Nitin Gera, Airo Digital Labs, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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Today the focus in on devices associated with preventive healthcare: Nitin Gera, Airo Digital LabsShahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Nitin Gera, Co-founder and global operations head, Airo Digital Labs, to know more about the expanding market associated with wearable devices in healthcare.

Preventive Health care: Impact of digital intervention
I think that is the way the whole healthcare industry would focus more on the individuals, lay their responsibility of healthcare on individual doorstep. So each one of us have to look at how we are able to upkeep our health, upkeep the health of our family and friends using technology. Examples would be wearable, smart watches, smartphones, smart jewellery, smart clothes. We can also look at how smart phones are enabling us to take control of our health and betterment. As an example, one way we could look at things, or one futuristic or current scenario is wearing a smart watch, it gives me alerts, the pulse rate going beyond normal, it gives me an alert, my family would get notified, my physician would get notified and all of these can look at what’s wrong with me, am I in the need of an emergency health, or am I doing something that I’m not supposed to do, running on a polluted road in the city. A lot of these things, technology would enable, technology would allow people to take charge of their day to day activities. Whereby, Healthcare instead of being thought about as an activity when we visit a doctor or a hospital would become a day to day routine activity for us.

Preventive Healthcare: Trends in digital transformation
So building on a preventive healthcare, one of the things that we see happening all around globally as well as in India, the whole focus on preventive healthcare and associated devices and services is growing by leaps and bounds. To give an example, in countries like US, UK, China, the whole wearable market has grown by 288% over the last three years. In India it is growing about 170% and this is where we are just talking about smartphones and smart wearable. We are here to see the point that Nano chips, Nano measurement devices will hit us, all of that put together should actually help us. Being in a lot more control of our health and betterment compared to where we are. So the trend is going to become more and more extreme. The way I look at it, the way I address it, the individualization of the healthcare and if I look at the trend, it is not very difficult to imagine. The food services, the transport services, all of those are going from an organized to an individual set up. From B2B to B2B2C or B2C, same thing has to happen to the healthcare as well. Instead of looking at an annual checkup, as a preventive healthcare, the option to see how I did it every day and whether there is need to go back and visit a doctor or a diagnostic lab or physician or physiology expert to see where am I doing wrong and what I am doing and what can I do better with my overall body and health.

Preventive healthcare: Role of AI
To give an example on how digital technologies, process automation, AI, how they are helping in preventive healthcare. Think of it in this way, I am carrying a smart watch, and there are normal routine activities during which I could be climbing stairs, I could be running on the road or I could be picking up some heavy stuff. All of these would lead to certain changes in my physiological metrics where AI would help to map and identify whether this change in my blood metrics or body stats, vitamins stats, is it happening on a very frequent basis and if so AI would realize that there is a need for an intervention here and that intervention would get triggered in multiple ways.

I will get an alert right when my heart beat is going 50% beyond expected normal for my age group, for my body condition, my family members could get notified, my doctor would get notified and all of that put together could mean that I’m due for a checkup, I am due for some intervention. Now extend this logic to the hospitals, the X-rays could get read by AI, the medical devices which take my blood samples could be doing whole lot of check ups. Maybe I went to get my SP2o level check but it could also say that it has traces of impurities in the blood which means I could have some problem with my renal function, so there an AI would help in identifying problems when there are not really problems but just initial symptoms and that could aid in getting the cure and correction done ahead the time which is what we have to think about when we say preventive healthcare.

Idea behind Airo digital labs
At Airo digital labs, we are very passionate about two things: one is technology and what technology can do for all of us around and specifically as a broad segment of healthcare, we are very picky and particular in that technology has a lot of role to play in that. That’s what brought all of us together and that’s what keeps the organization going. One of the things that we have been building over last two years, by the way this is still in infancy. We have been building a platform which will actually help to do a lot of this. Specifically we are focused on elderly and senior care, whereby through devices and technology intervention, monitoring of their health, alerting to their doctors and to their caregivers would become very easy and convenient. The objective being, the globally world has ageing and growing populations but there is not enough out there in the market which can address the heath needs of this segment. For them preventive healthcare becomes a lot more critical and important than a curative care. That’s what we are focusing on, that’s what we are building and our objective is over the next few years, to help get the senior and elderly get good preventive coverage on their healthcare needs as is possible currently.

Airo digital lab: future plans
We have been building this platform from last couple of years. What we do realize is that, to be able to do a good job of it we need more enabling, more strength and more muscle in our organization and by that I essentially mean two things – one is that we need a lot more funds to speed up the journey of development and roll out of a platform like this which we are referring to as wiki right now internally and the other part is – we are also looking at becoming partner with similar organizations in the similar playfield. These could be organizations which are focusing exclusively on preventive care for seniors and elderly. These could be partners who are bridging the gap between a wearable stat to what needs to happen from doctors, physician and the healthcare side. So there are a whole lot of entities that need to come together and that’s we are hoping to be able to accomplish in next 12 to 24 months, bring in the like-minded partners, bring in the sufficient funds so that all of these put together can help speed up the journey. This population of ageing and seniors is going to be 10 million plus in the next five years and we want to be ready to service this segment as we reach that stage.





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