January 2012

Affordable Healthcare for All

Even though the planning commission has increased its spending on health from 1.2 percent of GDP to 2.4percent in the next Five Year Plan, the health sector clearly needs more innovative methods for deliveringhealthcare at affordable prices. mHealth offers one such method by combining IT and Telecom with crediblehealthcare delivery. Mediphone tele triage service by HealthFore, in partnerhip with Airtel, is one suchinnovation.

Any study of the state and reach of healthcare in India,and many developing nations, paints a grim picture.Most statistics prove that despite the phenomenalgrowth seen in the industry, it remains out of bounds for large parts of the population. Out of reach mostly because of lack offacilities outside of cities, and even when present, out of reachdue to the inability of patients to pay.HealthFore, a division of Religare technologies, launchedits mHealth offering, Mediphoneâ„¢ in partnership with Airtel inMarch 2011.

About the Service

Mediphones 24X7 voice based tele-triage service, offers Airtelmobile customers the ability to get doctors advice over thephone. The solution was created with the objectives of

  • Improving access to medical/ health advice,
  • Facilitating the most appropriate use of medical/ healthfacilities,
  • Providing health advice anywhere the mobile can reach,at an affordable price.

In order to avail of the service, an Airtel mobile customer cancall 5-44-45 from anywhere in India. The caller will be guidedby a short IVR, where a confirmation on the charges will besought (per call consultancy is priced at an introductory priceof ` 15/-). On confirmation the caller is connected to a qualifiedhealth professionals (accredited doctors and nurses) whowill go through a protocol based symptom taking process; this is the essential step, since all advice is based on the givensymptoms. Once all the symptoms are captured, the transcriptis transferred to a doctor, who studies it and formulates theadvice, which is then sent to the caller as a SMS along withinformation on medication, dosage and duration. Callers alsohave the option of getting the advice on email. All SMS/ emailscontain the attending doctors name and registration number.

Mediphone the Journey

The Mediphoneâ„¢ tele-triage service was conceptualized inearly 2010. The team realized early on that for a service like thisto be commercially successfully, it not only has to be affordablebut also credible and trusted. Service of this nature had to have a robust application platform that ensures reliability andconsistency. HealthFore selected Medibank Health SolutionsCECC platform for this purpose a clinical triage solution thathas been in use for over 25 years in Australia, NZ and US, bothby the government, as well as by private healthcare deliveryorganizations.

HealthFore then partnered with Airtel, the largest mobile telephonycompany in India with over 173 million subscribers,
and together devised a phased roadmap for launching Mediphone.

Phase 1 Proof of Concept: In January 2011, the servicewas test launched internally for the employee base of Religareand Airtel. The objective was to test the scale and iron out anyservice/ platform deficiencies.

Phase 2 Soft Launch: In March 2011 Mediphone waslaunched in Haryana, to establish the business model and discoverthe key drivers and demographics for the service.

Phase 3 Going Public: The public launch of the servicein Hindi/English started in August 2011 for 11 Hindi speaking
states in North India.

Future Roadmap

There are many initiatives planned for Mediphone, foremostamong them is the addition of more language options in orderto get a larger acceptance in India. The team is also working atcreating an internet offering of the service and expanding it tooffer a video based consult.

About HealthFore

HealthFore is a division of Religare Technologies focused onhealthcare with the core purpose of being a provider of choicein delivering integrated healthcare solutions using innovativeplatforms enabled by ICT. It is uniquely positioned to offertransformational B2B and B2C solutions to both healthcareproviders and consumers; solutions built on leading edgetechnology and backed by significant domain expertise.

HealthFores Magnum suite of products provide feature richHIS and RIS¬PACS solutions, which span the entire clinical,administrative and back office functions of clinics, labs andhospitals. Magnum solutions are currently supporting healthcareproviders in 11 countries. HealthFores Tele-Health platformsprovide consumers in India, round the clock access to healthcare information, counselling and consulting, through telephonyand internet. These technology-enabled platforms aimto address the challenging issues of healthcare awareness,accessibility and affordability that plague the country today.

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