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This past semester, UGBA 198 students have had the prodigious opportunity to work Intimately alongside Apollo Hospitals – Asia’s forerunner of integrated healthcare that is continually expanding its presence beyond the 120 countries that it currently operates in.  Apollo is renowned in the health industry for its development in telemedicine services, its role as the top eye surgery performer, its leading technology equipment, and its low mortality rate and costs. On Tuesday October 7th, as the sun slowly set in California and gently rose in India, students of UGBA 198 presented their app ideas to a team of executives representing the organization. The panel included Dr. Mandeep Singh, Director of Medical Services of Apollo, as well as Dr. T.S. Reddy, Director of Educational Institutions of Apollo. Through a videoconference set up by Skype, students were able to pitch their ideas in real time – and as a result, benefit from the immediate feedback and critique from these esteemed professionals. Four teams presented their ideas in total, each having a different idea targeting a different issue in the healthcare industry. For example, while one team specifically chose to target the elderly in India, another chose to spearhead the many issues related to cardiovascular diseases in today’s world.

After each presentation, the team of Indian healthcare experts offered their own input and advice to help refine student ideas. Perhaps most valuable was their ability to offer rich and relevant cultural insights – both within and beyond the Indian medical industry. After the student presentations were finished, Jim Spohrer, director of IBM University Programs (IBM UP) and Cognitive Systems Institute, and Vijay Gupta, also called in to offer their invaluable feedback on the given ideas.

As a whole, Tuesday’s unique collaboration of experts from around the world will surely give UGBA 198 students a competitive advantage as they move forward in the overall IBM Watson student competition. With these experts’ indispensable feedback and critique at hand, UGBA 198 students will be able to better gauge both the cultural relevancy and actual industry viability of their ideas in the real world.


By Timothy C. Young