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Social Enterprise Sevamob Uses Mobile Technology to Deliver Healthcare in India

Published 07-08-15

Submitted by Business Call to Action (BCtA)

Mobile technology is a key innovation in Sevamob™s business model. Photograph: Sevamob

The social enterprise Sevamob is fundamentally transforming primary healthcare in India through mobile clinics and a tele-health marketplace.  The newest company to join the Business Call to Action (BCtA), Sevamob, has committed to reducing anemia by 30 percent, HIV transmission to children by at least half of the national average, and dental issues like caries by 25 percent, in the areas where it is active.

The company provides primary healthcare and dental care to people at the bottom of the economic pyramid through a subscription-based model that combines local health teams with a network of specialists and a 24/7 call center for accurate diagnosis and treatment and leverages cloud-based mobile technology and data analytics to manage and monitor health outcomes.

BCtA is a global initiative that encourages companies to fight poverty through innovative business models, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other international organizations.

In India, bottom-of-the-pyramid communities have limited access to affordable healthcare.  As a result, the average life expectancy is 14 years less than that in the West, while the maternal and child mortality rates are eight times and 20 times higher, respectively, than those in the United States.  But while healthcare represents a huge potential market in a country of 1.2 billion people, few companies have been willing to invest in building a health infrastructure for those at the bottom of the pyramid. Sevamob is a prime mover in the industry, combining primary healthcare and health insurance into a monthly subscription model that yields better health outcomes at a cost up to 80 percent less than other options.

“Sevamob has met a significant need in India,” stated Suba Sivakumaran, BCtA Programme Manager.  “By providing timely diagnostics and treatment, and consistent follow-up, rural and urban communities at the bottom of the pyramid can access health care at a price they can afford.  We are impressed with the way this company has harnessed mobile technology to deliver good quality healthcare innovatively at a low cost.”

Sevamob’s innovative approach utilizes proprietary mobile technology, which can operate offline in remote areas.  Mobile health teams are staffed with primary care doctors and supported by a 24-hour call center and a network of third party service providers (including pathology labs for advanced tests and hospitals) for continuity of care.

First-line diagnostic and treatment services can be accessed through 15 mobile clinics in 6 states in India, and the company provides additional access to remote communities through a tele-health marketplace. Sevamob’s mobile clinics provide subscribers with rapid point-of-care diagnostics, treatment, generic medicines for common ailments, nutrition supplements, dental services like caries removal, vision services and nutrition counseling.

The company has also recently piloted clean birth kits for expectant mothers and provided sanitary pads to low-income women.

Mobile technology is a key innovation in Sevamob’s business model:  health teams at the clinics collect patient information using Android tablets and upload the data to a central cloud server.  Cloud-based reports show health stats for that demographic group, including prevalent diseases and symptoms, to aid diagnosis.  On each follow-up visit, the patient record is updated and stored in the cloud.  Even training material for health workers is shared through Google Docs and doctors receive training via web conference as well as in-person.

“Our technology platform uses Amazon cloud web servers and database and enables us to track stats, outcomes and protocols in real time,” explained the CEO of Sevamob, Shelley Saxena.  “Comparing the initial health stats with the updated stats gives us accurate and timely data on health outcomes, so impact measurement is built right into our model.”

Launched in 2012, Sevamob already does 20,000 patient consultations per month across six states.  With this rapid growth, the company plans to further scale up its high-quality, low-cost service with the vision of serving 800,000 subscribers through its mobile clinics and 37 million users through its tele-health marketplace by 2019 to achieve better health.

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The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat — in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact, Inter-American Development Bank’s Opportunities for the Majority Initiative, and the World Bank Group’s  International Finance Corporation.  For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

Founded in 2012, Sevamob is a social enterprise that aims to fundamentally transform primary healthcare in India through mobile clinics and a tele-health marketplace.  Its mobile clinics serve low income consumers in groups on annual subscriptions that are 80 percent below market rate for comparable value and use technology to manage health outcomes.  It also operates an online tele-health marketplace through which internet savvy patients can get video consultations, second opinions and in-clinic appointments from participating health providers. For more information, please visit www.sevamob.com or on Twitter at @Sevamob.

Business Call to Action (BCtA) logo

Business Call to Action (BCtA)

Business Call to Action (BCtA)

Launched in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. Worldwide, over 60 companies have responded to the BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through commercially-viable business ventures that engage low-income people as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services.

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