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Tech proficiency to propel innovation in drug discovery and patient care in 2022: Experts

Indian pharma and healthcare providers have seen that competence in technology knowhow has been a key differentiator in 2021 and its acceleration will propel innovation in drug discovery and patient care in 2022.

Technology has been a game changer for Indian pharma. Deployment of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented reality-virtual reality (AR-VR), internet of things, blockchain and 3D printers are among the innovations to improve the drug development success rate and streamline R&D efforts.

According to Simon Gallagher, (Interim) general manager India, Takeda, the pandemic has certainly pushed and showcased how the industry has adopted under pressure towards digital transformation.

Data scientists are constantly utilising data analytics to increase diagnosis accuracy, efficiency in illness prediction, and create visible changes to present healthcare systems. While big data and predictive analytics continue to evolve and expand, the impact on the different verticals of the pharmaceutical industry like manufacturing, drug discovery, and clinical trials will continue to provide significant room for innovation, he added.

Digital-engagement technologies will continue to bring an entirely new realm for marketing, clinical trial recruiting, and information sharing. Patients, physicians, and caregivers will be connected to pharmaceutical sales reps, medical-science liaisons, and patient-service teams via social media platforms. The coming years shall see the industry deploying digital capabilities to fulfill the unmet medical needs of the country and deliver quality care, said Gallagher.

Noting that many healthcare entities witnessed a rapid development in technology, Karthik Rajagopal, COO, Manipal Hospitals said the government nod for video and audio consultations for healthcare, brought in the much needed convenience to access doctors.

There was a rise in digital consultations to ensure patients’ safety and to steer clear of overcrowding within medical facilities. Technology implementation increased through tele-ICUs, ambulances equipped with remote monitoring systems, remote consultations and virtual OPDs along with a billing system enabled payment from any part of the world, added Rajagopal.

Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth , a unit of Apollo Hospitals Group, said Covid pandemic resulted in massive disruptions. The slow adaptation of digital tech in gained momentum during the pandemic. Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring allowed hospitals to virtually manage patients, predict and prevent illnesses, and improve clinical outcomes. There is an 80 per cent increase in digital healthcare services where technologies like extended reality, cloud systems, big data, and AI are taking the center stage to enhance user-experience and increase process efficiency.

Going forward, digital health applications & therapeutics, personal health wearables, AI, NLP (neural language processing), robotics process automation in clinical prediction, operational transformation and compliance improvement will further drive the future of healthcare, added Thaploo.

Amol Naikawadi, joint managing director, Indus Health Plus said that with increasing demand and technological advancements, there is tremendous growth in investment opportunities in India’s healthcare industry, medical devices, testing & screenings and pharmaceuticals. Genetic screening is also gaining momentum which will enhance the understanding on predisposition of various illnesses and have the ability to recommend precise medication.

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