Interviews

“Technology disrupts traditional medical device markets often”

Says, Adi Jacobson, Head of Sales, MobileODT.

The Israel-India relationship takes a step ahead with the “India-Israel Innovation Bridge” program. Jointly started over a year ago by Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu along with Israel Innovation Authority and Invest India, the program represents a peak in the relationship between the two countries.

As a part of the joint collaboration, six shortlisted Israeli start-ups are coming to India for the “Israel-India Bridge to Innovation” program. Of them, Health Technology interacts with Adi Jacobson, Head of Sales, MobileODT, a company that has developed devices to diagnose cervical cancer are part of the program

Do you think that Indian healthcare is ready to get SMAC-ed?

Yes, as far as the new proven technology is error-free and does not block the provider’s day-to-day activity but helps them to complete their task sooner than the current technology, they are always ready to adapt it and replace it as soon as they can. MobileODT’s product has caught-up this attraction from the Indian providers.

And in India, the statistics show that the usage of mobile phones has reached up to 731 million in 2017 and is believed to rise every year! This shows how quick Indian’s can adopt new incoming technologies!

What do you foresee with the advent and adoption of IoT and Remote management technologies?

We see a revolution towards patient empowerment and care that improves education, referral process, and overall focus from health care access to patient outcomes, whereby new tools can make sure people get the care they need- but also have the tools and knowledge to stay healthy and prevent disease. With household incomes growing, we also know that healthcare is one of the first areas people are spending- and we have seen they want to do it at low cost, from their mobile phone or from home to prevent having to miss work and pay high transport costs to traditional clinics. Mobile apps, communication with healthcare providers remotely, etc. change all of that and give tools to people who previously did not have them. Additionally, using mobile phones/apps, helps to easier spread the preventive measures to their relatives and friends.

What are the major trends that you have witnessed in mHealth recently?

In the cervical cancer screening space, we have seen a major push from women to actually be screened, and if needed, treated, when technology is available at the level they can access. Becuase our technology allows the patient to see n image of her own cervix, she has a much better knowledge an understanding on her cervix than if she was explained without an actual image. “Seeing is Believing” – So we would say the major trend is that technology not only improves access and decreases costs, but allows the patient much more agency and empowerment.

Do you think online or mHealthcare has come of age in India? Where are we placed on a world scenario?

Yes, MobileODT has seen a remarkably quick adoption of the EVA System in India compared to other countries. Part of the reason are:

  1. Indian healthcare providers are innovative in their own right, and always ready to explore new, low-cost easy-to-use tools, and never sacrificing the quality of care for their patients. Therefore, we have seen the right amount of skepticism to our product that it is as good as other methods of primary screening – VIA and pap smear and also the inclusion of a mobile phone in out product, made it more comfortable  to handle.
  2. When the providers come across new user-friendly technologies they wish to integrate it immediately –  because it saves a lot of time ( time being a major constraint in India ), decreases cost, increase quality and improves efficiency.
  3. When comparing with the other healthcare systems in the world who are a bit more rigid, Indian providers, easily adapt any brand or process with a proof, as long as it’s proven as effective as the standard methods.

It’s interesting because there is a focus on access to the rural poor, as well as through private sector care to keep out of pocket costs down, there is wide-scale adoption of mHealth tools, and not just in the rural areas in some countries where mHealth may be equated with lower quality.

What benefits can a consumer reap out of technology-driven healthcare?

Technology disrupts traditional medical device markets often- for example, we have taken an expensive, bulky piece of equipment, and made it portable, easy to use by a non-expert and equipped with software that serves as a job aid so nurses and general practitioners can also do cervical cancer screening, instead of just experts. So they get improved access to expert level care through remote consultation and review, as well as lower cost healthcare. And finally, technology like ours improves the process and reduces paperwork- whereas cervical cancer screening traditionally takes 2-3 visits for the quality of an exam with a pap smear, we can do it in a single visit, and move a patient directly to treatment. Where loss to follow up is as high as 90% in India, meaning women who are screened but never treated, eliminating barriers to care through the number of visits and cost, we can save a lot of lives.

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