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NEW DELHI : Diagnostics--one of the major elements of India’s strategy in combating covid-19 pandemic was once a background speciality, which only few could recognise that it would grow leaps and bounds in future.  

The inaugural edition of HT NxT, a leadership platform to address key topics that are pertinent to today’s generation on Thursday brought on board Dr Naveen Dang, Director of Dr Dangs Lab, New Delhi who started Dr Dangs Lab in 1985 and his son Dr Arjun Dang who is the CEO of Dr Dangs Lab which is currently one of the noted labs in the country. 

 The theme of this year’s Summit is ‘Leading the change’ had a session on healthcare, technology and entrepreneurship in the diagnostics segment which aimed to bring two different perspectives from two different generations but from the same family. Dr Naveen is known for pioneering quality in the field of diagnostics in India and Dr Arjun is shouldering the responsibility from the front during the most testing times in the covid-19 pandemic. 

 “In 1980s, in Delhi, there were only four private hospitals and only a handful of labs. The demand of diagnostic test was increasing and it used to take a long time for the reports to be ready and delivered. As days rolled, I realized that the future lay in infectious diseases. Infectious diseases were going to become a problem," said Dr Naveen Dang. 

Dr Naveen thew light on how the business has changed over the years but he has never taken the job has his business.  “People often ask me what is the trick of the trade. This is not a trade for me. My greatest satisfaction has been my satisfied patients," he said.  

"It has been a fantastic journey because in a way this is what I wanted that patient should be aware that they are getting the best possible reports. The patient now has become extremely conscious of the quality of reports," said Dr Naveen Dang. 

When asked about his success, he said that he has never bothered about having awards or rewards. The idea was to serve the people, he said calmly. Having seen decades in the diagnostics industry, Dr Naveen has realised that one should embrace technology but one should not let the new technologies bypass them. 

His son has experimented with all new technologies as a testimony to how the new generation can bring in change to an existing and successful business. Dr Arjun set up India’s first drive thru centre for sample collection for Covid 19 patients. Dr Arjun has been awarded the Hindustan Times TRAILBLAZER 2021 award for innovations during the covid-19 pandemic. 

The Indian laboratory diagnostics industry, estimated at USD 6 billion, is growing at a rate of 13–14% per annum. As per estimates, with more than 1 lakh labs in India, the industry is highly fragmented and the largest of the organised players has a market share of less than 15%.  

 “It was way back in 2016 when I was in London, while in the process of completing my fellowship in liver pathology when two distinct paths clearly lay before me. One, to continue in the UK and the other was to return home and carry the legacy forward. I chose the latter knowing very well that I had huge shoes to fill, but at the same time having a crystal clear decision of wanting to make a difference .. I chose to bring home my education and experience and with it build further," said Dr Arjun. 

For him, it has been an absolute rollercoster ride ever since the pandemic hit our country. “While there has been tremendous learning as the very Science if the pandemic has evolved, most of us have faced  extreme uncertainty in our day to day working," he said adding that people have dealt with tremendous losses with family and friends having been either affected or succumbed to the Covid 19 virus infection. 

Dr Arjun’s effort during this time was only to ensure that the lab’s reports went out as per Government mandated turn-around time. “We also could during this time provide our services to several studies being done," he said. 

When asked how does he try to be ahead of the rest, Dr Arjun said he said that there are no short cuts when it comes to quality. “Staying informed about best practices and keeping updated about new development across the globe is something that is a daily requirement in our field. The entire thought process of diagnostics actually and all the newer trends that go with it," he said. 

The secret sauce for the being ahead, Dr Arjun said is to focus on value over volumes and give perfection in the reports, all day everyday. “Also moving towards creating a patient centric ecosystem where exceptional integrated healthcare can be provided by leveraging technology and artificial intelligence to assist the team of doctors will help us keep an eye on the swinging cricket ball," he said. 

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