CEO and Managing Director—GRAINPAD Private Limited (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohitsharma1566/)
- Tell us something about your journey as an entrepreneur.
In my journey, all I have learned is that Entrepreneurship teaches you the real lessons of life, and that are Persistence, Patience, and Surrender at the same time. You have to love the process and the journey and not dwell on the results too much, try your best to achieve them. Whatever you do, do it with love, do it the best you can. Love the process, Be persistent, never give up but at the same time, do not stress or burn yourself out for the sake of quick results or be too stressed when things are not working out. Striking a delicate balance of this wisdom is what entrepreneurship is all about. Some other important lessons are finding an equally passionate team with the same vision. Once you have your mission in place, the right team to work with good company culture, things will manifest. One advice I will give future entrepreneurs is to always have in mind a clear picture of the future they see with their product and think backward on how every step will take them to the next one. Having a good mentor in your team, pro bono, or equity-based can be a great boon and save you the most valuable asset a company has, and that is TIME. Entrepreneurship is for those who can shift the focus from ‘if something is possible’ to ‘how to make it possible’.
2. Why you have developed ZINI and what are the major challenges in adopting this technology?
I started with this project with an observation. An observation while working in Corporate hospitals. I noticed people have very low awareness on health topics. When someone gets sick, they have absolutely no idea, what’s wrong and what to do next. The best contact they have for any kind of information is either a local chemist, a friend who they think may know something, or our holy Google in charge. All of which provide a lot of misinformation and cause a lot of unwanted delay in seeking the right care. The problem is worse with the poor strata. A chemist won’t entertain them. A “Rehri Vendor” has no one to ask, what to do ?”. I wanted to solve this problem. I wanted a future where Everyone can have access to genuine medical advice whenever they need it, from a reliable source. And with this vision, I set out to build a great team that thinks the same way. Fortunately, I did finally find a great team and the rest as they say is history.
When it comes to challenges I believe capital is the greatest challenge of every founder in our nation. With sheer grit and determination, we can achieve everything but not capital. That is a challenge we all face.
3. Why it is very difficult to convince people to use new healthcare technology?
Healthcare is a very sensitive and important domain. People want accurate and reliable information. They do not want to play with their health 1 bit. Building trust takes time, a lot of campaigning and support from Key influencers like doctors and health officials. Healthcare is a Web of many intricately interwoven stakeholders, each with their own vested interests, biases, and concerns. When a new technology comes, existing stakeholders come on high alert to make sure their interests are not disturbed and that is what resists any change. This is also the reason why the healthcare sector has not shown any massive improvement in decades. In addition, it is a heavily regulated industry, you cannot just send anything to the market. Then come biases of human doctors, who although have best intentions for their patients are mostly unable to separate their concern from their Bias and Ego. The subconscious fear that such technologies will ‘undermine’ their value and importance makes them feel offended at the first thought of such technologies and straight away reject such solutions. Many would just be offended, criticize, and ridicule such technologies out of sheer personal bias forgetting how these can be a boon for the patients. Ask a robotic surgeon vs a laparoscopic surgeon vs an Open surgery expert which method is the best and you will hear, ‘My method is the best, there is no need for the other way’, from most but a few. My question to these doctors is, what will be their view if instead of making bots, we somehow suddenly created millions of human doctors, and I bet they will oppose that as well. It is not the patient care mostly that objects these solutions, it is their fear of losing importance. Lack of policies around new technologies is another reason that causes a delay in the implementation of these solutions. What we need is a progressive approach where different stakeholders work together for the betterment of patient care and patient experience and a government that makes sure none of the stakeholders lose their interests, although, not at the cost of patient care. Patient care comes first, always.
4. AI-based technology may have some biases that may give rise to false positive and false-negative results. Have you encountered any such challenges with ZINI?
The way AI solutions work is that they learn like humans from observations around them. These observations come from digital data, which may be structured and labeled or unlabeled raw data. And just like humans, these AI algorithms are fallible. No AI will ever be 100% correct in making predictions or decisions. Like a child learns how to walk or a human learns how to drive, AI learns from datasets using a multitude of mathematical techniques. And just like humans, they will make mistakes. AI is not to create an omniscient entity that is always right, it is to make an entity that is at par or better than humans in making predictions, that can make use of a multitude of factors at a time, more efficiently than humans and also that can do a massive amount of work in a short span of time. The purpose of AI is to improve efficacy, reach and performance, and save costs and time in an existing process. When you ask Alexa to play a song, the AI may not always catch your accent, but it is more convenient than going to the device and pressing some buttons, When you see recommendations on youtube based on your past behavior, it is better than filling a form and finding vague suggestions that you may not like, similarly it is better to have a bot analyze 1000s of images in minutes rather than have a waiting line of 2 days to get a report on your MRI scan. And for that matter with ZINI, it is better to create a bot and make it available everywhere rather than spending billions of dollars and 10s of years to add just 1 new doctor to the workforce.
5. How ZINI is different from Google-based search of any disease? We often see people typing their symptoms for self-diagnosing any problem they may have.
This is a very common question we get. So the most important and obvious difference is that googling is not a conversation. When you type have cough in google, it won’t ask you back, ‘Is the cough dry or productive?’ what’s the color of our sputum, Did you come in contact with someone with similar symptoms, Do you also have a fever, what’s the severity of that fever, etc. Google is a passive 1-way query about what you think is relevant to the search, ZINI is a 2-way conversation with an AI who is trained and knows what more needs to be asked to figure out the cause of your symptoms. ZINI asks back relevant questions, runs a thorough interview, and then is able to figure out the possible cause of the symptoms. And Based on all the information collected she gives useful suggestions and timely guidance on what should ideally be done next. Google search won’t do that. You may read some articles on cough, you may read some forums, and you may end up more confused than what you started with.
6. Do you think AI based technology can also be used in case of emergency situation?
AI can be used in making predictions, making decisions, and taking actions. In emergency situations, AI Models can help in predicting the possible outcome of a case depending upon multiple variables. This can help in decision-making. Going to which health facility can be most helpful. Which procedure can be most helpful. Better than managing an emergency I believe AI Models can help prevent such emergencies by providing individualized care to patients, suggesting a personalized healthy lifestyle or preventing road mishaps by adopting driverless cars, etc.
7. Tell us something about what you like to do in your free time?
Mostly I love to learn new things. Cosmology, Comics, Astrology, Stock markets, and technological developments in Biotech, AI and medicine are some of the things that interest me a lot. I love infotainment a lot. Learning new things with an entertaining touch is what I enjoy the most in my free time.