Hyderabad: A coalition of over 100 healthcare specialists have come together to launch Swasth, a nationwide tele-medicine platform for Corona care, which digitally connects Indians to the best doctors and wellness providers. Swasth is a swift response initiative promoted by the country’s health and technology leaders to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to leverage tele-medicine as a national priority in the current distress-afflicted times. The mobile app-based service leverages India’s technology prowess to deliver equal and affordable healthcare to 1.3 billion people, cutting across geographical and income divides.
This indigenous digital healthcare system is being launched at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged traditional service providers.
Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, a p of the Swasth Governing Council, said, “Swasth has brought together the best of resources in the country to provide free healthcare to bring quick relief during the crisis. Swasth will work to further public health goals and work in coordination with the Medical Council, public health organizations, and the private sector to expand quality healthcare access to the masses. I firmly believe that this crisis is a great opportunity to re-invent healthcare delivery in India.”
Swasth facilitates seamless, remote interaction between registered medical practitioners and patients through multiple modes of video and telephony. Swasth deploys AI based triaging to determine the care required, culminating in a digitally signed prescription and treatment advice.
Along with the free consultations, Swasth will also provide services like home quarantine assistance, diagnostics, pharmacies, hospital bed discovery and booking assistance at a subsidized cost.
All doctors on the Swasth platform are duly verified and undergo specially designed training programs on tele-consultation and COVID-19 clinical protocols. Swasth is in full compliance with the industry-accepted cybersecurity norms for healthcare platforms. It uses a defense-in-depth approach to ensure that data is securely transmitted, stored, managed and accessed. Currently, the app supports consultation in Hindi, English and Gujarati and will be expanded to 25 Indian languages.
Swasth is the country’s first big push towards mass adoption of digital healthcare as a citizen empowering platform.
Dr Nachiket Mor, a member of the Governing Council, added, “Swasth is a unique non-profit coalition of members from multiple sections of the Indian healthcare ecosystem, including individual doctors, small and large hospitals, diagnostic labs, pharmacies, tele-medicine platforms, insurance companies, and healthcare-technology companies, who have joined hands with the goal of creating affordable healthcare for all Indians in every nook and corner of the country, so that they can immediately get the care that they need for this crisis, as well as for all their other healthcare needs. Swasth will do this by making it easy for patients to smoothly access the services they need from its members, and will also enable each of its members to provide a wide range of high quality services to their patients, by giving them access to protocols, technologies, and platforms that are best in class, completely interoperable, and fully compliant with the latest guidelines.”
Dr NK Jairam, a key member of the project team, said, “As we move on with the current Corona pandemic and with social distancing being one of the key remedies to eradicate it, tele-medicine is going to be an integral part of the healthcare system. Tele- consultation has been offered by doctors since the early 2000s, however, it has gained rapid momentum because of the current situation. With Swasth, tele-medicine will gain a boost which will empower patients to make quick decisions and also teach them self-care.”
Abheek Singhi, Senior Partner at BCG, and member of the project team for this initiative, said, “Swasth is a consortium of 70+ organizations and 200+ volunteers with a common goal of building a comprehensive COVID care platform in the short term and of leveraging technology to transform primary healthcare delivery in the medium term. This is the first time such a coalition like this has come together. BCG is privileged to be partnering with this alliance”
Swasth is created by a not-for-profit consortium of different players across healthcare providers, tele-health platforms, entrepreneurs, technology experts and doctors. Swasth received a grant of INR 10 crore ($1.3 million) from the ACT Grants, an umbrella platform of entrepreneurs and investors backing start-ups fighting the pandemic.