The Mumbai-based healthtech startup’s portable pregnancy care platform uses smart algorithms to screen high-risk cases in villages and slums and connect them to gynaecologists.
More than 800 women die of pregnancy-related complications every day, according to the World Health Organisation. Most of these deaths occur in low-income countries like India and in Africa and are largely a result of the absence of healthcare facilities in far-flung areas.
CareNx is one of the companies that are trying to address this gap in maternal healthcare in rural India with the help of technology. It provides end-to-end solutions to vulnerable mothers in remote villages and slums and connects them with modern healthcare facilities.
The reach so far
Launched in 2015, CareNx is the brainchild of engineers Shantanu Pathak and Aditya Kulkarni. They had a first-hand experience of this anomaly in healthcare while working for a Mumbai-based NGO, S4S (Science for Society), where they saw a colleague suffer a miscarriage due to lack of awareness and timely medical intervention. The incident made them aware of the complications involved in high-risk pregnancies and how these could be averted with regular checkups, portable devices and skilled healthcare professionals. The duo set out to correct the anomalies with CareNx.
Since starting out, the platform has made its services available in six states covering 150-plus villages and more than a dozen slums. It has so far performed over 100,000 tests and helped more than 6,000 pregnant women, and will be helping in another 23,000 pregnancies during the remainder of t2017 as part of a deal with corporates under their CSR programmes.
Mumbai-based non-profit organisation Armman, Swasthya Slate and Neurosynaptics are some of the other players working in the field of maternal healthcare in India. However, none of these organisations focus on holistic maternal care.
In comparison, CareNx focuses on overall maternal health, from reaching out to expectant mothers in rural areas and screening cases of high-risk pregnancies to connecting them with a gynaecologist.
Using technology to disrupt rural healthcare
CareNx’s flagship product is CareMother, a mobile pregnancy care platform. It includes a mobile application (app), a web application and a medical kit that is carried by health workers to perform doorstep diagnosis and tests. A smart algorithm helps the health workers to detect high-risk pregnancies and connect them to a nearby gynecologist for further diagnosis and treatment. CareMother has helped the government, medical colleges and doctors to double their reach and reduce operational expenses by 50 percent, claim the founders.
Technology is at the heart of everything that CareNx does, say the founders. It not only plays a crucial role in assisting healthcare specialists, reducing costs and offering quick diagnostics, but also allows for easier data collection through the cloud, and their analysis and reporting. Also, by using smart algorithms to screen high-risk pregnancies, CareNx helps doctors to manage patient load efficiently and offer timely diagnosis.
Leveraging the power of digital, CareNx has doubled its customer reach and also seen the number of consultations go up by three to four times.
“Android remains the top tool for us. Android helps us to scale fast with low-cost intervention as cost is the topmost deciding parameter in healthcare delivery, mainly in public health and the group we are targeting,” says Shantanu Pathak, Co-Founder, CareNx.
CareNx has also developed two new IoT-based products – iNST and Universal Strip Reader (USR). iNST is a wearable that monitors fetal heart (targeted for urban users) while USR is a point-of-care device that performs multiple diagnostics tests in minutes.
Milestones and funding
The startup is funded by Indian and global organisations and its impressive list of investors includes IIT Bombay SINE (Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship) incubation cell, Grand Challenges Canada, World Health (WHP), UN Women Committee, Infosys Foundation USA and DST India.
CareNX derives its revenue by selling CareMother kits at a fixed price to its customers (NGOs, hospitals and the CSR teams of corporates). Besides, it earns recurring revenue for software usage on a per pregnancy basis.
Backed by a 10-member team, CareNX is currently working with the Maharashtra and Nagaland governments. Aditya Kulkarni, Co-Founder, CareNx adds, the brand’s long-term vision is to become a strong technology partner to health institutions for delivering doorstep care more efficiently and effectively.