OFF INTO THE WILD WET YONDER How does this...
It has been estimated that roughly half of India’s population is required to travel over 100 kilometers (60 miles) when in need of “higher level” healthcare.
This dire situation is what startup Karma Healthcare Ltd. is attempting to address, using information and communications technology (ICT) to bring affordable healthcare to India’s rural poor. The company received funding from Ankur Capital in April as well as additional funding from Ennovent Impact Investment Holding more recently.
Co-founder and CEO Jagdeep Gambhir states, “We strive to improve the availability and quality of healthcare services in rural areas and provide formal healthcare facilities to the doorsteps. Being a low Capex (capital expenditure) model, the company can expand rapidly once strong systems and processes are in place.”
So how does Karma Healthcare do what it does? Telemedicine.
This is where a local nurse or health worker consults with the patient, takes note of the symptoms, and then uses an Android tablet to set up consultation with a doctor, where they can translate or explain the doctor’s diagnosis in the local dialect.
The nurse can even operate as the doctor’s “hands” when need be and perform any necessary tests, which can then be sent on to a nearby city for further evaluation. And doctors can refer patients to a specialist. This is considerable as it allows for the arrangement of easier and cheaper transportation, as the patient does not need to go and look (randomly) for a doctor in an area they are perhaps unfamiliar with. According to Tech in Asia, having to do just that often results in the “selection of inappropriate and expensive medical facilities and delay in accurate diagnosis, thereby increasing disease complexity and financial burden.”
Using wireless printers, doctors are able to prescribe medicines, which the nurse can prepare and provide to the patient after explaining proper dosage and cautions.
Prior to Karma Healthcare, Rajasthan was just another poor desert area with no real modern medical care infrastructure. Within just a year, four healthcare centers are now operating within the region, providing villagers with access to specialized treatments while eliminating the need to travel long distances to receive care.
With the new funding that Karma Healthcare received, the company will be able to further expand its business, which to date has already helped over 6,000 patients.
H/T: Tech in Asia