Saturday, July 23, 2011

Healthcare innovation

I participated in the open forum discussion on 'healthcare innovation models' organized by Innovation Alchemy at the Idiom DREAM:IN Centre in Indiranagar on 22nd July at 4.30 pm. Basically it was a platform to interact with the entrepreneurs who have developed innovative models in the healthcare sector. There were three presentations organized for the day and the entrepreneurs were all set with their content. 


It was a brilliant presentation from the founding team - Dr. Shantanu Rahman and Dr. Satish Jeevannanavar. First time I had heard about them was from one of the doctors I met during my bus journey a few months ago. It was a very interesting concept that caught my attention. NationWide is an initiative by a team of Indian doctors that are attempting to bring the 'Family Physician' or a 'Community doctor' model back into homes and neighborhoods.It was interesting to hear their story and the way they worked on the idea. And ofcourse it was triggered out of the fact that there is a huge demand at the ignored 'Bottom of the Pyramid'. But as of now they are looking for establishing themselves in the urban system, gain some credibility and then scale across to the grass roots. They also share the fact that Primary Healthcare is a much neglected sector in India and see a great need for accessible and affordable  facilities in cities. Although, if it was not their pricing model that was promising; but their intention to bring in the traditional 'Family physician'  back into the system. Right now they have 5 centres in the city (what they call it as hubs), each handling a volume of 12000-15000 population. Every main centre has 5 sub centres and 4-5 GPs run the show. Their one more strength is that they are planning to have all the patient records online. Online Medical History record reduces the time a GP has to go through the physical records when a patient visits them and also it will be very easily manageable. Like, once I register with them and undergo the initial check up and formalities, the record will be updated and will be accessible to me anytime with a secure password access. More information can be read on their site. 

My only concern was that all such innovations are happening and getting concentrated in the tier-1 cities. And where there is a huge need and gap, there is none. Even though they say that initially they want to establish themselves and become self sustainable (like what all others do), there is a huge poverty in thinking towards the grass root level. And those who are working at the grass roots are really very few and are struggling to fill the gap. Innovations at that level is the need of the hour. 

Anyway, since there is a need for such innovations in primary healthcare even in the cities, I will wish them good luck to establish themselves well and succeed in this entrepreneurial journey. I am very certain that they will do well and consider helping the real BOP. 

Please visit their website here: NationWideDocs


This was one of the finest presentations I've seen. Nandu Madhava, the founder of mDhil is a University of Texas, Austin [BBA] and Harvard Graduate [MBA], a TED India 2009 fellow and has volunteered with the Peace Corps [a brilliant successful initiative during the period of John F. Kennedy]  as a translator in health clinics.

mDhil provides basic healthcare information to the Indian consumer via text messaging, mobile web browser, and interactive digital content. It may sound simple but the need for such initiatives is huge. Health education plays a very important role and is being ignored by the wide majority of the people. Any initiative with respect to Health education will be accepted and will be sure enough to be a success. They have partnered with many mobile service providers like Airtel, Reliance etc and even partnered with huge pharmaceutical companies like Biocon. One can subscribe to their services through their mobile phones, they can ask questions, watch out videos on any health topic, they can learn about healthy food habits and more good stuff. They are actively promoting themselves on all the social networking sites like facebook and twitter

In the future, Nandu hopes to leverage on the 3G technology and wants to reach to as many people as he can. Launched in 2009, they have already got the initial success of 150,000 paid users subscribing through SMS. Their website is full of information and they own the complete content. They create the content on their own with a lot of good doctors on board and they also ensure accuracy of the information. 

When we questioned Nandu on leveraging the available information and providing the service across the rural areas in various regional languages, he said he will surely go for it. He said he is really looking forward to have all such services once the 3G takes over completely. It is absolutely a great venture and I really hope and wish Nandu and his team to do well. 

Please visit their interesting website here: mDhil

Idiom: Dream In

Its one of the finest auditoriums' i've seen in Bengaluru. And the owner/founder of the Idiom consulting Sonia presented to us on design in innovation. Since there was not much of time left, she had to wrap up the presentation very quickly. But the last video that she played grabbed our attention to all the brilliant stuff they are doing. 

It was a great show and brilliantly organized by Parvathi Menon and her Innovation Alchemy team. Will look forward to more such forums. They were actually live streaming the whole show. Good stuff!


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