Digital Innovations in Health



  • Emphasis on health education and health services
  • The wider use of ICT in healthcare is a basic condition for the development, implementation, and further generation of innovative health care technologies.


chair: N. K. Dhamija, Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
co-chair: Anuraj Gambhir, Strategic Advisor and Innovation Evangelist, Steadworks
Moderator: Shalini Kala, Independent Consultant
Jury expert: Saleema Razvi, Health Economist


Dr. Piya Sorcar, TeachAIDS
M C Kartha, Mobile Tele – Ophthalmology Units
Dr. S. K. Thirunavukkarasu, HMIS
Rajat Kumar Agarwal, ThalCare
Amit Bhagat, Surgerica
Vikas Chauhan, HealthkartPlus
Priyamvada Singh, Commcare Asha
Stella Luk, CommCare
Megha Chadha, Medical networking Website:-IndiaHeartBeat.Com

Summit Bytes

Dr. Piya Sorcar, TeachAIDS :
Despite of putting thousands of dollars in making people aware about AIDS disease, the knowledge level still remains dangerously low. The reason for the samewas blurred. Stanford conducted its own study and found that it is difficult to even talk about HIV because it was a taboo topic for Indians. Even Sex Education was banned across multiple Indian States.Considering this, Stanford brought experts from all over the world on one platform to brainstorm about theproblem and after five years of intensive research, the University came up with interactive software through which animated characters teach about AIDS. When tested, the initiative showed highest retention and learning rate.Indian Government found the learning material comfortable and approved it in other states that banned it earlier. Technology played a great role because no teacher is required for it (as Indians were hesitant talking about the subject). The software was also segregated according to the gender with all TeachAIDS learning material available free of cost.
M C Kartha, Mobile Tele – Ophthalmology Units :
There are around 15 million blind people in India, but this is an irony that 75 percent of these diseases could have prevented if people could have access to timely medical attention. Moreover, the Osteopathic Doctors are much lesser than actually needed, especially in Rural India.
Realizing an urgent solution to this alarming situation, Mobile Tele-ophthalmology units were developed and implemented with an objective to control blindness through early detection and treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma and other eye diseases in rural area using ICT, with emergency cases being transferred to special hospitals. The “e-Nayana” technique generates the HER of the patients and transfers images of retina of eye to main hospital for specific diagnosis. Medical camps are also arranged in remote areas of Trivandrum, Kollam and Palakkad districts in Kerala once or twice a week, which has helped in prevention of blindness. With the launch of such a technique, rural patients are getting the opportunity to undergo regular ophthalmic consultation at their doorsteps, thereby saving money and time for travel to specialty hospital.
Dr. S. K. Thirunavukkarasu, HMIS :Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) is an e-health initiative envisaged by the health & Family Welfare department of Government of Tamil Nadu to provide critical health data across the health chain for quick and timely intervention by the health directorates. It is a centralized system with no need for Data Entry Operator, Doctors, Lab Technicians, nurses Etc. Presently; 6 million transactions have been recorded per day. Soon the affordable & replicable service will be available in different Government of India stores. It has been implemented so far in 267 secondary care hospitals, 1771 primary health centers, 21 medical colleges and medical university across Tamil Nadu State.
Rajat Kumar Agarwal, ThalCare :
Thalassemia is a major concern these days in India. There are 60,000 kids in India who are affected with Thalassemia; 12,000 children are born each year with Thalassemia; 90 % of them die before the age of 10 becauseIndian doctors don’t have that kind of time and bandwidth to look into the matter properly neither we have a good data so that doctor can take decision in a sensible manner. In such a scenario, ThalCare has emerged as an absolute web based solution for the Thalassemia disease. It is a smart phone application with web based access technique that takes the entire medical history, financial background, blood counts and other relevant information about the patient and generates a solution. It only takes 20 seconds after posting the data to generate a meaningful plan for the patient. This helps doctors to take accurate decision in diagnosis and treatment. ThalCare is also working towards setting Thalassemia centers across the various states and is working towards establishing a nodal telemedicine cum training center and lab.
Amit Bhagat, Surgerica :
