This expert says that it’s important to speed up elective care in healthcare and at the same time get through the backlog of essential care cases that have piled up during the Covid affliction.
COVID-19 has put the MedTech industry at centre stage with unparalleled rise in demand for diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other critical medical supplies.
In addition to the extraordinary measures underway to rapidly ramp up manufacturing capacity and capabilities, MedTech leaders are also looking outside their normal sector boundaries to explore creative solutions to further supplement capacity, such as partnerships with companies outside the sector, open-source equipment design, and deployment of medically trained employees to support public health needs.
What are the biggest challenges in MedTech in India at the moment? Is it heightened demand for procedures, lack of critical medical equipment, manufacturing delays, or supply chain problems? How can technology help in dealing with these challenges?
To get answers, The Tech Panda spoke to Siraj Dhanani, CEO and Founder of InnAccel Technologies, a medical technology innovation company that directly address problems faced by Indian and emerging market consumers and healthcare systems.
Today, we are fortunate that the demand for essential care (for Covid) has tempered, allowing elective procedures to ramp up. This should continue and expand
According to him, one of the biggest MedTech challenge in India is the affect of the dramatic drop in elective medical procedures, many of which are being postponed or cancelled so that hospitals can focus resources on treating COVID-19 patients.
“Today, we are fortunate that the demand for essential care (for Covid) has tempered, allowing elective procedures to ramp up. This should continue and expand, as there is a large backlog of elective procedures that people avoided during the Covid years, which should be conducted soon to prevent longer-term complications in these patients,” says Dhanani.
He also thinks that the clinical teams should begin planning for a potentially heterogeneous recovery, and they must do this effectively.
“Clinical teams have shown incredible flexibility and dedication in dealing with the new, and often heterogeneous requirements that the Covid pandemic brought to the fore. This flexibility needs to continue as the healthcare system we will see in the future will be fundamentally different from the one we have seen in the past, and clinical teams will need to be nimble and flexible to deal with the challenges this throws up,” he says.
He also reveals that though hard data is difficult to come by anecdotal evidence does point to a resurgence in demand for all kinds of procedures, elective and essential.
When global supply chains were disrupted, and India faced a major crisis due to the lack of critical medical equipment and long delivery times. We lost thousands of lives, that could have been potentially saved with timely access to devices and treatment
MedTech crisis teams are focused on immediate crisis response, which includes keeping employees safe, ensuring business continuity, and dealing with the rapid changes in the healthcare ecosystem and the macroenvironment.
According to him, another big MedTech challenge in India is the high reliance on imported medical devices.
“India imports >80% of all its medical devices, which are usually designed for high resource intensive infrastructure available in the West, which often limits their adoption in India and India-like countries,” he says.
“This was further amplified during COVID, when global supply chains were disrupted, and India faced a major crisis due to the lack of critical medical equipment and long delivery times. We lost thousands of lives, that could have been potentially saved with timely access to devices and treatment,” he concludes.