NotableTalks with Ms. Sharada Rao, Vertical Head- Delivery, Life Sciences at Birlasoft

20.01.22 03:04 PM By Aishwarya

Talks about: #tech #birlasoft #futureofwork #csr #healthtech #pharma #aiinhealthcare and #digitaltransformation

Dr. Sharada Rao, Vertical Head- Delivery, Life Sciences at Birlasoft | Tech | Pharma | Biotech | Medical Devices | Life Sciences | 

Tele Medicine 

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In this NotableTalks episode, we got a chance to have an amazing interaction with very talented business leader Dr. Sharada RaoVertical Head- Delivery, Life Sciences at Birlasoft. Here is her wonderful and interesting conversation with us on the Tele Medicine, Pharma, Biotech, Life Sciences and a variety of topics. Stay tuned for more of such NotableTalks Series episodes with cross function thought leaders from across the globe.

Rapid Fire Round with 
Dr. Sharada Rao

How is Birlasoft enabling Workplace safety?

Talking about Hybrid Work Model

With companies adapting to the newer technological advancements across the globe, how is Birlasoft modernizing the life sciences vertical organizations, we would like to know the actual scenes of how Birlasoft Life Sciences is enabling companies for a Safe Return to the Workplace?

As an organization, we are very committed to not only our employees, having an employee at the nuclear solutions we are committed to their safety and security, their livelihood, their family. All the solution are devised by keeping the motive and mission in mind. All our premises are covid-19 compliance, we have launched a digital integrated solution called “initially open”. And it integrates multiple aspects of safety first, security as a service, and variable technology IoT and AI. It not only plots the employee’s vitals from a daily standpoint there is bide actionable traceability which measures time system and another intelligence system which are used across for automation of our business proceeds. So, we have launched it, we have extended helping hands to global clients who want to keep their premises safe with “Initially open”.

It is a very reusable kind of framework and a return to work strategy has been planned to keep the whole vaccination mandates in place under the ever-changing situations with the way this pandemic is taking shape. We also have created a covid task force, covid help desk there have been vaccination drives that happen on campus our associates' volunteer across the nation in various CSR initiatives both during the pandemic and post-maintenance activities and I think hybrid working models have come here to stay with this year so, back to work being a core theme we also offer them the flexibility, safety and convenience working in a transit environment partially they are based out on campus and partially they are working from home. We were one of the first companies in the nation and certain parts of the globe to turn 99% compliant with our workforce. That is where we stand concerning our focus on safety first.

Sharing Her Thoughts About Facebook Metaverse

Facebook recently got rebranded and became Meta, do you think a successful deployment of Metaverse would prove to be an altogether breakthrough in the health care sector.

It is an early and nascent conversation to have if you ask me. Probably don’t want to take an organization or specific social media platform but if you look at the way Metaverse is ideated by social media it kind of tries to model the human preference of the human from the social standpoint. There is a symbiotic relationship between what a person wants to share allows them to have his digital persona and the social platform. Having said that, is it a tool for life science to spread its wings become virtual and influence medicine no doubt about it. Undoubtedly, what was witnessed in the year zero which is the covid year never happened in the pharmaceuticals and life science industry earlier where it was a very secure and a little bit insular kind of a business ecosystem where blockbuster medicines are ideated, manufactured, and launched to market sort of in to within the organization and there was a huge rage be the first to launch drugs for the specific therapeutic area but the year of pandemic saw the world come together as a collaborative workforce as a human endeavour to address a pandemic to such a proportion that people did not understand and did not know how to combat initially.

The whole host of collaboration that came to place and we witnessed three vaccines that not only got launched but FDI approved tested all of this then got mass-marketed and whole vaccination launched across the world. India witnessed to billion population very huge testimonial in that direction. So, when you tie it back to the influence that social platforms have had it has been tremendous. There are communities of therapy and have been getting created like conchology whole host of ceramic medicines. You know fundamental lifestyle diseases like diabetes, you have a huge virtual community kind of congregate and share the experience. So, based on all of that insights medicines keeps on getting better. There is tremendous potential as a platform but have we kind of used metaverse or understanding of the human to the extent is possible. I think it is sadly a huge distance to meet because we have used that platform for a whole host of personal preferences almost limited to entertainment and next spectrum of knowledge perhaps but not to the extent of taking a step back looking at the canvas and saying that there is so much more to do right here how can I as a technology platform influence trends in the world towards moonshot goals such as sustainability goals for the earth, how we will conserve water, how we will live well, how we will treat the entire world compassion and giving. So much to do that distance has to be analyzed and visualized on a pretty ambitious scale using the Metaverse.

How Dr. Sharada Rao perceive Zero Trust Policy to support core business objectives?

Zero-Trust Policy 

There’s a lot of buzz about Zero Trust Policy in context to cybersecurity and data protection, as a vertical head at Birlasoft Life Sciences and with over 2 decades of experience across different segments of the healthcare & life-sciences industry, how do you see these policies to strengthen the core objectives?

Zero trust policy or solutions are all called and compassing and not just limited to life science and healthcare. If I went and shared information online due to exigency because I want to virtualize my experience be that anything it need not be just life science for whatever purpose for banking or for learning something or for sharing information if I wanted to do that I would go in with the assumption that whatever I am sharing is safe and secure kind of ring-fenced, kind of confidentiality and privacy that I expect so more so with life science and healthcare. There is a whole lot of personally identifiable information that you share take a simple instance of a telemedicine interaction on any health app in which anyone goes talk to a physician and share a lot about yourself demographic information, your physical condition, and diagnosis and that is personally identifiable and you may not want to share that. I would want to completely have a zero-proofed solution I would have zero tolerance for any sort of leakage, fraudulent any vulnerability, or threat that could impact my information.

