By Devmalya Sarkar

Published on January 22, 2018

Indian innovators and investors should be asking themselves one simple question: How can we leverage technology to make a difference in healthcare? Digital health, an increasingly relevant topic in our country, might be one solution. It hinges on empathetic, accessible, and appropriate services that are informed by communities in need. Even more importantly, digital health can adapt to the myriad experiences and needs of people across our diverse country. If we want impactful and novel solutions to address unmet and varied healthcare challenges in India, digital health innovation is a logical place to start.

To address these challenges and provide opportunities for digital health innovators in India, HITLAB, in partnership with Unitus Seed Fund’s StartHealth initiative, will host its 2018 HITLAB World Cup as part of the 2018 HITLAB Innovators Summit: India. Innovators were invited to submit their original technology-enabled healthcare solutions and finalists, selected by a panel of leading healthcare experts, will have the opportunity to make pitches for up to USD $500,000 (INR 3.5 crore) in grants and equity funding.

Given recent developments in government-led digitization initiatives along with grants from the private sector, there has been encouraging progress in areas of home healthcare, mobile health, telemedicine, and remote diagnosis, with considerable interest in predictive analytics, precision medicine, and wearable devices. The HITLAB Summit and World Cup will highlight emerging innovations in these areas, as well as others.

For more than 15 years, HITLAB has helped leading organizations ideate, create, evaluate, and diffuse technology-based solutions to pressing healthcare challenges. It has hosted the global HITLAB World Cup Challenge since 2006. The HITLAB Innovators Summit offers a series of curated talks, panels, and collaboration opportunities to engage the most creative minds in health and technology. The theme for the upcoming Summit—the fourth to be held in India—is Enabling Inclusive Digital Health Innovation and Diffusion.

“As digital health investment continues to grow, it’s essential that we provide opportunities for innovators and investors around the world to showcase and develop their products. The HITLAB World Cup, in tandem with the Summit, is a chance to not only learn from other people who are rapidly changing and improving the digital health landscape, but also to develop the resources to dramatically impact the lives of communities in need,” said John Hammitt, Executive Director at HITLAB.

With increasing international investment, evolving consumer behavior, and a steep rise in startups focused on technology-driven healthcare, there are increased opportunities to impact health delivery and access in India. HITLAB looks forward to working with the Indian startup ecosystem and helping stakeholders implement digital health innovations to make a difference.

(Devmalya Sarkar is a health innovation strategist, bio-designer, and bioengineer and currently leads HITLAB’s impact, outreach, and ecosystem development initiatives across India, ME, and APAC regions.)