In my previous blog, I wrote about what Watson Health and Nasscom had imagined our Public Health and Human Services conclave aka “Salubrity” will achieve. Through this blog, I wanted to update you on if we were successful.
Finally the day was here – September 19th. The stage was set for the first edition of “Salubrity” – a conclave staged with the motto of re-imagining public health and human services in India with Information technology
“Salubrity” was all that we imagined it will be.
Gaurav Sharma, VP, India Software Lab, IBM, kicked off things with a welcome note. He urged all the stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem (Developers, MNCs, GICs, Startups, Governments etc) to come together to make a healthier India.
I followed up Gaurav’s welcome note with an opening address that aimed at setting the context for the day. I did that by outlining the opportunities and challenges that exist for companies such as ours to use IT to help implement governmental programs in India. Opportunities such as a robust economy, longer life spans etc which fuel the need for better care while challenges such as diversity, lack of funding, population etc which force us to do more with less to meet the demand for better care.
R Chandrasekhar, President, Nasscom, delivered the first key note of the day. He enunciated the various governmental measure/policies that are currently afoot to bring about transformation in Public Health through technology – measures such as creation of an eHealth Regulator (NeHA), how the digital India stack can be leveraged by tech companies to provide innovation at scale etc.
While delivering the next key note, Manjula V, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Karnataka, provided the state level implementation details of the central policies alluded to in the previous keynote. She also called upon companies such as IBM to work with the Government to help healthcare reach all parts of the state.
After Mrs. Manjula, Ravi Gururaj, CEO, QikPod and a mentor to many startups in the country, spoke about how important frugal innovation is in healthcare, about how innovation which betters supposedly minor aspects of healthcare is also equally important as some other major breakthroughs.
Dave Liederbach then delivered the IBM Keynote of the day. His speech was focused on how cognitive technologies can be used to democratize healthcare. He also mentioned something of paramount importance – about how no company can dictate how Cognitive tech should shape the solutions for tomorrow. Instead it must be a collaborative effort between everyone to lay down the guiding principles for building cognitive solutions for the betterment of humanity, and IBM is taking the lead in engaging all the stakeholders.
Post lunch – to overcome the slumber, we began with an innovation showcase in which selected public health start ups (MedOnGo, iKure, Kushi Baby) showed their innovations which are solving last mile issues which exist while delivering quality care in India.
The next item and the last one for the day was a panel discussion where some of the industry heavy weights spoke about how India is rightly placed (no baggage, great talent, suitable governmental attitude etc) to build healthcare systems of tomorrow and about how these systems can be taken to the world.
So, at the end of an eventful day, did we achieve what we set out to? I would say humbly, yes:
- We received tremendous social amplification around our messaging for Public Health and Human Services in India.
- Our understanding that we need to innovate specifically for the Indian market got doubly reinforced.
- In the day and age of composed applications, no company can ever solve India’s Public Health and Human services challenges alone. The industry connects that were established through “Salubrity” are only going to help us when we set out to create partnerships – partnerships between SIs, GICs, Startups, Governments et al. Partnerships which will ensure that we are feeding off each other, aren’t reinventing the wheel but are just making the wheel better so that it can navigate the complexities of this age.
If I have managed to pique your curiosity with this blog or if you have an idea which you think will add to the public health discourse that we are building, then please leave a comment or get in touch with me. I also hope to see you in the next edition of “Salubrity”.
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