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Medtech amidst second wave: Lessons learnt and gearing up for the next anticipated COVID wave

These have been testing times and the resurgence of the pandemic under the second wave has greatly affected many. While we hoped to be on the road to recovery, the significant rise in cases across the country has created painful personal and professional challenges.

The Healthcare industry has been at the forefront of this battle against COVID – stretched to breaking point, dealing with intense work pressure with the added weight of personal loss, a large number of caregivers experiencing fatigue and burnout. As opposed to the first wave when the major obstacle was the undiscovered nature of the virus, in the second wave we are facing the complexities of the new strains and a dearth of medical equipment that have resulted in the most turbulent of times. With 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 population and 8 physicians per 10,000, India requires urgent attention in boosting its healthcare infrastructure.

But despite the challenges, the industry has been tenaciously moving forward collectively, especially the Medtech and diagnostics sectors. In the first wave, the industry reacted swiftly by stepping up the production for testing kits, diagnostics, ventilators, PPEs, and anti-microbial surgical consumables such as gloves and masks. This time around as well, the devices industry has been looking for ways to step up and support Healthcare providers and patients.

The Healthium team too has also been working hard in this direction. We have ramped up production of essential medical devices and kept our manufacturing facilities open with due permissions and precautions, despite the lockdown to ensure un-interrupted supply to hospitals. We have fast tracked production schedules to enable critical deliveries within 24-48 hours.

In the brutal second wave, apart from ramping up production for medical equipment, we also had to prioritise supporting our teams, our industry, and the community around us in every possible way- be it managing their physical and mental well-being, financial help or emotional support.

Our core values of Agility and collaboration helped us manage constant change, plan ahead to create capacities on infrastructure, supply chain, crisis management, contingency planning and plug other industry gaps to emerge stronger than ever in the long run.

For everyone in the healthcare industry, technology has been a game-changer. The Pandemic spawned numerous changes including the growth of digital outreach and delivery through data analytics, telemedicine, video consultations, e-pharmacy and tele-assessment.

In the aftermath of the second wave and the warning of a third wave, as an industry, we have taken cognizance of our actions and hold on to the courage, resilience, and the spirit of collaboration that helped us in the past and will certainly help us through these turbulent times.

On a more objective front, the country now has to focus on pandemic preparedness planning. The healthcare industry is stepping up to help the government in stockpiling minimal inventory of essential medicines and medical supplies in order to provide adequate buffer time and avoid any future catastrophes.

Given India’s income inequality, the priority of the healthcare sector is divided into two parts- innovating in order to create a global healthcare system, and making the past and future innovative solutions accessible to the general public. The often ignored latter underlines the importance of affordability, supply chain management, and ease of access, among other aspects. Understanding this, at Healthium, we have expanded our supply chain by 40% to support quicker deliveries to healthcare facilities in remote parts of the country and geo-tagged 18000 hospitals for seamless delivery

To be prepared for the anticipated third wave, the healthcare sector will need to continue with digital solutions, take care of the supply chain management so that resources are allocated properly and work together so that the policy, regulations, and implementation are all in sync.

We are not only transforming the future of technology in healthcare but also working towards increasing accessibility of our solutions, for a fairer and healthier world. Business World