March 5, 2018 Source: Financial Express 135
Digital divide is the stark reality in a country like India and this is accentuated in a segment like healthcare where citizens in metro cities have the access to best of the medical services while those in rural or remote locations suffer from the lack of dependable healthcare services.
In a drive towards bringing the best of healthcare services to people staying in rural areas, Jayakishor Banja has launched his start-up called HealthBot. In a market where there are numerous healthcare start-ups, Banja has ensured a differentiation with the creation of a technology platform which is simple to use while effective in delivering the services.
“We have developed an Internet of Things (IoT) collaboration platform where we are able to seamlessly connect the doctors with the patients,” said Banja. HealthBot has positioned itself as a care management firm where there is greater degree of personalisation unlike other platforms which act largely as a via medium between the doctors and patients.
Banja, who has been a technologist for over two decades, realised that people staying in remote locations find it an uphill task to reach a healthcare centre which, by default are towns or cities located far away. He also understood that it was futile to sell his devices to healthcare practitioners as it was not serving the purpose and went about setting up his own clinics. Today, HealthBot, besides creating a software-defined technology platform has also built a host of medical devices like sugar monitoring, BP, BMI which are part of this setup. It has set up two clinics of its own in Ganjam district of Odisha with doctors on its rolls.
According to Banja, HealthBot had to undertake several local marketing initiatives to make the people aware of the presence of such clinics. “We have put up affordable healthcare services locations in areas where others fear to tread,” Banja said. The only prerequisite that HealthBot has is that the location should have a basic internet connection.
The setting up of these clinics also allows HealthBot to have in-depth information about the background of the patients, thereby reducing any lag in the diagnosis. HealthBot charges a fee from the patients for accessing its services. It is also now connected to the doctors in the larger cities and towns, in case the patient requires specialist care or needs to approach a tertiary healthcare centre.
After successfully launching HealthBot, Banja is now looking beyond the rural healthcare spectrum. He is now in talks with the Odisha government to take his healthcare model across the state. “We have tied up with Odisha government where we want to improve the outcome the state’s healthcare services,” he said.
The partnership with Odisha government is focused on monitoring the health of malnourished children. HealthBot is able to bring about 360-degree monitoring of the health of these children through its IoT platform and connected devices, with information collected in a centralised location. There are also plans to get into the areas of adolescent nutrition and healthcare of expectant mothers.
HealthBot, which has been a bootstrapped start-up till now, has expansion plans on the anvil. It has plans to set up around 250 clinics across Odisha in another two years time. “Once we have the critical mass in terms of number of patients, we can start to engage with the large hospitals,” Banja said.
HealthBot’s unique business proposition has been that it has turned the healthcare model upside down, where as the founder says, “Now I am going to the doctors and asking them whether he will see the patients.”By Ddu
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