital savvy, caregivers are increasingly implementing technology solutions that enable both parties to perform several activities online such as accessing personal medical information to online scheduling of appointments. Today, healthcare industry is looking at those technologies or combinations of technologies that can optimize their front, middle and back-office operations so that care givers get adequate time to spend on priority tasks.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the key technologies that has gone mainstream in many industries including healthcare. Why health IT leaders should continue to turn their pivot towards RPA? We’re exploring the reasons through this post.

RPA in Healthcare: Common Applications and Benefits

Robotic Process Automation or RPA automates processes that are repetitive and transactional, primarily by imitating human behavior for rule-based tasks.  RPA enables caregivers to focus on high-value activities by enhancing overall administration of healthcare processesIt executes routine tasks at a fraction of time than that’s taken by a human, eliminating the risk of human errors. The scope of RPA in the administrative and clinical functions of healthcare is very vast. 

Technologies such as cloud computing and data virtualization have enabled scalable deployment of RPA software across various units and geographic locations of a healthcare organization. So far, healthcare administrators have leveraged RPA in several areas of their back, middle and front-office operations; few of which are mentioned in the table below:  

Healthcare
Areas of RPA implementation
Benefits to healthcare providers
Back Office

  • Human resource management
  • Finance and supply chain management
  • Streamline onboarding process to improve efficiency
  • Clinicians can impart care without interruption caused by administrative functions
  • Human resource management
  • Ensure new clinical staff gains access to systems and facilities from day 1
Middle Office

  • Revenue cycle management
  • Claim submission and reconciliation
  • Patient scheduling
  • Accelerate revenue cycle by automating coverage eligibility verification process, claims posting, and claim resubmission
  • Insurance data management
Front Office

(relatively untapped by RPA)

  • Care delivery setting
  • Health data utilization and report generation
  • Integration of disparate care management systems to assimilate date efficiently
  • Ensure clinicians spend more time for patient care by minimizing their administrative work
  • Enhance case management


Most of the present day healthcare organizations are using RPA for automating rules-driven and repetitive back office work. The potential RPA can offer healthcare in unison with advanced technologies such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) is tremendous. It’s no surprise if we consider Robotic Process Automation a stepping stone to integrating these sophisticated cognitive technologies into healthcare.

What needs to be automated in healthcare?

Here’re a few potential use cases: 

1 Connecting and automating disparate health monitoring devices: The case of neonatal ICU:

A 2017 Business Insider post talks about the need to automate oxygen supply to patients hospitalized with pulmonary hypertension. Currently, the system only alerts the staff (nurse) through a monitor beep when the blood oxygen level of the patient drops and the staff has to attend the case. If the nurse is attending other patients and misses out the alert, the chance for a mishap is more. The article from Thomas Hooven, a Neonatologist in the U.S. suggests how automation of oxygen inflow at the moment of crisis could save patients with chronic pulmonary hypertension.

2 Compliance monitoring and analysis:

Imagine a hospital that processes thousands of claims daily and attends the need of a large number of insurance beneficiaries. RPA can be used to gather and consolidate data from multiple disparate sources or systems that improves the efficiency of regulatory, non-financial, and risk reporting. Automation of compliance monitoring analytics eliminates time-consuming activities involved in the collection, compilation, cleansing and summarization of large amounts of information. Security of medical data and records is a major concern for any healthcare organization. Robotic Process Automation helps protect patient privacy and achieve compliance with HIPAA and other mandatory health regulations by generating custom reports and detailed audit logs.

3 IoT analytics to empower process automation

The goal of any IoT deployment should not be limited to collecting data from multiple sources (devices). It must ensure that the data is actionable in real-time, to support relevant processes. Process automation is recognized as the common endeavor to improve operational efficiency by lowering costs, increasing profits and improving customer satisfaction. Integrating IoT into process automation could deliver greater value across product lines. For instance, consider the claims settlement process in healthcare that is deeply influenced by the data being collected from several devices. During the claims settlement process, if the system could take into account the details of the data aggregated by IoT devices such as lowering a premium based on usage behavior, or a difference in user-provided information, that could lead to process optimization and faster decision-making. IoT analytics in healthcare can avoid the cost of admissions by automating prescriptions, reduce medical error in treatment and improve quality of patient services.

Leveraging RPA with exponential technologies

RPA is just one of the growing technologies that can empower healthcare organizations. Once RPA is integrated successfully into their core business strategies, hospitals should consider incorporating the advanced spectrum of cognitive technologies such as AI and machine learning. Unlike RPA, artificial intelligence has the ability to identify patterns in data. Similarly, machine learning adds more meaning and power to process automation by enabling healthcare organizations to identify payment variance and remediate complex payment methodologies.

The future healthcare environment could look very different from what we see today. Technologies like Robotic Process Automation will have a greater say on employee productivity. Automating routine tasks such as collecting blood samples could help the job of a nurse, reduce task time and eliminate manual errors, while improving the patient experience. As organizations progress from depending on manual tasks to applying RPA and cognitive computing, the workforce also shifts from being “doers” to “reviewers.” Health IT leaders and providers, hence should focus on developing proactive, winning strategies to attain long-term financial sustainability and improved patient experience.

Author
Sreejith Madhavan

Sreejith Madhavan is the Chief Operating Officer of Zerone Consulting Pvt. Ltd., a custom software development company with an exceptional track record of successfully completing over 500 challenging projects for 140 plus satisfied customers globally. Sreejith’s experience includes a demonstrated history of working in the outsourcing/offshoring industry, managing and mentoring multiple teams in the web and mobile development arena
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