Surgerica is a price and quality discovery platform for Health care services supported by features like online video consultation and powered by community /people who had same treatment in the same hospital. One person/patient  just needs to sign in on the portal and he can view best cardiac surgeons and reviews from patients suffering with the similar diseases , check estimate prices and take a decisions on further treatments and likeable consultants to approach to. Moreover the patient gets his/ her case analyzed in 48 hours from the doctors available in the Surgerica network hospitals. A patient/Person needs to attach his/ her Facebook and Twitter profile with the portal and whenever he will log in, a friend’s name pops up and he can chat with him directly or if no friend has used the portal before, he/she can chat with another user to get the real experience.
Vikas Chauhan, HealthkartPlus :
Usually people take prescribed medicines without even knowing its usage, its reaction, cheaper substitute, side effects etc.
and the fact is that one can save up to 70% on his/her medication bills, if he/she can choose the right alternative. HealthkartPlus is a comprehensive drug search engine to know about the salt composition of the medicines, its substitutes, drug interaction, prices and the details attached to it. Currently, the HealthkartPlus Database has knowledge of approximately 1 lakh drugs. It is free resources to which 1.5 million users have registered and 80000 android downloads are recorded. It has paved the path for Indian patients to get awareness and transparent information about the medicines, their cost effective and quality.
Priyamvada Singh, CommCare Asha :
Save the Children and India Health Action Trust joined hands and developed a Commcare mobile application for Ashas (Rural Women Workers) with a vision to reduce maternal and neonatal mortalities in Rajasthan through effective counselling and increasing awareness about pregnancy and neonatal danger signs, nutrition, iron supplementation, emergency preparedness, encouraging choice of delivering at institutions and de-constructing myths surrounding pregnancy and newborn care practices. The application contains two modules, one for monitoring the health of pregnant women and other to monitor the health of children aged 0-2 years. The project is user friendly and enables Ashas to learn in their local languages. There is a system alert option integrated in the application, which provides alerts to the learners about relevant and required information through messages.
Stella Luk, CommCare :
Dimagi uses CommCare platform for Frontline Workers with a belief that Asha is a powerful mechanism for bringing basic public health interventions into people households. The main objective of this initiative is scale up the health innovations in different states.
This platform improves access, quality, experience and accountability of Frontline Workers while scaling up the health innovation in different states.
The application enables organization and agencies to leverage the platform to design a health application according to its need. With the mobile technology usage, there is a real time data transmission for Ashas. The audios and pictures excite not only the Ashas but also the beneficiaries.
Megha Chadha, :
It is the world’s first medical networking interface built on Web 2.0 that interconnects medical practitioners, hospitals, pathology laboratories and patients on one unified platform. It is not only a search and connect platform with physicians, doctors, hospitals, centers,  but also, allows individuals to  interact and communicate via private E-mails, Messengers, Live- Chats, Blogs, and Group discussions to create and share information. The platform is growing at a meteoric pace where there are 55,243 doctors, 1,12,896 monthly visitors, 1706 hospitals, 208 diagnostic centers, 25,968 chemists, 26000 patients, 5600 allied health services, covering 1704 cities across India with a month on month growth of 10-12 percent organically.

Panel Encouragements & Recommendations

  1. Communication and connectivity through Information technologies would play an important role in dispelling disparity in health related concerns between the rich and poor, urban and rural, educated and uneducated.
  2. M-Health and E-Health is contributing towards the tele-communication transitions hugely.
  3. Players in the field of Health industry must work out a legal way in the areas of HER, PHR, and EMR.
  4. Various norms mentioned in the Ministry of Family Health & Welfare should be taken into consideration for proper operations of the software and technology.
  5. Government of India has also initiated to set up a National Knowledge Network in educational institution all over the country with an aim to provide 100mbps+ speed to all medical institutions in the country through the National Optical Fiber network going up to every village. Ministry will leverage this to establish medical college network, and connected them together for web streaming of live surgeries and Tele-education. Under NOFN, Ministry shall also leverage all Tele-medicine activities and mobile health.
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