Digital Health is the new mantra for business opportunities

Digital health is one such sector where tremendous opportunities are available for innovative entrepreneurship


Abhijeet Gholap

A bioengineering and biomedical engineering graduate from IIT Bombay, Abhijeet Gholap, better known as 'Abhi' Gholap is President and CEO of California-based OptraSCAN Inc, which specializes in on-demand digital pathology. Abhi has done pioneering work in the digital healthcare space. He has demonstrated IT engineering partnerships with the world's leading digital device, digital drug and digital research firms and institutions. Abhi has 13 international patents to his credit and heads the Digital Health track at TiE Silicon Valley. He is on the medical technologies advisory board of Frost & Sullivan. At the time of this interview with BioSpectrum, Abhi was engaged in discussions with White House officials during a Cancer MoonShot 2020 conference. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Optra Systems would be completing exactly a decade in November2016, since inception in 2006. You have achieved spectacular growth during this period while pioneering lifesciences and healthcare software solutions. What would you say are the high points of thisjourney?
AG:Our focus during this journey was always on creatingintellectual property, building products based on innovation and establishing ourselves as a niche player in Digital Health segment. I amglad to see that we could achieve all these objectives in the first decadeof my entrepreneurial journey as we secured 7 international patents,built our medical device that was labeled as "affordable" by the Government of India and included in the Cancer MoonShot program by the United States.

Q: Lifesciences and Healthcare constitute a $20 bn industry. Given India's pool of talent in IT, medicine and medical research, what are some of the biggest opportunities that you see for Indian companiesand entrepreneurs in this sector?
AG: Digital Health is the new mantra. Drug and device companies need theright mix of digital tools and processes to accelerate innovation, or they risk displacement and missed growth opportunities in a New Health Economy that is demanding technologies to support measurable,value-driven care. As patients transition from passive care recipients to active value-seeking consumers, it is healthcare's turn to master these tools as new competitors chip away at the market. Drug and device companies are placing bigger bets on innovation than other industries are. But nearly half are focusing on traditional product innovation as the top priority over the coming year, rather than on service and business model innovations that could help them prove their value beyond the efficacy and safety of their drugs and devices.
Leading companies are now investing in digital tools to create new revenue streams from data, optimize outcomes, and create tighter patient engagement.

Q: Your company has a firm foothold in the European and US markets.What is the latest on your plans to expand your reach to the Middle East and also tap into the Indian market?
AG: Our Digital Cancer Diagnostics product was recently endorsed byDSIR, India as an "Affordable Healthcare Device". This opens up bigopportunities for us to sell in the Indian market.

Q: Your range of services extends from "bench to bedside". Could youplease elaborate on this and give us a profile of your company?
AG: We specialize in medical devices product engineering, informatics for translational and precision medicine and prognosis prediction platform using artificial intelligence and deep learning.

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