Public Health Uncategorized

Privacy Concerns with the Aarogya Setu Application for Covid19

Just this week, we recorded the second episode for the India Health Talk, with Dr Sumeet Kad. During the recording we ended up discussing the privacy concerns around Aarogya Setu, the contact tracing application launched by the Government of India to track Covid19 cases in the country. Aarognya Setu today has more than 10 Crore downloads and is the largest contact tracing application in the world. How do we balance the privacy concerns with managing a pandemic like Covid19? Alo what can we learn about other applications across the world in this space?

While I understand the concerns, in my opinion, during a pandemic we may need to give up some control over our data and privacy for the greater good of society. Pandemic is a national emergency and Covid19 is probably the worst example of it. But using privacy to derail the efforts to combat Covid19 is not a good idea. In the long run this may be our downfall.

Below is the full recording of the episode. Do let me know your thoughts as well.

Healthcare Technology

Why is there no AI in Healthcare India?

Just a few days ago I was on a webinar on Healthcare. The topic was the use of AI in Healthcare and the implications of Ethics in the same.

While all panelists spoke eloquently about the topic, I was trying to recall where have I seen AI in action in India. Unable to find too many instances, I spoke to my good friend and the editor of the New Age Healthcare Website Dr Sumeet Kad. Below is a recording of our interesting conversation.


Telemedicine services critical to the wellness of senior citizens in India

On my 43rd birthday, I received an unexpected gift with the Medical Council of India along with Niti Aayog released the guidelines for the use of Telemedicine in India.

It was ironic as MCI and other state associations have been fighting a battle to stop teleconsultations and putting regulations around it. But the coming of Covid19 has changed all that.

Today after a long time we have a spurt in telemedicine providers in India. Industry experts like Bharat Gera former CIO of St Johns Hospital, are working with bodies like Telemedicine Society of India to put in a process to benchmark the functionality of these providers.

In the long run, I see this as a very positive move for senior citizens. These individuals fight it difficult to access healthcare. Especially as they have chronic conditions that need management, right from transportation, to long hours in the waiting room.

To discuss this and other associated topics, I got together with industry experts like Ravi Ramaswamy from Philips to discuss the impact telemedicine would have on seniors. We were joined by Dr Neeraj Bhalla and Dr Vallikiran to discuss the impact on areas like Cardiology and Psychiatry respectively.

The recording of the session is below.

I believe that Telemedicine is a boon to seniors. There would be a learning curve with respect to getting used to the platform, training to caregivers, and then managing concerns like security. But I think Telemedicine is here to stay.

Healthcare Technology

Healthcare India among the top 100 Health Tech Websites in the World

Healthcare India has been again listed in the top 100 Health Tech Websites and Influencers for 2020. It has been a great comeback for us considering only a couple of months ago the site was hacked. The hacker not only added himself as admin but also created 1 lakh junk pages and google had blacklisted the site.

Due to the efforts of Ganesh Acharya our Chief Media Officer we were able to come back, and back into the top 100.

Healthcare India as a forum was created to address the lack of access, poor quality, and improved outcomes for millions of Indians. We believe this is possible only through technology and better processes. This new recognitiion helps us to strive harder to improve healthcare in India.

Also a shout out to our friends from HCIT and New Age Healthcare for being listed in the top 100 as well. Making India proud.

Below is the list of the top 100 Websites and influencers.


Enlist yourself as a Telemedicine Solution Provider

Last month the Medical Council of India along with Niti Aayog had released the guidelines on telemedicine in India. The move which was almost 7 years plus incoming has created a new paradigm in the delivery of remote patient care.

While many technology solution providers have started offering this as a platform, the Telemedicine Society of India has started a program to register all platform providers for Telemedicine.

The best way to do so is to register in this google forms document. Link is provided here.

Bharat Gera, EX CIO St Johns Hospital Bangalore has been leading this study and evaluation. According to the study the main objective is

“Purpose of the study is to put together a repository of telemedicine solution providers and evaluate their suitability for healthcare providers in India aligned with TPG and NDHB”

The categories are

TELE-CONSULTATION-needed immediately to avoid patients visiting OPD during Covid19 and avoid exposure to infection amongst healthcare workers as well as between patients. These can be doctor-to-patient, doctor-to-caregiver, doctor-to-doctor, and doctor-to-paramedic etc.

HOSPITAL to minimize exposure of healthcare workers to Covid19 cases and optimize the usage of experienced staff.

as patients are unable to leave their homes, many chronic patients will require remote monitoring of their condition by a clinical team and as far as possible care at home.

NETWORKS services such as teleradiology, telecardiology, telepathology, telepsychiatry, etc. that enable remote diagnostics and therapeutic support and interventions like these will improve the capacity to handle load of patients and access to specialized clinicians.

Telemedicine is a key component of the India Healthcare story, it remains to be seen how this would grow and fill the big need for care especially in rural parts of the country.


Telemedicine Registry and Evaluation in India, April 2020 by Bharat Gera