Milestone Systems VP Emphasises Tech's Role In Addressing India's Healthcare Workforce Challenges

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Malou Toft, Vice President APAC at Milestone Systems, spoke on the future opportunities and applications of VMS, AI, and data analytics in aiding the healthcare workforce across India

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As per the Indian Nursing Council records, there are around 33.41 lakh nursing personnel registered in the country, which gives a nurse-to-population ratio of 1.96 nurses per 1000 people. This is in comparison to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) norm of 3 nurses per 1,000. Similar problems, including the difficulty of keeping nurses amidst rising demands for better healthcare, are present in the Asia-Pacific area.

According to recent FICCI and KPMG India research titled "Strengthening Healthcare Workforce in India: the 2047 Agenda - Top 20 Priorities," there will be an urgent need for more than 10 million healthcare workers by 2030 in order to manage the industry's increasing problems.

The Covid crisis has expedited India's significant healthcare reform, making it imperative to explore the role that Video Management Software (VMS) and other technological inventions could play in propelling this change.

Moreover, the Indian healthcare sector is influenced by factors such as an ageing population, a growing middle class, lifestyle diseases, public-private partnerships, and the adoption of digital technologies, which even intensifies the need for technology aid in healthcare for leveraging the workforce and providing long-term solutions.

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Malou Toft, Vice President APAC at Milestone Systems, spoke on the future opportunities and applications of VMS, AI, and data analytics in aiding the healthcare workforce across India.

When it comes to expansion in India, why has the company opted for the healthcare sector?

On a global scale, healthcare lags behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption. Limited budgets and supply constraints have hindered the implementation of surveillance and applications in healthcare, especially in government-funded systems. However, the pandemic has highlighted the need for technological advancements in healthcare. Our company aims to address the lack of expertise and innovation in the sector.

How are healthcare institutions utilising data sources to predict critical situations and improve operational efficiency in the healthcare industry?

Healthcare institutions are utilising various data sources to predict critical situations and enhance operational efficiency. This is being done by combining video data with other data from patient journals. For example, by combining video data with patient journals, our company can detect specific movements and patterns in individual behaviour. Although regulations in the healthcare industry pose challenges in many countries, institutions are committed to saving lives and optimising their operations. Our focus is on providing solutions that save time. Currently, we focus on providing medicines and activities that incrementally save time. Our aim is to reduce small instances so that healthcare professionals can allocate more time to be with patients.

How can technology and innovation address the pressing need for more nurses in the healthcare industry?

Technology can play a supplementary role in addressing the need for more nurses. The global prediction indicates a requirement for 30 million additional nurses by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that difficult situations often lead to innovation, as people are compelled to find new solutions when faced with limited options. Even those who were initially uninterested in alternatives became motivated to explore them. When faced with critical needs and urgent challenges, people will find a way to overcome them. Therefore, in the context of workforce management in hospitals, we are currently exploring solutions such as multiple room monitoring, which will aid the healthcare workforce.

Brief us about your distribution model and the stakeholders involved in your business.

We have a two-tiered distribution model, with distributors playing a key role in selling our products. We maintain a close relationship with resellers, who act as integrators and pull together various technologies and vendors based on the specific needs of their clients. System integrators often serve as consultants and provide guidance on special applications. While we advise large customers and assist with major tenders in the public and commercial sectors, we exclusively sell our products through our channel partners.

What is the company's go-to-market model?

We collaborate with both government and private hospitals, working with local resellers, integrators, and distributors. We have sales support engineers and technical support channels. The resellers are responsible for deploying and delivering milestones to customers, as the solution includes not just milestones but also cameras, servers, wiring, and service agreements. The company's software operating system is an integral part of the overall solution.

What studies form the basis of the software’s recognition system?

We have approximately 3000 solution partners worldwide, with some deployed in specific countries or regions and others deployed globally. Although no specific healthcare study has been conducted in India, similar use cases exist across various industries. Solution partners develop features such as fault detection or face recognition, and they cross-pollinate algorithms with data from different markets for diversity. As a global company, the solutions can be deployed internationally, often using milestones as stepping stones to address customer needs in different countries. Industries share many similarities at the industry level, such as running data centres or distribution centres, while decision-making processes and privatisation levels may vary in different sectors.


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