Dr. Rohit Sharma, the Founder and Managing Director of GRAINPAD Private Limited, is on a mission to make sure that everyone has access to quality and genuine medical information whenever they need it. His healthcare startup, GRAINPAD, is currently developing a virtual physician for all.
“Majority of Indian population still has no option but to go to a local pharmacist, or even worse, quacks and other unlicensed practitioners, for medical advice. Lack of genuine information about their health and delay in getting the right advice can be fatal if not detrimental in most cases. This is what we aim to address through our company and its products,” say Dr. Sharma.
After earning his MBBS degree from Govt. Medical College, Faridkot, Punjab, he worked in Government and Private Hospitals for almost 3 years. He also managed his private practice for several months before initiating his own healthcare startup, GRAINPAD. He is currently undertaking an Entrepreneurship Programme from IIM, Rohtak, as he aims to establish his venture as a successful and self-sustaining business.
“More than half of the medical practitioners in India do not have any medical degree or license. Still millions of patients visit them every day simply because they have nowhere else to go. There are real life issues of access and affordability for the common man and we have invented a solution for this problem. We Invented a Virtual Physician named ‘ZINI’, that uses the power of AI and Machine learning, so that everyone everywhere can have access to correct advice whenever they need it,” says a visibly excited Dr. Sharma.
Dr. Sharma has every reason to be excited as ZINI is, in fact, an amazing product in the making. ZINI can literally figure out what could be the reason for those symptoms and then guides the patient accordingly. She tells the patient what they should do next and how serious could their condition be.
This could be a revolutionary technology for a densely populated country like India, which has just one doctor for every 10,926 citizens as per the country's current population estimate of 1.35 billion. With millions of our countrymen living in the interiors with no qualified medical practitioners nearby, an App like ZINI can work wonders and may emerge as a key technology that even the government could use to provide in the coming years.
“When one has to spend 2 hours travelling and then, wait in a line to see your doctor and finally don’t even get a minute of his time, this is just not fair. AI driven chatbots like ZINI can help in making genuine medical advice accessible and affordable for all,” elaborates Dr. Sharma.
Dr. Sharma wishes to create and invent things that will help the human race for generations to come and have a positive impact on the lives of all human beings on earth. He is inspired by the lives and works of great men like Nikola Tesla, Edward Jenner, Norman Borlaug, Cecilia Payne, Henry Ford and Elon Musk.
His startup, GRAINPAD, was awarded the ‘Best AI startup Award’ at the Global AI summit in 2019 by Prof. Ashutosh Mishra, Secretary, Department of Science and technology, Ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY). The company was also awarded the ‘Innovative idea of the year’ award at TiECON Chandigarh 2019.
Like most startups, Dr. Sharma bootstrapped his ambitious venture and had to convince people to work for free. He calls for the government to actively support such innovations and believes that India needs to focus attention on its 3S - Students, Startups and Scientists, and support them in every way possible. He insists that funding even one bright Student, or one devoted scientist, or one visionary startup can have a positive impact on billions of lives for centuries to come.
“I am lucky to have a team of young, inspired and passionate innovators who are driven by the same mindset. I want to give them the resources and environment to be able to perform to their full potential. The world desperately needs more dreamers and visionaries and we’re here to register our presence,” he adds further.
Currently, Dr. Sharma and his team are also working on Corona Mukt Bharat App — An App that analyses a person’s risk of infection based on their symptoms, and current location and then guides them with relevant info. They are also working on ROBODOC — an in-house, autonomous bot to transfer medicines and supplies as well as perform basic physician examination of patients.
Dr. Sharma is of the opinion that ‘AI Driven bots’ are now sufficiently advanced to give accurate primary healthcare advice and initial guidance to people and there is no limitation to multiplying them. His innovation becomes all the more relevant considering the fact that the ongoing corona pandemic and the need for social distancing will only make it more difficult for people to visit hospitals for a physician’s advice for small ailments and medical advice.
He believes that in future Autonomous ZINI OPDs would make such visits redundant and can be run with minimal human effort or skill set to provide healthcare services in remote villages, islands, spaceships, and even on newly colonized planets in the future. They can also be used in even our local urban societies as the first step in patient care and patient guidance.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.