Technology to the Rescue
Projecting the future of the Indian healthcare sector, experts state that telemedicine is one of the key tools that will transform rural healthcare. Indeed, telemedicine will increase accessibility to care in a country that is home to the world’s largest number people suffering from varied ailments. Adopting telemedicine as its tool to reach out to a million patients across rural India, Jiva Ayurveda through it’s pioneering efforts has been making healthcare accessible to the rural population for the last 12 years. The organisation was initiated by Dr Pratap Chauhan, a world-renowned Ayurvedacharya who has travelled to over 50 countries, having dedicated himself to popularising Ayurveda across the globe. During his interactions with people from world over, he realised that Ayurveda was actually the missing link that could help people stay happy, healthy and balanced throughout their lives. It was then that he made it the mission of his life to ‘take Ayurveda to every home’. Over the years, Jiva Ayurveda has become a household name in authentic Ayurveda treatment for chronic diseases. Its vision of making people happy and healthy through lifestyle and regenerative treatment delivered at their doorstep is a direct response to the ailments and disorders affecting the Indian community today, most of which do not have any cures or sustainable treatment in modern medicine.
As an endeavour to reach out to maximum people across the country, the Jiva TeleMedicine Center, a first-of-its-kind concept in the world, was established in 1998 as an integrated centre of telephonic health consultation. Currently, Jiva has 125 Ayurvedic doctors and consultants providing consultations to more than 50,000 patients in the last six months alone, across 1200 cities and towns in India. It is said that many of these towns do not have good health infrastructure and therefore the availability of world class Ayurveda treatment through telemedicine has worked wonders for them. Raelene Kambli catches up with Dr Pratap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda to know more about the company
What makes Jiva Ayurveda different from the rest of the caregivers in the industry?
The Jiva TeleMedicine Center is the world’s largest Ayurvedic tele-centre. With this pioneering model we are able to provide high quality advice and Ayurvedic treatment to patients from over 1200 cities and towns across the country. Jiva endeavours to create an integrated traditional and non-traditional delivery model to make available holistic Ayurvedic treatments to a wider population.
Tell us about Jiva’s telemedicine technology that is used to reach out to customers across 1200 cities in India? ?How is it different from the rest?
Jiva has invested in creating an entire eco-system, enabling highly customised patient care using Ayurveda. The centre is powered by state-of-the-art technology that assists doctors in real-time case analyses and a knowledge base thereby maximising patient relief. On the front end, the patient does not need sophisticated technology to access the service, a simple phone call would do.
The technology provides an even-availability of high quality care to all. A farmer living in Banki (Orissa) would be accessing the same quality of treatment as an executive in Mumbai.
What business strategies have you adopted? How has telemedicine helped you to boost the business?
Jiva Ayurveda has been striving to create a model whereby Ayurvedic treatment can be made available to people irrespective of their geographical location. Jiva TeleMedicine Center has been pivotal in bringing that vision into reality. Today, Jiva doctors provide consultation to over 6,000 patients everyday; 65 per cent of which come from Tier III and Tier IV town, thus, enabling access to high quality medical advice and treatment.
Does your business model have the power to drive growth and create step-change improvements in value creation with the healthcare sector?
Jiva has already created a successful model that has changed the way people are accessing healthcare. The change is the two-pronged: delivery of healthcare and addressing the rising incidence of lifestyle and degenerative disorders. India is not only short of doctors but also fast becoming a population suffering from chronic disorders. While technology has been leveraged to enhance reach; Ayurveda effectively treats the chronic/lifestyle disorders.
What market opportunities and trends do you witness currently?
There has been a huge shift in the diseases incidence from communicable to lifestyle and chronic.
What are the obstacles that plague the healthcare delivery segment today?
Access – India has 0.6 doctors per 1000 people, and the figure is even more skewed as we move to smaller towns. It is a challenge to provide good quality healthcare to people in these towns.
Value proposition – there is a challenge to make available treatment and advice at a cost that is affordable
Chronic diseases – Diseases like Diabetes, Joint problems, IBS, etc., are on an increase and modern medicine only provides symptomatic relief, also leading to innumerable side effects and complications in many cases.
What are your expansion plans?
Jiva plans to create a footprint of video-clinics throughout the country to enable video consultations. Jiva also plans to increase its language capability to address the regional markets , domestically and international, such as the Middle East, Japan, Nepal, Bangladesh, US and Europe.
What are your forecasts for the forthcoming year?
People are becoming increasingly comfortable with non-traditional ways to access healthcare.
Technological intervention is very quickly creating newer models of making healthcare advice available to people. In the year to come, it will be important to see how profitable models can be created to build a sustainable and widely distributed healthcare system. Also, while healthcare companies go in the over-drive it will be critical to also ensure personalisation.