Skip to main content

The real India- mHealth and beyond ICT


After spending 20 days on-ground with PHCs and while supporting some of the major initiatives in India, I was tempted to do some cut-throat analysis. I realized that 25% of the total Income generated in India is in the hands of mere 100 rich families. What's more! this huge gap is increasing day by day. After independence, the valley has only widened up between the rich and the poor and the growth that we envisage is still miles away from the hands of a common man.


Photograph courtesy @Shashwat Nagpal
Over 72%  (that would be over 620 million) of India’s population lives in its 638,588 villages. It is hard to believe but in India, a common man is most indebted to healthcare after dowry. Most families earn less than $1/day and some of the major initiatives by NGOs suffer as there is so much distrust about Government policies and efforts in the country.

In villages, healthcare in India still starts from Security, clean drinking water, better sanitation facilities and good roads. Then comes the demand for basic access to healthcare. ...

There is 1 doctor per 1000 people, but there are 3.3 million NGOs, i.e. 1 NGO per less than 400 people in India. As per 2011 stats (World Bank), the % of GDP contributed to healthcare in India is 4.2. We are laggards and countries like Afghanistan (7.8%), Yemen Rep.(5.2%), Uganda (9%), Nepal (5.5%) are doing much better than us. The count of NGOs is many times the number of primary schools and primary health centers in India. My intention here is not to blame the Government here but to help understand the ground realities better.

Most of India’s estimated 1.2 billion people have to pay for medical treatment out of their own pockets (That is more than 80% of the total health expenditure as per 2011 stats) . According to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry- Less than 15% of the population in India today has any kind of health-care cover, be it community insurance, employers’ expenditure, social insurance etc. One of the major reasons that India’s poor incur debt is the cost of health care. Ajay Bakshi, a good friend and CEO of Max Healthcare mentioned, "We charge our patients about $400 to $500 per night in our hospital. But rather than treat one million customers at this rate, how do we instead treat 100 million customers at $10 per patient? The move from a high-ticket, low-volume operation to a low-ticket, high-volume operation is very difficult. Nobody in our industry knows how to do this.”

The question hence is, Can mHealth bring down healthcare costs? Is it a far-flung reality for the common man or feasible? The answer is YES. Here I am mentioning one such Case study that will help us understand the revolution mHealth can bring to India's otherwise waning healthcare system.


E-HealthPoint- E-Health Point combines water and wireless to provide healthcare in rural India- E Health Points (EHP) are units owned and operated by Healthpoint Services India (HSI) that provide families in rural villages with clean drinking water, medicines, comprehensive diagnostic tools, and advanced tele-medical services that bring a doctor and modern, evidence-based healthcare to their community. They provided 4 basic things:
1. Rural broadband
2. Good telemedical software
3. Modern point-of-care diagnostics mobile diagnostics
4.  Cheap water treatment

This is a for-profit social enterprise. They pay their doctors about 30,000 INR per month.  They pay their village health workers as well.  They pay their unit staff that they hire and train from the village.  They also re-cover those costs with patient fees.That's what's amazing - that they were able to do a reasonably good service, in an area where there wasn't any, and make enough to cover their costs.  That's what's revolutionary - that it's sustainable.

To be continued..Ideas welcome..If you wish to share your views via our questionnaire, Take our Survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/88HTCN2


References: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.TOTL.ZS
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/first-official-estimate-an-ngo-for-every-400-people-in-india/643302/1
http://www.telecomtv.com/comspace_newsDetail.aspx?n=49444&id=e9381817-0593-417a-8639-c4c53e2a2a10

Popular posts from this blog

Royal Society of Medicine elected Dr Ruchi Dass Fellow

Popular Health Technology Author and Founder, HealthCursor Consulting Group Dr. Ruchi V Dass elected Royal Society of Medicine Honorary Fellow in the United Kingdom. (Photo courtesy of Ruchi Dass)

Joining some of the elite names among scientists and physicians, Health Technology Author and Business Icon Ruchi Dass has been elected as a fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine in the United Kingdom.

Dass is a renowned Physician and has worked with development organisation across the world driving technology driven public health initiatives. She is the Founder of the consulting group HealthCursor, and Author of several journals, including her upcoming book on “Big Data in Healthcare” with Springer.

Dr Dass wrote a book on “Innovations in Healthcare” that was unveiled by the Honourable President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee in 2013. Dr. Ruchi Dass was listed amongst Most Powerful and Influential leaders in IT by Information week in 2013 and also received INTEROP’s “Women leader” recogni…

The Formula of Driver and Demand- Indian Startups story

The healthcare industry is currently experiencing change at an unprecedented rate. Change is not only occurring in the technology used in diagnostics and care delivery, but this change is so fundamental that it could, and likely will, fundamentally alter the business model of the industry.
Today we have fitness bands, healthcare apps, appointment schedulers, health chats and several such means to access healthcare but one thing that all of this does not necessarily correlate with high quality of care or better outcomes. We need to understand that “Not even a Ferrari will get us to our destination without a driver.”Formula of Driver:
Driver = (Need + Incentive) where;
Incentive = (Value + Reward) Need = (Gap + Demand)
To define the best drivers, we need to first address the need. Need might not make economic or business sense but it is the best opportunity to leave an impact. No one remembers how much business a “Mughal-e-Azam” or “Usual suspects” did but everyone remembers that these were…