The Telegraph
Wednesday , December 12 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Log in for nationwide healthcare info

A Ranchi youth has trumped the state government, which had promised a medical information kiosk and telemedicine system for the people of Jharkhand, by creating a website that will offer search services to any user looking for details on India’s healthcare.

The web portal ( developed by Ratu Road resident Shirish Saurabh will be launched on Wednesday.

“The portal has various aspects. One can access any kind of information related to their health needs in any part of the country. The information is also powered with navigational support and maps. For example, if a Ranchiite visits Delhi and God forbid, he or she or any family member falls sick, then, the person can locate the nearest hospital, doctor details such as phone number and email with the help of route maps and visit in person,” Saurabh told The Telegraph.

How did the idea evolve?

“After completing my MBA at ICFAI, Hyderabad, I moved to the UK for a job in an MNC seven years ago. Simultaneously, I pursued a course in international business and relations. One thing that impressed me a lot in the UK was an easily accessible and uniform health system, which our country lacked. I returned to Ranchi last year and started working on it to become an entrepreneur,” he added.

Citing statistics and studies by independent institutes such as the London School of Economics, Saurabh pointed out that India’s healthcare budget was about Rs 34,448 crore, while people afflicted by infectious diseases alone spent nearly Rs 69,000 crore annually.

“Around 42 per cent of the country’s children are malnourished and nearly 17.2 lakh infants die due to improper medical care, information and access,” he said.

An Indian family roughly spends Rs 1,000 per head and Rs 8,814 on family healthcare annually, he added.

“Despite good schemes and expenditure, the healthcare gap still exists. That’s where our role comes in through this portal that aims to provide easy access to healthcare for all where besides seeking information, one can also book appointments, update personal health records, converse with various groups, maintain their own health blog, etc. free of cost,” he added.

Saurabh has also approached the government of India for tie-ups to ensure health schemes reach the grassroots through an “Aabhaar card scheme” that will also be launched for APL and BPL applicants on Wednesday.

“As part of the scheme, one can enrol by paying Rs 50 per family/individual fee per year. The hospitals listed by us will offer them discounts in billing anywhere across the country. A BPL applicant has to pay Rs 30 annually to avail of medical costs of up to Rs 35,000,” the 32-year-old said.

Notably, Jharkhand government is planning to launch a one-stop solution for medical needs by starting a health information centre and a long-pending telemedicine project before the end of the financial year.

The information kiosk will enable people to seek remedies in person or over phone, while the telemedicine system will offer expert pharmaceutical advice to hospitals and patients in the 24 districts.