SymHealth 2019: Experts share insights, outlook on healthcare sector

The multi-disciplinary conference by Pune based Symbiosis University underscored the importance of applying integrative strategies to the theory and practice of health sciences

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Pune: On April 19, 2019, curtains were raised on the much awaited SYMHEALTH 2019, a National Conference on Interdisciplinary Approach to Healthcare, organized by the Symbiosis School For Open and Distance Learning (SSODL), Symbiosis International (Deemed University), SIU.

Standing true to its promise, the multi-disciplinary conference underscored the importance of applying integrative strategies to the theory and practice of health sciences. The conference forged new dialogues amongst various stakeholders of the healthcare community, bringing in new insights and perspectives from other fields and offered a platform on which to foster intellectual fellowship amongst all stakeholders. Most importantly the conference shaped up as an instrument of global advances in healthcare.

The Inaugural ceremony was graced by Mr Prabal Chakraborty, Vice President & Managing Director, Boston Scientific India. The ceremony was also graced by Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Pro Chancellor, SIU and Dr Rajani Gupte, Vice Chancellor, SIU. Mr. Prabal Chakraborty mentioned that complexity of healthcare is arising due to multiple stakeholders, multiple information flows, unstable geopolitical environment and multiple decision making process.

Dr Rajiv Yeravdekar, Dean, Faculty of Health & Biological Sciences, SIU justified the concept of SYMHEALTH by a small story of a young boy who tried to search for god and succeeded.

Dr Rajani Gupte talked about the inter-departmental connections and platform where students get to inculcate skills like team work and hard work.  Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar explained the need to have communication skills along with other pre-requisite skills in health sciences.

Dr S B Mujumdar, Founder and President, Symbiosis; Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University) emphasized on the need of the hour to have a healthy mind and a healthy body.

The first session was on Public Health Agenda for India by Dr Sanjay Zodpey, Vice President, Public Health Foundation of India. He started his session by stating the 21st century challenges in healthcare in India and the need to have a healthy population. He did a comparative study of healthcare status in 1947 India and the status at present. He emphasized on the poverty status, gender inequality, the situation of sanitation and education in India as compared to the data available globally.

Mr Bhaskar Nerurkar, Head, Health Bajaj Allianz started the session with a little humour and introduced his co-panellists. Ms. Gayatri Iyer, Regional Manager, NIC then proceeded with her speech introducing the concept behind RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna), Ayushman Bharat and NHPS (National Health Protection Scheme). She also talked about the initial Planning commission and its transformation into NITI Aayog. She concluded her speech by perks and eligibility of the scheme.

The session was then proceeded by Mr Bhaskar where he started by appreciating Symbiosis International University for their educational services by saying that ‘Pune is the home of education and Symbiosis is the kitchen’. He talked about the aspects and the need to have Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) from the insurance sector’s perspective.

The session then moved forward to Mr Arunesh Punetha, Regional Director, Narayana Health who discussed about the anticipated challenges for public and private healthcare providers like the low rate of packages being made available to the clinical staff and the shortage of health workforce. He gave his insights on the Michael Porter’s model of ‘Agenda for Value Transformation’ with patient centricity at the core. He ended the session with a talk about PMJAY and its influence on public health.

Dr Sanjay Gupte, Medico-Legal Expert began the session by talking about the types of law in healthcare statutory and case laws. He projected the issues by focusing on the interpretation of law changes as per circumstances, unlicensed practitioners, quacks and midwifery. He gave an overview on consent for sterilization, MTP, PCPNDT Act, surrogacy laws passed by loksabha, altruistic surrogacy with the help of many case studies.

Mr Rohit Sathe, President, Health Systems, Philips headed the panel discussion and began the session by introducing Philips and their mission and vision. His session was mainly focused on 4 components- accessibility, speed & accuracy, value solutions and innovations.

The session then moved forward to Mr. Vidhi Prasad K V, Head, Wipro GE South Asia. He talked about medical technology. He also touched upon the E-commerce portal for service parts & accessories like Medtronics, Siemens, Philips, etc.

Mr. Surendra Deodhar, VP, Reliance Life Sciences Pvt Ltd took over the session and proceeded to talk about equitable distribution of medicines in India, especially in rural areas, where access to these privileges is a challenge.

Dr Simmardeep Singh Gill, COO CK Birla Group Kolkata, began his session by touching upon the very concept of strategic leadership. He talked about the increment in competition and other factors with the help of forecasted charts based on reported data. He also described the challenges associated with the business models. These include low public spending and high out of pocket spending, talent shortage and high attrition, fragmented industry and lack of standardization. He spoke about the widening trust deficit between the patient and the provider.

Dr Satpathy, Director, School of Public Health, KIIT Deemed University. He talked in detail about the conceptual meaning of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). He emphasized on the need to have quality medicine, quality treatment, skilled workforce and the public should not face any difficulties while accessing them. He also stated the importance of having Primary Health Centres (PHCs), their efficiency and effectiveness in providing health to all. He stated that 80% of the Health needs can be taken care at PHCs. Further, he addressed the myths regarding Universal Health Coverage.

