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Atmanirbhar Bharat: How healthtech startups can help Modi govt scale Covid vaccination drive across India

Anthill Partner, Devang Mehta’s views on how Healthtech startups have a seminal opportunity in aiding and facilitating the vaccination drive in India.

Covid clearly has dramatically impacted, in a largely negative way, economic activity across India. We have seen literally every sector (including Healthcare, where I am actively involved with startups) get blindsided by the sudden and ravaging impacts of the pandemic. However, true to the saying, every cloud has a silver lining, and in every crisis lies an opportunity. Healthtech startups have a seminal opportunity in aiding and facilitating the vaccination drive in India. Plenty of opportunities will be in healthcare IT, logistics, connecting various datasets, social networks for trusted information sharing, and in areas related to these.

IT systems (and accompanying apps) will play a central role in creating and maintaining information related to vaccinations: enlisting and enumerating people for vaccination, keeping track of the progression of dose intake during the process, as well as using national IDs like PAN and Aadhar to uniquely identify individuals and their participation drive. This, firstly, will ensure, that priority doses are delivered to the most vulnerable and critical sections of the population. Second, combined with mapping applications (and the policies around these have been greatly liberalized as I write this piece), startups will ensure that a coordinated vaccination campaign will harmonize the needs of herd immunity with geospatial data; and will further, through the use of data interfaces and connectors, will synchronize with information on people with co-morbid conditions and other data pertinent to assessing the risk to Covid.

IT could play a very important role in ensuring the genuineness of vaccines and quickly detecting and flagging counterfeit. This could easily span the entire gamut of the security apparatus: detecting counterfeits, preventing their use in patients, helping track the source of aberrant activity, and using social media as well as traditional news sources to alert the larger population to the dangers posed by fraudulent doses.

Startups can also play a central role in fine-tuning the logistics inherent in the seamless delivery of vaccinations across the country. The logistics space in India has undergone tremendous innovation on account of businesses widely adopting deep technology tools to address transport challenges. A much-quoted Economic Survey predicts this logistics space to grow to a staggering $215 Billion by 2020. The IP and best practices built as a result of the growth in this space can easily be leveraged to ensure seamless and efficient delivery of vaccinations to every nook and corner of India in a timely manner. Layers of AI/ML could predict when vaccines would run out of a certain center, city, or state and reinforcements could be ordered in a timely fashion.

Startups can, and most likely will, help engender a lot of social and information sharing activity as the vaccination drive begins in full gusto.

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Find out more at financialexpress.com.

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Health-Tech as an Opportunity for Start-ups

Devang Mehta, Partner, Anthill Ventures, gives his insights on the tremendous and constantly evolving potential of Health-tech and how it is emerging as an exciting opportunity for Start-ups

Covid has evangelised the collective mind-set of the masses towards healthier living. This mind-set includes continuously building immunity, improving sanitation, pre-empting disease, and generally, ensuring a perennially healthy lifestyle. The healthcare industry has proven to be one of the key drivers contributing to the growth of the country and is further estimated to become one of India’s most successful industries with respect to revenue generation and employment rate.

Consequently, a lot of downstream activity and thinking emerges regular check-ups, holistic wellness approaches (specifically at the intersection of Yoga, Ayurveda, and modern health), ubiquitous availability of personalised health information on health vitals to doctors and loved ones, natural availability of remote health, contactless living and more.

This milieu translates into a socio-economic environment where the broad populations will want to be screened and alerted to the presence of chronic diseases (or virtually ailment) as part of regular check-ups. They will want to be presented with an array of personalized treatment options in synch with unique individual characteristic and lifestyles. There will be constant pressure to make tests minimally invasive, frictionless, and breezy- as an example, personalised screening for cancer and specific cancers through newer biomarkers like sputum, and breath. There will be a constant demand for results and pointers to remedial action to be continually available on mobile devices. For customised neutraceuticals diets to support the recovery process and prevent remission. The progression in technology and the growth of forever-aware IoT devices has been a great help to relay information to doctors at any and every given point, 24×7 and quickly catch the disease’s onset and remission.

