IIT Madras collaborating with health technology firms

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To make Chennai the ‘Digital Wellbeing Capital’ of the World

Indian Institute of Technology Madras is initiating an alliance called ‘Digital Wellbeing Alliance’ to deploy digital technologies with the objective of making Chennai the ‘Digital Wellbeing Capital’ of the World.

The institute will use its expertise in blockchain, artificial intelligence/machine learning, IoT and motion capture technology to work for the well being of the community, specifically the young workforce and weaker sections of the society.

The alliance was inaugurated at IIT Madras by Dr Ram D Sriram, renowned AI and healthcare expert and is currently the chief of the Software and Systems Division, Information Technology Laboratory, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), US federal government.

Speaking about the importance of this workshop, Prof M Manivannan, Biomedical Engineering Group, Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras, who organised this alliance, said, “There are many issues that only an alliance can solve. We will brainstorm to identify those issues in this workshop. This alliance is spearheaded by several passionate people, apart from me, including Prof. D Janakiram of IIT Madras, Sridharan Sivan of S10 Health Solutions, Sharmila Devadas of MedioTek Health Systems, Subbarao of Chola MS Risk, again emphasising alliance of people rather than individuals.”

The stakeholders of this alliance would be Academic Institutions such as all the IITs, Health technology companies, medical device makers, digital health players, medical institutions, corporate firms, government bodies such as NITI Aayog and Certifying/Regulating Agencies. The ‘Global Alliance’ is an initiative of IIT Madras along with industrial partners, hospitals, and global thought leaders.

This alliance is intended to improve quality of life for healthcare providers and seekers; and to leverage India’s strength to enhance global health and wellness care.

The alliance has its own blockchain which is a decentralised platform that enables secure, fast and transparent exchange and usage of medical data with smart contracts. With the blockchain technology, the community end user is at the centre of the digital transformation of healthcare and is empowered with the right of his/her own data.

The well being paradigm will determine India’s Gross domestic product (GDP) in the future. Well being of a community, beyond eating healthy food and exercises, will be determined by many other factors.

This alliance would work to foster market-driven innovation, to enhance skill development, to protect intellectual property and develop best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure, spawn new products and services around Industry 4.0. This alliance enables cooperation of all stakeholders through blockchain for setting policy, standards and regulatory framework.

The focus would be on culture of well being, interoperability, data privacy, cyber security, policy, consumer engagement and evidence and evaluation. The alliance will be a great platform to drive the global penetration for the thriving health tech start-up community.

A workshop that followed the inaugural function included eminent speakers including Prof Amar Gupta from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr Julian Goldman from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School, Dr Amit Sheth from Wright State University, Dr Soundar Kumara from Penn State University, and Prof D Janakiram, IIT Madras. A panel discussion in the workshop will be moderated by Dr Vinod Abraham, professor and head of Community Health, CMC Vellore.