To address the coronavirus pandemic and the emergency declarations in nearly all states, ‘Octaware Technologies Ltd’ developed COVID-19 Online Screening and Evaluation TELEMEDICINE services (COSETS). It is providing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Screening, Evaluation, and Testing for all patients via TELEMEDICINE at District Hospitals (Maybe even Primary Health Centers).
The Primary Objective is to help Public Health Authorities at the national, regional and Community Levels by identifying who is most vulnerable. This will help the Government to plan CONTAINMENT STRATEGIES and prepare necessary resources to tackle any emergent situation on a war footing. The Policy Times interviewed Mr. Aslam Khan, Founder of Ocataware Technologies on COVID-19 Online Screening and Evaluation TELEMEDICINE services (COSETS).
Please tell us briefly about your subsidiary, Transpact Enterprise? I think you are among the first start-up companies to get listed on the BSE start-up platform. How has been the response so far?
Mr.Aslam: Transpact Enterprises Limited is a group company of Octaware Technologies Limited. Transpact Enterprises, DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) and Government of India recognized start-up is the first one listed at the start-up platform of Asia’s first and the world’s fastest exchange, the BSE India. Transpact Enterprises Limited had opened its maiden IPO on August 26, 2019, with an issue size of 104,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each for cash at a fixed price of Rs. 130 per Equity Share. The IPO got fully subscribed on Day 3.
Have you developed this Mobile App and Telemedicine especially for COVID-19? How did you manage to develop them so quickly when such developments take years? How long did it take to develop these products? Are these products patented or copyrighted?
Mr. Aslam: We have developed the complete architecture and prototype of Mobile App and telemedicine for COVID-19. The software solution architecture is built in such a way that it can cater to other infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis. Octaware Technologies is focused on the healthcare industry and it already has three intellectual property products serving healthcare sectors. Hospice – A hospital information management system, SifaCareMD – Urgent Care Clinic management system and Life2Care – A patient relationship management system. The essential features of a telemedicine platform such as audio/video for live patient engagement, clinical documentation management, Electronic Medical Record (EMR), scheduling and collaboration are present in Octaware’s healthcare product and it was a matter of plug-n-play to come up with a new comprehensive solution.
I think Telemedicine as a tool has already been in existence for many years. How different are your COVID-19 Online Screening and Evaluation TELEMEDICINE services (COSETS)? What kind of new addition or modification you have done to make it useful for COVID-19 testing and evaluation?
Mr.Aslam: The Octaware solution is the design of a telemedicine system integrated with a personal assistant mobile application to manage the possible spread of the pandemic. The mobile application uses questionnaire-based classification suggested by WHO for suspected COVID-19 patients allowing users for initial screening remotely with no travel to primary healthcare thereby maintaining social distancing. The data captured through the mobile application is stored on a common cloud repository accessible by the telemedicine system at primary as well as secondary healthcare distributing the diagnosis workload.
There seem to be other Mobile Apps already available for self-assessment of COVID-10, for example, Coronavirus Risk Scan by Apollo. Also, the government has launched the arrogyasetu app. How different your assistance mobile app from others?
Mr. Aslam: The personal assistance mobile app is integrated with the telemedicine system with centralized data storage on the cloud.
Have you already begun using these two tools on a large scale? Or they are still (at the prototype stage) being tested as you need approval from governments? When do you expect to implement them full-fledged? Can these be implemented on a large scale across India? Do you have the capacity to manufacture them in large numbers?
Mr.Aslam: We have submitted the proposal to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to collaborate in promoting the solution. We participated in the hackathon – Garage48 “Hack the crisis in India” organized by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Friday 3rd April and were shortlisted in the top 300 solutions among total 2500 Entries / 15000 participants. These solutions can be implemented nationwide as well as in other countries with the intervention and collaboration of the government.
What’s the cost of this technology/product/solution? How much investment you have made? How much investment is required to implement them on a large scale?
Mr.Aslam: The solution bootstrapped with the internal investment of Octaware. We expect an investment of Rs 50 lacs to roll out the complete solution.
Do we have enough trained doctors/operators to use these technologies/solutions?
Mr.Aslam: Yes, there are enough doctors available for teleconsultation.
What role your tech solutions look to play or can play in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic? Why it’s so important to use these technologies for such types of pandemics? Do we have some examples of such technologies being used successfully in other countries?
Mr. Aslam: As mentioned above, integrated mobile application with telemedicine system will help in managing the spread of COVID-19 pandemics by implementing the social distancing and distributing the load of suspect patients between the primary care and tertiary hospital.
Some important features of this mobile application,
- Remotely monitor and engage patients in their homes by use of a computer or smartphone
- Facilitate a line of communication between quarantined people and Health care services
- Maintain visibility of those recently discharged,
- Easier access to Corona-virus specific questions-answering
- Screening Tools to support Health care workers dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19
- The Platform will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) over time to allow providers to identify patients at risk of deterioration and optimize their care.
- Provide ready and well experienced Medical Specialists with the necessary Health-Tech support for TELEMEDICINE and Mobile App facilities to work closely with government agencies.