Gramin Healthcare is India’s first start-up dedicated to support and bring primary health care services and access to specialist care in rural area through various health camps, collaborations and partnership with a global leader in health care services.
India is a growing economy and the agglomeration of resources through one channel is not a pragmatic approach. With around 700 million population devoid of access to specialist care and almost a million dying every year due to inadequate health care facilities, we as a nation have worst case scenario in health care services.
This challenge is to cater to the deserving underserved community of Tier 4 locations and below which need due attention. Public health services have done poorly even along the income distribution dimension. According to a study, the poorest 20% of the population captures only 10% of the public health subsidy as compared to 30% by the richest 20%. The share in the subsidy rises monotonically as we move from the bottom 20%. The discrepancy and poor implementation of budget allocation have left a stark gap in rural and urban health care services. With India ascending the health care services on the tertiary level and becoming the new face of global medical tourism, it dampens the zeal to notice the staggering figure of major gamut being unable to access affordable primary health care services which are necessary for the development of the nation.
Mr. Ajoy Khandheria, an entrepreneur evangelist, fueled with a passion for transforming the face of primary health care scenario took an initiative and laid the foundation of Gramin Health Care with a simple vision to revolutionize the health care delivery mechanism and provide affordable services in the under-served market.
In late 2016, after the initial success of Gramin’s first operational healthcare kiosk, the project caught the eye of IFFCO Group who saw an opportunity to partner with Gramin Health Care to provide affordable quality healthcare at their planned IFFCO Bazar Centers in 1000 locations pan India.
IFFCO teamed up with Gramin Health Care to boost the initiative with the purpose of enhancing the quality of life of people living in rural India by providing them with affordable and high quality medical services, life products & experiences closer to their homes.
It is a both manned and digitised healthcare clinic and anyone from the underserved community can walk in, get a proper diagnosis, a subsidized doctor consultation, and gain access to branded high quality reliable medicines through its advanced assisted medicine technology platform.
These kiosks have a nurse who conducts a physical examination and connects with the online doctor by live audio or video feed through GHC Tech Platform. The doctor, if required, can ask the nurse to connect the patient to a tele diagnostics kit which provides the live access of necessary patient vitals to the doctor through the platform who can then provide consultation and prescribe medicines if necessary. The whole process doesn’t take more than 15 minutes!
Gramin Health Care has opened more than 100 operational kiosks across 6 states. These kiosks are located within IFFCO Bazaar centres, in Tier 3 and Tier 4 rural areas and see 15-20 villagers walk in and leave everyday sharing their smiles and blessings.
“It wasn’t easy in the beginning”, as Sonia Vohra, Head of Operations puts it, “Given the price sensitivity of target audience, just to be able to break even a kiosk was a challenge. That said, by imparting patient education and awareness through Village Panchayats, hiring a local ANM and by participating in the social fibre of those villages, we managed to build an image of a quality but affordable healthcare provider. Also, IFFCO’s brand image helped.”
Gramin Health Care’s strategy too has evolved with time. Ajoy adds, “Initially, the focus was on kiosks and assisted medicine only, but soon we realised that while kiosks would help in patient discovery and providing immediate primary diagnosis, a poor villager has to still travel 20 kilometres to get something as simple as an X-ray done or to get even basic nursing services.” To this end, Gramin Health Care is in the process of opening its first Polyclinic health care centre, an upgraded kiosk that will have a fully equipped diagnosis lab, a pharmacy, a special care unit, overnight bed facility, eye care facility and access to all the basic hospital services.
The technology behind Gramin, although at a pilot stage, can connect patients with specialised doctors, pharmacies, diagnostic labs and insurance providers with a touch of a button. “Every small detail in the process is recorded which becomes a part of the Electronic Health Record of a patient,” explains Sonia. Further, a patient’s electronic health care record, with the consent of the patient, can be shared with any interested party, such as, an insurance company, making the whole process completely cashless and paperless.
Currently, the team has over 1.5 Lakh health records of patients spread across the country. Apart from generating these invaluable health records, the team plans to open 4000 kiosks and 1000 health centres (polyclinics) in next 5 years with a vision to provide quality healthcare to rural population at a cost they can afford, at a distance they can travel and with the dignity they deserve.