Rustom Lawyer | Augnito
Rustom Lawyer, Co-Founder & CEO of Augnito, has spent close to two decades in the healthcare industry. An MBA in Entrepreneurship from American InterContinental University (London) and an Executive Education from Harvard Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, Rustom is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Scribetech, the UK’s first medical transcription BPO and a leading provider to the National Health Service (NHS) in Software and Services. He is currently driving forward momentum for his new initiative Augnito, an Artificial Intelligence and Voice Recognition SaaS product that’s transforming clinical workflows across major health systems and markets. “Augnito is the result of almost a decade’s R&D to achieve a superior level of accuracy required for healthcare”, says Rustom, underlining the essence of his idea.
We begin my digging around the fundamentals. So what is the big need gap his venture is addressing? What makes it a game-changer / need-of-the-hour? The idea leader opens up candidly, “COVID-19 has forced organisations to adapt to the new normal with a lean mindset. Now, more than ever, healthcare providers require incredibly efficient processes for medical reporting to minimise human intervention and inadvertent error. This will allow doctors to sustain dynamic working hours with the ability to work from home as well.”
After spending close to two decades developing ScribeTech, a pioneering healthcare BPO and clinical documentation software business for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), Rustom wanted to leverage his expertise and escalate the process of automation in the Indian Healthcare market. And that, in a sense, let to the genesis of Augnito. He returned to India in 2007 and triggered the new journey soon afterward.
The big turning point or ‘Eureka moment’, so to speak, happened during his time at Harvard Business School in 2012. Recalls Rustom, “Interacting with my professors and meeting with some of the greatest minds was a catalyst for me to disrupt India’s healthcare. Manifesting this idea and pivoting from a BPO business to innovate Augnito and of course, never looking back thereon.”
Augnito has successfully fulfilled this emerging demand of the new normal. “Made In India” in the truest sense of the term and customized acutely for the Indian market and ethos, here is a product whose time has come. After all, Augnito incorporates ‘Human-Centred Design principles’ to understand and deliver solutions for the unique demands and needs of the Indian psyche, and the challenges doctors face in this country.
The idea is disruptive, farsighted and expansive enough to ride a clear blue sky strategy at this moment. With an in-built versatility and potential that is technically limitless and genuinely exciting, the team isn’t too worried about competition or roadblocks. Explains the idea driven leader, “We are the only Indian company to provide such an advanced voice technology that services healthcare. Our biggest USP and differentiator is, simply put, accuracy. Our services have been meticulously tested to match up to the calibre of global technology leaders. This has been a great motivator and RTB (Reason-To-Believe) for leading Indian hospital systems to choose Augnito. Our parent company Scribetech is already a pioneer of medical documentation in the country, and has paved the way for Augnito’s success in Indian healthcare. You could therefore say that we have leveraged proprietary and proven best practices – a special blend of insight and wisdom that can only come from being a leader in a category or space which in our case is international BPO / market - to design a seamless onboarding and support experience.”
Before you can disrupt your industry, you need to have a disruptive point of view. That’s what separates true leaders from merely successful businessmen and women. So how would Rustom like to describe his driving passion and vision? What makes him get up in the morning, as it were?
The idea architect responds reflectively, “Helming an organisation which thrives entirely on invention, the key driver for me, is the daily opportunity to grow, interact and collaborate with some of the best minds in the world, who continuously challenge their own benchmarks and inspire me to follow suit.”
So what have been the headwinds like? And what were the experiences and learnings picked up along the bends and turns a journey as eventful as his must have featured? Rustom is happy to share the pearls of wisdom with us, “Entrepreneurship entails uncertainty. As with anyone embarking on this journey, I have also faced several setbacks. However, each challenge has proved to be a valuable addition to my skill set.”
Rustom articulates his key learnings from over three decades of business experience through four simple, yet powerful, mantras:
1) Never give up
3) Pivot as per adversities
4) Thrive and stay aligned with your vision.
For leaders who are self-driven, the chase of the dream is reward enough. For Rustom and his team, though, fulfilment and motivation keeps flowing in through other channels and avatars as well. He continues, “Recently, we have been awarded the Abdul Kalam Technology Innovation National Fellowship as an industrial partner for advanced research in healthcare along with Professor Pushpak Bhattacharyya (IIT Bombay), a leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) scientist in the country.”
How would you like to be remembered? What would he want your legacy to be, in other words? Rustom is humble but resolute as he tries to quench our curiosity: “I want to be remembered as a key driver of leveraging technology to create an impact. I want Augnito to drive global invention and innovation while building a global brand in healthcare technology, from India. We want to become the default standard of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in India.”
We continue to pick the man’s fertile mind. What does he see when he peers into the windshield? What’s in store – both for his product and the industry? The excitement he feels for the oncoming future is both evident and infectious, and Rustom shares expansively…
“I believe we are on the cusp of a revolution in speech recognition and natural language processing. In the next five years, Augnito will emerge as a leading voice interface driving software in hospitals across the country, akin to the growth of Intel inside. We believe India is all set to become one of the best incubators for AI. We are a massive untapped market with a young and dynamic population of computer scientists, engineers and designers who have the confidence to build world-class software made in India, for the world. We’ve only just begun!”
*This story is published by VOH team*
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