The second parallel session on Pharmacovigilance & Clinical Data Management was conducted by Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, Head, Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases, ICMR. He started his session with elaborating on why is pharmacovigilance required. He stated that aim of pharmacovigilance is to detect unknown AEs at earliest and ensure patient safety. He did a comparative analysis of clinical trials and use after approval. This analysis was done on basis of number of participants, total duration of observation, vulnerable population, pharmacogenetics, concomitant medicines and dose and duration. He spoke in detail about the increasing scope of pharmacovigilance. He spoke about the key stakeholders in pharmacovigilance.

Mr Lalit Mistry, Director Healthcare, KPMG began his session by talking about the emerging health trends in India and speaking about the future of consulting in healthcare. He talked about the potential impact to the healthcare industry by the emerging medical technology innovations, treatment innovations, proactive wellness and digital health. He discussed the drivers of healthcare; the drivers being technology improvements, market forces, costs, regulatory reform and consumerism. He then concluded the session by giving a brief overview about the career path prospect in healthcare consulting and the skills required like number crunching, report writing, communication skills and the ability to travel in short periods of time and domain knowledge.

The day concluded with sessions on Emerging roles & Opportunities for Healthcare management professionals by Dr Dinesh Pashankar, Associate Professor, Yale University, USA. He spoked about equitable distribution of medical equipment’s devices & pharma products.

Day 2: Focus on HR, academic research, opportunities and awards

The second-day of SYMHEALTH 2019 opened up with paper presentations by delegates. There were 4 candidates who presented on various topics.

The second session of the day was an engaging talk on Corporate Social Responsibility in Healthcare by Dr Sitarama Budaraju, Consultant, Healthcare Projects, Tata Trust. He introduced top 10 healthcare CSR projects in India in 2018. He spoke about the current health status. He touched upon the supply side constraints namely Human resource for health infrastructure, Health financing, Pharmaceutical and supply chain and Technology. He emphasized on training of peripheral health workers in soft skills. He ended his session by focusing on the importance of documentation support.

Dr Anirudha Malpani, Director & Founder, Malpani Ventures discussed the common beliefs among the people that doctors are dinosaurs i.e. they work in older ways than embracing any new technology. He said these days’ people practice eminence-based medicine not evidence-based medicines. He stated that self-diagnosis and self-prescription is very common among the people and wrongful. He further spoke about different innovations such as Heart buds – using the smartphone as stethoscope, smartphone-based ECG monitor, peek – smartphone-based eye testing kit etc. He said that the doctors see the patients daily, doctors know the patients then why should they wait for the engineers to do the innovation. He concluded the session by saying that patients should receive information therapy from doctors. He also appreciated word of mouth marketing approach. His whole session was focused on “Patient as Partner approach” and how communication is the key. The session was full of jocular remarks that made the session very interesting.

The session was anchored by Col. Ajay Gangoli, Group Medical Director, Apollo Health & Lifestyle. He introduced the other speakers. Col. Gangoli gave introductory of the topic than Ms Nishi Saini took over

Ms. Nishi Saini, Head- North, Clove Dental Clinics started the session with Clove dental clinics’ inception. She spoke about clove dentals history and its vision and mission. She showed various graph showing clinics and dentist. She explained how to manage the services at such a big scale smoothly.

Mr George Chemban, Business Head, Suburban Diagnostics started his session with an introduction about his company Suburban Diagnostic which was started by Dr and Ms Sanjay Arora. He stated that doctor patient relationships are transactional in nature. He focused on the essentials for creating a chain of business units by specifying the business strategy and alignment of goals, standardization for customer experience, standardization of people and processes and standardization of technology.

Mr.Anand Mote, COO, Aster Hospital started his lecture by speaking about why healthcare chains are required. He replicated the lecture by third man’s view of setting a healthcare system. He spoke about the changing landscapes in healthcare chains where he spoke about the global players who are entering the Indian market, availability of capital and importance of well-informed customers. He gave a brief about types of healthcare facilities.

The valedictory ceremony on May 20, 2019 was graced by Surg. Vice Admiral Ravi Kalra, NM,VSM, Director and Commandant, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune; Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, IAS Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur, Dr. Rajani Gupte, Vice Chancellor, SIU & Dr. Rajiv Yeravdekar, Dean, Faculty of Health & Biological Sciences (FoHBS

Around 1000 to 1200 healthcare professionals, from across the country comprising of professionals from diverse verticals of the healthcare sector including domains of Hospital & Healthcare Management, Medico-Legal Systems, Medical Insurance, Clinical Research, Healthcare IT professionals, General practitioners, Specialists & Doctors from Allied Health Sciences, Policymakers & Administrators, Representatives of the Pharma sector, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations and Representatives of private and public Healthcare sector organizations participated in this event.


*BioVoice was one of the media partners of SYMHEALTH 2019.