Airtel, India’s largest mobile phone operator, has recently tied-up with Religare Technologies, a company controlled by promoters of the Fortis hospital chain, to offer healthcare solutions and guidance over telephone.
By paying an introductory tele-consultation fee of Rs 15 a call, Airtel customers can get basic medical guidance on non-emergency health problems through this service, 24 hours, seven days a week. Airtel charges just 50p for this call.
With a customer base of 173 million, Airtel’s latest value addition is expected to provide a productive platform for Religare to promote their e-health service. Says the latter’s senior vice-president, healthcare IT, Nitin Goyal, “Mobile health is an interesting area, with tremendous growth potential. The play is huge. We plan to build a credible base through this exclusive partnership.”
Airtel is not the first to introduce a mobile health scheme in the country, a recent trend. Some months earlier, telecom operators Aircel and Idea had launched a similar service in association with the Apollo Hospital group-promoted Healthnet Global. Such tie-ups are increasingly seen as a good value addition for telecom companies and a business opportunity for healthcare providers.