In the pursuit of affordable digital health-based solutions to problems facing Indian healthcare, the All India Institute of Sciences (AIIMS) in Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh and the India Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras in Chennai, Tamil Nadu have announced in recent weeks a collaboration.
“The strengths that IIT-Madras brings with depth in many technological fields such as virtual reality, haptics, AI [artificial intelligence], robotics, and health economics, among others, aligns well and is synergistic with AIIMS Mangalagiri goals of creating happy communities through healthcare transformations,” said AIIMS Mangalagiri president Dr T. S. Ravikumar, who signed a memorandum of understanding with IIT-Madras director Professor Bhaskar Ramammurthi in service of the agreement at the beginning of February.
From the end of IIT-Madras, Professor M. Manivannan (who belongs to the Institute’s Department of Applied Mechanics) will head up the collaboration. “What India needs is affordable and high quality healthcare technologies, not high end technologies, for making high impact, reaching out even the bottom of the pyramid,” he said. “Both IIT-Madras and AIIMS Mangalagiri have the same mission.” In addition to tech solutions, a press release outlined that “the partnership between these institutions would also feature academic and research collaborations in areas of mutual interest, exchange of scholarly information, students and faculty besides sponsorship of joint seminars, workshops, health and wellness projects of high impact.”
Incorporating digital technology into India’s healthcare system has been advocated for at length by the Centre. Last year, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a digital health blueprint to advance the country towards universal health coverage, in the form of a National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB).
“The need of the hour is to create an ecosystem which can integrate the existing disparate health information systems and show clear path for upcoming programmes,” Vardhan stated at the time. “There is a need to ensure convergence across these IT systems to monitor and provide health services in a robust and efficient manner.” Collaborations between premier institutes such as IIT-Madras and AIIMS, Mangalagiri can advance progress towards this aim, building and strengthening digital health systems.