How healthtech startups can leverage social entrepreneurship in rural India
Recognising the need for innovative solutions in the healthcare industry, India has seen a considerable rise in the number of healthtech businesses that use social entrepreneurship to address healthcare concerns, especially in rural India.
According to the constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO), enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic, or social condition.
It has been almost 70 years since India joined the WHO, but these words can never be more relevant and powerful in today’s world.
However, despite the six decades of independence, huge economic growth and healthcare given top priority in India, the sector continues to be in the greatest predicament in the country today.
While the government has succeeded in developing the infrastructure in urban regions, accessibility to healthcare services in rural India continues to be in a debatable state.
Recognising this pressing need for innovative solutions in the healthcare industry and the role that technology can play, India has seen a considerable rise in the number of healthtech businesses that use social entrepreneurship to address healthcare concerns, especially in rural India.
These firms use cutting-edge technology to close the access gap to excellent healthcare services and enhance the overall health outcomes for the underserved population.
They are playing a critical role in reshaping the healthcare environment in rural India by combining economic acumen with a humanitarian goal, making a profound difference in the lives of millions of people who reside in underserved rural areas.
Addressing healthcare challenges in rural India
Rural India faces various healthcare issues, including a lack of healthcare facilities, a paucity of medical experts, a lack of access to important drugs, and a high prevalence of avoidable illnesses.
These issues contribute to insufficient healthcare supply, resulting in a large imbalance between rural and urban regions.
To address these challenges, platforms believe in bringing not high-quality primary healthcare to rural locations but also how the community has a critical role to play.
Below are the most common ways startups use for a better healthcare ecosystem:
- Telemedicine: Healthtech entrepreneurs use telemedicine platforms to remotely link rural patients with doctors and experts. Individuals in remote places can interact with medical specialists and receive diagnoses and treatment suggestions via mobile applications or web-based systems. These telemedicine services eliminate the need for physical travel and give access to healthcare knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable in remote locations.
- Supply chain management: The availability of important medications and medical supplies in rural regions is dependent on effective supply chain management. Healthtech businesses use social entrepreneurship to optimise the supply chain by incorporating novel technologies, including blockchain and data analytics, streamlining medical resource acquisition, storage, and delivery, eliminating waste and assuring timely access to critical healthcare supplies in distant areas.
- Health awareness and education: Lack of awareness and health literacy often hinder preventive healthcare practices in rural areas. Healthtech startups are leveraging social entrepreneurship by creating platforms for health awareness and education. They develop interactive applications and content in local languages, disseminating information about hygiene, nutrition, maternal and child health, and disease prevention. These startups empower individuals to make informed decisions about their well-being by improving health literacy.
- Low-cost medical equipment: Healthtech businesses are also producing low-cost medical equipment targeted to the requirements of rural populations. These gadgets vary from portable diagnostic equipment to low-cost chronic illness monitoring devices. Startups help with early diagnosis, remote monitoring, and efficient management of health issues in rural India by making these technologies accessible and inexpensive.
- Appointing Swasthya Mitra for integrated healthcare in rural India: Many healthtech startups embrace projects like Swasthya Mitra to provide local support to communities for integrated healthcare. Here, startups engage local people to create awareness around healthcare services using technology. While they may or may not have a medical background, they can leverage their network and make communities aware of high-quality healthcare services. These Swasthya Mistras’ are also considered independent entrepreneurs who manage a virtual healthcare startup powered by technology.
Towards a healthy rural India
Through social entrepreneurship, Indian healthtech startups are at the forefront of pushing change in rural healthcare delivery. These firms are not only bridging the healthcare gap but are also boosting access to excellent healthcare services for millions of people in underserved rural areas by utilising technology, creativity, and a social impact attitude.
Healthtech entrepreneurs, government organisations, and local communities must work together to sustain and grow such initiatives, ultimately revolutionising the healthcare environment in rural India.
Priyadarshi Mohapatra is the Founder and CEO of CureBay.
Edited by Suman Singh
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)