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Find out more at entrepreneur.com.

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Anthill Ventures and HCG partner up to start Healthcare accelerator, Lumos

In a conversation with YourStory, Devang Mehta, Partner, Anthill Ventures; and Anjali Ajaikumar, VP Strategy and Quality, HCG; spoke about healthcare accelerator Lumos.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we view healthcare. Telemedicine, where doctors consult patients remotely by means of telecommunications technology, has seen unprecedented growth during the pandemic. According to media reports, the doctor-patient ratio in India is one per 1,457 Indian citizens; while in rural areas alone, the ratio is as low as one doctor per 25,000 citizens. But telemedicine has brought in the much-needed access. According to IBEF, the demand for online healthcare market is expected to be around $372 billion by 2022. The market size was around $160 billion last year.  To help startups with technical and business advisory in the healthcare segment, VC firm Anthill Ventures joined hands with Healthcare Global Enterprises (HCG), one of the largest oncology chains in India, to start Lumos Health in November 2020. Lumos is a India/Singapore-based healthcare accelerator providing advisory to early-stage companies in the healthcare industry and propel them to newer growth trajectories. Its main focus is on oncology and adjacencies.  In a conversation with YourStory, Devang Mehta, Partner at Anthill Ventures, and Anjali Ajaikumar, VP Strategy and Quality, HCG, spoke about the core vision and the plans of the accelerator. As the founding member, Devang is involved in all key strategic and operational aspects of Lumos Health. He comes with over 20 years of operational experience in early- and mid-stage companies in the US, and has been instrumental in scaling multiple early stage healthtech startups.  Having learned the ropes of the workings of a hospital right from scratch, Anjali heads strategic growth planning and quality implementation for the entire HCG network. Anjali spearheaded Lumos Health at HCG by creating processes that ease the startup journey and help startups scale with speed through mentoring, revenue growth, etc. 

YourStory (YS): Why did you feel there was a need for an incubator and what gap does it solve?

Anjali Ajaikumar (AA): Startups need varied and comprehensive advisory services, in addition to capital, to hit notable growth strides in early stages of evolution. Lumos provides powerful, comprehensive, eclectic and timely interventions to enable startups to achieve rapid growth. Sign up for our exclusive newsletters. Subscribe to check out our popular newsletters. For startups from overseas, this accelerator assists in India markets entry, go-to-market entry and connections to the local industry to facilitate easy expansion.

YS: What is the key vision of Lumos?

DM: We intend to give startups all the tools and support needed to achieve business goals – profitability, future rounds of funding, getting noticed by bigger players for M&A, and so on.  We also want to be regarded as the premier healthcare accelerator in India for startups that are defining the frontiers of next-gen innovation.

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Find out more at yourstory.com.

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Kronikare joins Covid battle with powerful iThermo device

The government’s healthtech agency worked with a local startup to adapt a commercial wound-scanning device, as the city stepped up measures against COVID-19.

Singapore has launched an AI tool to automate temperature screenings, developed by its healthtech agency IHiS and a local startup called Kronikare.

“IHiS and Kronikare co-created the iThermo solution in two weeks. It is being piloted now and the results are encouraging,” said Bruce Liang, CEO of IHiS.

It launched this week, as Singapore saw snaking queues for temperature screenings to enter office buildings. The government has asked businesses and building managers to step up measures, after it raised the COVID-19 infection alert to the second highest level last Friday. The total number of confirmed cases in Singapore stands at 58, with no deaths registered.

The device offers a quicker and safer alternative to manual forehead thermometers, currently the most popular option. It scans people’s temperature as they walk by and alerts staff to those with higher temperatures. Visitors wouldn’t have to stop to be measured. It’s also safer for frontline staff as they are less likely to come in contact with people with undetected infections, and needs one or two people to operate.

iThermo has been used at IHiS’ office and St. Andrew’s Community Hospital to scan visitors and staff since early this week. It’s now commercially available as a pilot device for S$1,000 per month and has been certified as a Class A medical device by the Health Sciences Authority on 3 February.

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Find out more here.