That is a whole PI AI aspect personally identifiable information is regulated and compliance from the entire industry. We have to cater to the identification of the information, we have to cater to security and cyber security, and we have to cater to all sorts of security at the application level, infrastructure level, the API level, and the data itself. Many layers of the protocol we have to the device so, as a policy I think least access strategy is the best go just give it on need basis access is given only on need basis and the communication is very cautious and monitored so, beyond the assigned individual perhaps not safe kind of launch free access and the way you script you design a solution scripting languages you coding develop and secure the entire build and it has to be airtight, it has to be the best be very stringent and the implementation policies are devised keeping all of this in mind at BirlaSoft.

How does the future of healthcare look like in India?

Future of Healthcare

Shifting gears for a moment, let’s discuss the most promising innovations and technology enhancements you have witnessed in recent times, what’s your perspective on how the future of healthcare would look like in India

I have been in digital for quite a few years. I would say it is close to a decade now. I have worked at Microsoft for their digital solutions for many years as well so, it first started with a whole smack with social noble kind of solution and then the big data and cloud solutions. People started to look at it and aspect of how to digitize and enterprise how I create solutions in various industries to have a connected world. From that, if you see today it is not an optional aspect anymore the entire world has become connected industry just held that vision with various solution be that internet of medical things, variables whole host of solutions that have come to play. In life science, I think some of the core things are favourite themes with us BirlaSoft. From the mission standpoint, we work towards the well-being of the world at large blindness research and blindness awareness using AI and ML is a big focus area. Then we worked towards a solution that incorporates modernization of the hospital workplace using the internet of medical things which means how you put the patient at the centre of the experience and state solution around the patient in mind.

That can be telemedicine that can be virtual diagnostics, IOMT, and cloud conversations back and forth. Many mechanisms in which AI and ML come to play what is the potential of something like this vast rapid strides that you can make medicine. Earlier we did not have a type of collaboration that has come to play. Today people are looking at how fast I can address certain conditions reversing blindness earlier we could have never thought of reversing blindness it is like a moonshot goal earlier but now it is addressable so how can we look at the things like that what is the vista or extent towards medicine is a huge thing. Another trend that is in the focus area is 5G there is a whole lot of potential to enable faster, easier affordable, and accessible healthcare. So, that is something that we are looking to kind if bring solutions forth.

How to maintain Mental Health?

Mental Healthcare

Mental health, a term which we all have been coming across a lot in recent months, what are your views on this, and how is this aligned with Birlasoft Life Sciences offerings and services? And we would certainly like to have some tips from you for achieving a healthier mental lifestyle.

Ans. The pandemic year has brought in a lot of social isolation until that point of time everyone has taken it for granted that they would have people around them they would have access to people the whole touch and feel aspect of the world around them kind of a given and it was when to socialize solution become a mandate and a requisite to survival that you saw the whole host of the mental issue that begin to crop up. The zero years have a lot of suicides cases and depression vibe tremendously anxiety disorder, productivity at the workplace suffered the whole host of mental spectrum. Both with employee workforce, with their families, and how you kind of looked at the entire work-life balance as an aspect. In a recent survey in 2021, it was found that women fared better compared to men in terms of mental health and terms of physical activity as well because physical activity has come down due to this hybrid working model. But men seem to have taken the brunt a little more. Personally in BirlaSoft, corporate level and personally, there are a whole host of daily cadences that are put in place in terms of interaction you can avail of where you can have a talk with physiologist or talk to buddies and mentors at work. 

You share the experience you share cognitive behaviour solutions that will keep you safe physically, mentally, and emotionally right. All of these are put together. Then there are a lot of underpinnings like health insurance, gym, flexible working solutions, and tools that are also in place. So personally if you ask me you do know I am a reiki healer that always talks about physical, mental, and physiological health. How you can always take care of your mind and your heart you need to have an alignment make time to listen to yourself and understand signals that your mind is giving or your body is giving you. Never fear extremes it is always to have that balance that calmness and stillness and combined with your alignment with the universe and all that it can offer to you is what Reiki is all about and that has taught me a lot. It has made me a wholesome individual it has stood me in a good state for seven years and I often tried to go out of my way and see I can give it back its all energy the more you give back the more you get from the universe. And that is the way to hold a lot of people around you.

Dr. Sharada Rao's Professional journey to Vertical Head at Birlasoft Life Sciences


How has your role evolved to date as a Vertical Head at Birlasoft since your first inception with the healthcare industry back in 1999 at Merck?

At BirlaSoft, it is the unit leadership and accountability for delivery and execution of whatever we ideate together with the customer. So, I am accountable for the delivery of all of the solutions gets implemented by the customer. It is a role of responsibility and at the same time, it is wholesome fun as well it is a personal passion for me ever since my first time into life science with Merck is and I learned about Gorge Merck the whole be well kind of a mission statement that Merck stood by the year I joined Merck we had 9 blockbuster drugs that we have launched in a single year. It is a golden period towards asthma, cancer, pain medicine. Then I started to find this of great interest I saw the power of IT solutions can enable rapid strides how people feel better you can address the world.

So, I started to focus on understanding the drug discovery process and what can come to play in clinical trials how one can accelerate various solutions across the life cycle of the chain of drug discovery the R & D aspect the manufacturing, post-marketing sales, and surveillance and what does Pharm vigilance means what is adverse reaction creates in a different part of the world based on their ethnicity and blood type it is a very fascinating area. Today I have the power to sit for an hour ideate a solution that will go and create an impact on the population. For me, that is extremely powerful you know if I sit and put my head into a while I can sit with certain industry leaders or advisors various luminaries working on medicine itself we can go and say we can make this happen for you, and together it will be a huge impact.

Full Episode: NotableTalks with Dr. Sharada Rao

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