Although many pockets of healthcare excellence exist in India, the country is currently in need of a reliable system. That’s why HITLAB is expanding its team there, as well as exploring new grant opportunities throughout Asia. That’s also why we are choosing to focus our latest “Innovator Spotlight” on Ashish Jha.
Ashish is a HITLAB Manager who is based in Delhi, India. Among other things, he works in India to attract volunteers, interns, and students to work with HITLAB on various health innovation projects.
Prior to joining HITLAB, Ashish worked with an intellectual property research firm to evaluate innovations and analyze the commercialization potential of patents. That position helped him understand how technology and innovation are linked together. Healthcare was a new domain for Ashish but he came to understand the critical role technology plays in delivering good outcomes. For him, an effective healthcare system is among the pillars upon which an advanced society rests and is also one of the most diverse fields in terms of technology application. Ashish feels no other field has so many stakeholders affected by technology use. If technology and innovation save a human life, there is no better satisfaction. All these reasons propelled him to health and technology. At HITLAB, he has applied this passion and expertise to the public health space, providing innovative and strategic solutions to government and foundation programs.
What fuels Ashish’s passion for health innovation? Seeing how simple innovations brought in by Indian healthcare organizations have changed the lives of millions. He also finds it interesting to meet and interact with people who are pioneers in the country’s health innovation efforts. Ashish believes “healthcare needs even more focused and affordable technologies to take care of millions not yet covered by health programs. There are numerous benefits that can be brought in using simple devices like mobile phones.” In the coming years, he believes we will see an entirely new revolution in health technology generated by this part of Asia.
India is not immune to the innovative trends that are consuming our industry. Ashish says the use of mobile technology in tracking, diagnosing, and dispensing health information is growing every day. Yet, much more can be done by combining innovations from other fields, such as big data analytics and mobile technology, in order to provide better care.
Also, the use of social software is on the rise and this innovation has a wide range of applications in healthcare. With ever increasing bandwidth of mobile and internet connections, now is the time to give the tele-health technology another try. Ashish is hopeful that with the help of the new revolution in mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), it will be possible for physicians to reach a larger “on-the-go” patient population.
It will be interesting to see what other innovations arise in mobile technology and how they are leveraged by health professionals. Ashish says he “would not be surprised to see people carrying a dedicated mobile device just to take care of their health needs in the future.” Mobile device makers are also going to provide more features (such as sensors and cameras) in their mobile devices to attract further health innovations.
So what does the future hold for health innovation? The way Ashish sees it, convergence is the future of health technology. By convergence he means using a single device or platform to access all those services that are currently available on discrete devices. For example, a single mobile phone could be used to track a patient’s symptoms and also look for remedies by utilizing big data applications. The same mobile phone could also be used to book appointments, provide access to pharmacies, and send health information back to the physician.
Currently all this is available, but it is scattered. Devices or apps do not talk with one another and also do not follow a global standard. Once a single health information convergence framework is adopted at the mobile app and device level, it will be much easier for patients to use such applications with maximum benefit. This is where Ashish sees a meaningful use of mobile health and HIT based applications.
We couldn’t agree more.