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Domain Expertise Coupled With Tech Skills Has Nurtured Healthcare Careers

"Our endeavor is to upgrade skills in emerging technologies and provide a level playing field for everyone to compete and lead.": VP HR of Indegene

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Practicing doctors are powering the next leap in tech enabled healthcare. More than 500 doctors are working at Indegene, moving laterally into the corporate world to learn and unfold the wonders of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for better healthcare.

Bina Patil, VP-HR, Indegene talks to BW Businessworld touching on a number of aspects like the shift of doctors towards technology to bring out a better ecosystem of healthcare, women in technology; their growth and role in the workforce.    

Why are we witnessing professionals from healthcare sector move towards emerging technologies?

The emerging technologies of AI and ML can strongly influence health outcomes by solving complex challenges. Domain expertise coupled with augmented technology skills has resulted in a reboot of healthcare careers. Technology skills serve as key differentiators to collaborate across multiple stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem with an integrated approach. Indegene’s global workforce comprises 40 percent of medical domain experts alluding to this trend. Indegene’s Medical Technology group is the innovation hub that integrates next-gen technologies with the medical domain expertise.

One of the biggest advantages of medical experts in technology is that the IT industry is able to deliver knowledge-based and compliant solutions to the highly regulated pharma industry. 

For example, Dr. Saurabh Jain at Indegene, who started off as a medical practitioner,  has played an instrumental role in establishing digital channels and digital platforms to engage stakeholder across the healthcare and life sciences industry- a significant intervention of technology in the healthcare industry. Dr. Shubha Rao is another example. With an overall medical experience of 18 years, Dr. Shubha leads the Medical Technology group with her subject matter expertise, including harnessing Artificial Intelligence for positive health outcomes.

Why do we need to rethink about women in technology?

Indegene has equal representation of women in its workforce since its inception. This is an unconventional practice as far as the IT sector is concerned. Not only do we have women in the workforce, but we also have women leaders for several of our strategic business. Our endeavor is to upgrade skills in emerging technologies and provide a level playing field for everyone to compete and lead. Indegene’s Dr. Lincy Jaison is in charge of designing, upskilling and reskilling programs not limited to women but the entire workforce. This helps integrate technology with medical domain expertise. Ritu Kohli is another stalwart in Indegene’s big data analytics team, amongst several other examples of women in tech leadership roles at Indegene. 

Dr. Anitha Kumari, a dental surgeon by profession, who heads the Medical Solutions business unit at Indegene transformed her business unit by listening and acting on women Issues such as improving work-life balance and special conversations with returning mothers. Through her unique approach, she has retained many women employees to stay and continue with their career. Our Employee satisfaction survey also highlights that the employees are happier when they are listened to and when someone is there to specifically understand women issues.

For every 100 men promoted to manager, just 79 women are promoted to managerial roles. Why is gender diversity not a priority for leaders? When can we see the number improving?

Indegene is already amongst the top employers of women in tech and playing its part well to promote women to leadership roles. Indegene’s pay and promotion policy is transparent and merit-based. Indegene is one of the highest rated companies on Glassdoor. It is listed amongst the Working Mother and Avtar Best Companies for Women in India, according to the surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018.

Where do practicing women doctors play a role in technology helping Indegene bringing out the transformation in healthcare?

Indegene’s digital transformation portfolio for the healthcare industry is based on its ATOM capability - big data analytics, technology solutions, large scale global operations management and excellence and medical expertise. Indegene is able to deliver innovative pharma – physician-patient engagement solutions at scale and compliant with various region-specific regulatory requirements with a large pool of medical specialists in addition to its deep tech expertise in an integrated manner. Medical domain experts are both men and women in Indegene’s workforce.

More than half of the women quitting their job never return to work. Is it the lack of opportunities and growth prospects that women find challenging when returning to the workforce? 

Our Focus has been to build the support systems which help women restart their careers at Indegene. This includes the Daycare facilities; professional counselor sessions and Women Leadership Talks. We extensively have our women leaders who act as inspirational role models for our employees. Our Women leaders go beyond their role as business leaders and play a key role in retaining and developing our women talent.

We couple this with well-charted policies for returning mothers including work-life balance sessions and flexi hours. Added to this is our women networking forum- Diva, a platform for lively and honest interactions, exchange of ideas, guidance and suggestions from fellow colleagues who have tread the path before.

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women in tech Healthcare technology doctors workforce