Computers Can Talk To The PaperNovember 29, 2016
Do Less To Achieve MoreAugust 22, 2017
Healthcare and healthcare facilities come with a hefty price tag. Building one such facility in a developing country could bring some added complications with it.
Viraj eyecare, a platform looking to provide affordable eyecare to the people in need in developing countries. The list of options seeming viable was very limited. They could either partner with established hospitals to open new clinics in their facilities or build one themselves. Both the options involved big investments, complicated negotiations and dealing with challenges of working in developing economies.
That’s when we decided to look for the root cause and study the real patient.
Cataract and Glaucoma have spread their wings more widely than we care to acknowledge. The undiagnosed cases of such disabling eye problems are rampant not only in remote locations in developing countries but also in developed and educated part of the world (a recent diagnostics effort by doctors in Singapore found 200+ cases of cataract in a pool of 1000 educated people).
Building new clinics involves expensive real estate, equipment, qualified doctors and support staff. For Viraj eyecare, the bill would have mounted up to US$20mill had they taken this route and they would have still covered only 2 or maximum 3 cities. Not to mention the operational problems like insurances, logistics, regulatory approvals.y approvals.
The Solution: A Virtual Hospital
After speaking to the doctors and some of the patients, the root cause diagnostic revealed the following:
- Patients have a mindset block and justifiably so, to get diagnosed and receive care from hospitals (building another hospital would not have solved that)
- There are a lot of steps in the eyecare which do not require highly qualified doctor or expensive treatment
Using the concepts of telemedicine, simple technologies and a network of medical resources from remote areas, a new eyecare network has been proposed where
a)A simple kiosk in a village post office can help early diagnostics
b)A network of doctors, from junior to highly qualified has been established to make the virtual hospital affordable
c)Complicated cases diagnosed early and referred to specialists clinics
d)All this at a fraction of a cost of setting up a new eye clinic