COVID-19 catalysts the use of drones in healthcare

ARTPARK, Co-Founder and CEO, Umakant Soni Kalyani Sharma describes drone technology and emphasizes that during COVID-19, the use of medical drones to avoid the spread of infection has increased significantly. The drone was used to carry contactless personal protective equipment (PPE), collect laboratory samples, and distribute vaccines during a pandemic.

Why does India need a high level of technical infrastructure to deal with medical emergencies and better accessibility?

Due to the lack of adequate infrastructure and human resources, healthcare services are predominantly concentrated in urban areas, making providing healthcare in rural areas a major challenge. For some patients, the nearest doctor is half a day by car. Even doctors in primary care and community health centers may find that there is no suitable specialist within 100 kilometers. In addition, long distances can interfere with the distribution of best practices and coordination of care. In such a situation, a series of innovations and deployments can have a significant impact on India’s rural population.

This is where electronic health records (EHRs) are essential to the health of the population and allow healthcare professionals to look up a patient’s medical history regardless of the patient’s location. Patients can receive faster and more accurate care by sharing information electronically rather than traveling long distances. Clinicians can review and analyze previous visits, tests, diagnoses, and interactions with other professionals, enabling more accurate and personalized care. Telemedicine systems can also make telemedicine and diagnosis easier and more convenient for both patients and clinicians when professional help is needed. Therefore, a completely comprehensive EHR is very useful for rural patients.

Other major obstacles to patient care are drug prescribing and dispensing. This can also be done remotely. Already used in rural South Africa and India, ATMs ensure that patients have access to the medicines they need, clinically, without resorting to pharmacists, doctors, or other hard-to-find specialists. It is safe to use. In addition, these “ATMs” have the potential to improve in the future, act as information kiosks and patient portals, support diagnostics, testing, and dosing prescriptions, and reduce the burden on community health centers and hospitals. I have.

Apart from that, the local community faces a lack of medical expertise. It is difficult for them to be professionally trained, hire existing skilled medical staff, and retain them for long periods of time when they are there. As a result, providing professional training to existing people is one option for tackling this problem. It solves the problem of expertise and ensures that the locals have the right employment opportunities to make progress.

In addition to this, virtual reality can be used in rural areas to support the training and knowledge of healthcare professionals by using headset-based training simulations that immerse themselves in real-world healthcare scenarios. Virtual reality can be used to develop a variety of scenarios that allow rural residents to gain hands-on experience without actually being in the emergency room, putting pressure on staff and putting patients at risk. Become. Therefore, by introducing technology into local health care and healthcare, we can improve the delivery of health care and enable much more efficient and accurate diagnosis in situations where expertise is not always available at the time of care. Become.

How do you see the role and adaptation of advanced technologies such as drones and advanced air mobility in India?

A significant portion of India’s population lives in rural and tribal areas. Apart from that, 40% of Indian villages do not have all-weather connectivity. Therefore, many medical emergencies are usually treated at home, as the time it takes for an ambulance to arrive is time consuming and sometimes impossible. In addition, India has rural and tribal areas in the plains, hills, mountains and deserts and has a diverse landscape, providing timely medical assistance and in the event of natural or man-made disasters. Reaching the place is often impossible.

In addition, doctors and emergency care workers need to deal with many other emergency care, including snake and animal bites, burns and burns, wounds and fractures, and even electrical treatment during golden hours. This highlights the role and adaptation of advanced technologies such as drones and advanced air mobility.

Drone technology is beginning to attract attention in a variety of areas, and COVID-19 has catalyzed the use of drones in healthcare. During COVID-19, the use of medical drones increased significantly to avoid the spread of infection. The drone was used to carry contactless personal protective equipment (PPE), collect laboratory samples, and distribute vaccines during a pandemic. In addition to this, we all know that blood transfusions are necessary in the event of serious blood loss due to serious injury or pregnancy. As a result, drones can help ensure that blood is available when needed. In addition, some clinically essential movements such as ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) and organ transport are not possible with surface ambulances.

Given the need to develop quality emergency medical care and drone technology, it is clear that advanced air mobility systems will begin to make a significant impact on the future. This will enable the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team to respond to emergencies in the shortest amount of time. In addition, ambulances with state-of-the-art emergency care delivery technologies for patient stabilization, resuscitation, surveillance, and audio / video communication with medical professionals are critical to providing life-saving care in life-threatening situations. May play a role.

What are the possible challenges in implementing such projects and technologies in India? What is the need for time?

For innovative and new technologies, we need a set of standards that everyone can trust and an accurate and correct regulatory mechanism. Despite its unique potential, air mobility is currently only available in a limited proportion of the most severe medical cases. This is primarily due to the high acquisition costs caused by the high levels of availability and low utilization required by these services. In addition, the safe evacuation of patients in difficult environmental conditions is a major challenge. As a result, state-of-the-art AI and robotics technologies are required to achieve safe and effective systems that can function in rugged terrain and difficult situations.

What are your thoughts on the acceptance of such techniques in the Indian healthcare system?

According to the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ), India is ranked 145th out of 195 countries. Apart from that, the doctor-patient ratio is 1: 1596, which is surprisingly low compared to the WHO standard of 1: 1400. In addition to this, the turmoil caused by COVID-19 has increased the need for a robust and effective healthcare system. As a result, by rapidly adopting innovative healthcare solutions based on knowledge and artificial intelligence, physicians can provide high quality, low cost care to the masses to treat preventive medical conditions throughout India. May be able to expand healthcare with. It helps prevent the loss of billions of dollars and millions of lives around the world.

Can we shed light on the role of partnerships and PPP models in the successful implementation of such initiatives?

The real wealth of the country is its healthy citizens. And the COVID-19 pandemic taught the world that a well-functioning health system and a healthy population are essential to the country’s economic and social well-being. In addition, it is the responsibility of government and health-focused businesses to keep people healthy and have easy access to quality health care. These innovative technologies have the potential to save lives and reshape the rapidly rising economic and social landscape of India. Therefore, favorable government policies, industry players, service providers, healthcare professionals, and the convergence of state-of-the-art technology can make this possible.

Tell us about ARTPARK’s efforts to automate the provision of essential primary health services in rural areas of the country...

When it comes to dealing with growing healthcare issues, prevention is important because it is better to address manageable issues before they become major issues. On the other hand, governments cannot function in silos, establish public policy, and frequently rely on the expertise of academia and industry subjects. With this goal in mind, we have set up an organization like ARTPARK, where three spirals of academia, industry and government work closely together to use technology to address huge social issues and scale through spin-offs. I made it possible to upload.

In addition, ARTPARK is already collaborating with robotics startups like AI and Xray Setu. It is an AI-driven X-ray screening and interpretation platform for physicians, and Avtaar Robotics is a virtual medical services platform.

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