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January 24, 2019

Odisha inks MoU for operating Glocal Digital Dispensaries in 23 districts

The state government on Tuesday signed an MoU with Glocal Healthcare Systems for operation and management of 102 digital dispensaries across 23 districts.

The MoU was signed following success of the ‘digital dispensary’ model in 25 locations in Nabarangpur and five in Keonjhar districts.

Through digital dispensaries, the state government has harnessed technology to bring primary healthcare to the doorsteps of the people in remote pockets where people don’t have easy access to a doctor.

Each digital dispensary has provision for an MBBS doctor consultation through videoconferencing facility. In addition, a pharmacist, nurse, laboratory assistant and support staff are in place in each dispensary.

The dispensaries are equipped with minimum set of investigations for urine test, blood, hemoglobin, blood sugar, malaria, dengue, blood pressure and pregnancy detection with a pharmacy facility with dispensing generic medicine. All these services are provided free of cost to the people under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who was present during the MoU signing ceremony, said his government has been making efforts to make healthcare accessible and affordable.

“We have decided to use technology to bring the services of doctors to the doorsteps of the people in difficult-to-reach areas through digital dispensaries,” said Naveen.

The chief minister said over one lakh people have already received free healthcare till date under the initiative in two districts.

The chief minister also interacted with some beneficiaries of the digital dispensaries at Nabarangpur and Keonjhar districts.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

January 24, 2019

Glocal Digital dispensaries to reach 23 Odisha districts: Naveen Patnaik

With an aim to take basic health care services to the doorsteps of people in hard-to-reach areas, the State Government is all set to expand digital dispensary facilities to 23 districts.

An MoU was signed with Kolkata-based Glocal Healthcare Systems (P) Limited, in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to set up 102 new digital dispensaries in the State.

Last year, 30 dispensaries were opened in Nabarangpur and Keonjhar districts on a pilot basis. More than one lakh patient have benefitted from the facilities.

The dispensaries provide consultation with doctors through video conferencing and are equipped with physical infrastructure to conduct basic diagnostics like routine urine, haemoglobin, blood sugar, malaria, dengue, blood pressure, ECG, oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pregnancy detection tests.

Each dispensary has a pharmacist, nurse, laboratory assistant and support staff. It also has a pharmacy to provide free medicines to patients. All services are free under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said digital dispensaries will give a boost to the Government’s efforts towards making health care accessible and affordable for people in difficult-to-reach areas.

“Odisha is the only State providing comprehensive care through digital dispensaries. The model will bring primary health services to the doorsteps of people and help fulfil our vision of a healthy and happy Odisha,” Naveen said.
The Chief Minister also interacted with beneficiaries Padmini Tanti of Nabarangpur and Subhadra Barik of Keonjhar.

The digital dispensaries will be opened in remote locations of Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Balangir, Boudh, Cuttack, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nuapada, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh districts.

Source: newindianexpress.com

November 17, 2018

Glocal Healthcare: Helping Government of Odisha Fulfill Their Vision ‘Healthcare For All’

Health is indisputably one of the most important priorities for sustainable development.

Keeping that in mind, to improve healthcare delivery in far-flung areas devoid of primary healthcare of the state, the Government of Odisha decided to set up telemedicine centers, where doctors could be made available through teleconsultations. Glocal Healthcare Systems was selected for the first phase of this scheme, in Nabarangpur and Keonjhar districts.

Presently, 30 digitally enabled dispensaries (operational in the two districts of Keonjhar and Nabarangpur) was done in order to improve access to quality care through remote consultations with certified doctors, diagnosis, treatment or referral to higher level medical institutions.

Various applications of technology in this digital dispensaries-such as loT enabled vital testing & investigations, online consultation with doctors, Al tools aiding physicians incorrect diagnosis, prescription generation and automatic dispensing of medicines-strive to make the patient healthcare cycle much more efficient and effective. In lieu of this project, Odisha has been awarded the Express Public Health Award 2018 for the Most Effective Health Technology System by a State Government.

Through these digital dispensaries, the State aims to achieve at least 1 OPD with medication per person within 5 km radius of over 90% of the population within a one year period. These dispensaries enable diagnosis of malaria, low haemoglobin or blood sugar, pregnancy, cardiac conditions and also have linkages with existing secondary& tertiary health care facilities.

The success of this partnership so far can be substantiated by the growth of patients consultations in rural areas (Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15% month on month), reduction in average lag time between onset of ailment and visit to the digital dispensaries and improvement in recovery rates of patients.

August 16, 2018

Glocal Goes Global: Signs MoU with Africa Medical Solutions for setting up Digital Dispensaries in West Africa

The success of this partnership so far can be substantiated by the growth of patients consultations in rural areas (Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15% month on month), reduction in average lag time between onset of ailment and visit to the digital dispensaries and improvement in recovery rates of patients.

Glocal Digital Dispensary aims at providing complete primary healthcare solution such as consultation, confirmatory tests, and medicines from a single point. Within a short span of time, these Digital Dispensaries are proving to be the potential catalysts to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare in India. On the other hand, HelloLyf is a 24 hours virtual OPD which provides seamless online video consultations with doctors and specialists- aiming to overcome the barriers to health services caused by distance between patient and provider.

Africa Medical Solutions (AMS), a subsidiary of Asia Africa Business Consultant, (ASAFBC), responds to the healthcare needs of the African underserved population by delivering innovative and scalable solutions adapted to the African environment. On the other hand, Glocal Healthcare- an Indian Healthcare service provider – seeks to bring State of Art Healthcare in India through an integrated model of block level comprehensive primary & secondary care Hospitals, Digital Dispensaries and Technology. With both AMS and Glocal’s aim being affordable, accessible and accountable healthcare – it is a match made in heaven.

Glocal currently runs 10 super-specialty hospitals in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India along with 150+ Digital Dispensaries in the states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The Sub-Saharan African countries account for 11% of the world’s population but account for 25% of the global burden of disease, compared with 10% and 9% respectively for Europe (UN figures and IFRI 2015). The number of health personnel too, is lacking in Africa- with accessibility being the major issue. Through Digital Dispensaries and Hellolyf app, AMS and Glocal are aiming to conquer these demons.

AMS plans on spreading their wings through Glocal Digital Dispensaries and Hellolyf telemedicine app to other parts of Africa, as well, in the near future.

June 25, 2018

Small cities get acute care at Glocal hospitals

Urban areas in India have been steadily expanding with small cities and towns attracting a rising number of people. But what about medical facilities to meet their growing healthcare needs?

Government-run hospitals and centres in far-flung districts are mostly in bad shape. Private clinics and nursing homes provide services of a kind. So, when a stroke or heart attack or road accident happens it is often fatal. Ferrying a patient to a big city is mostly impractical and invariably too expensive.

Glocal Healthcare Systems, a social enterprise, says it has found a solution. It has set up 11 low-cost hospitals in small cities where reliable and affordable acute care is now available. By the end of this financial year, it hopes to have seven more hospitals and a total of 2,000 beds across them.

Glocal’s model is to provide the best standards of treatment at locations where government facilities are lacking and private hospital chains don’t find it profitable to go. Over the past six years, Glocal has built well-equipped hospitals and put medical teams in place at such unlikely destinations as Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Behrampur, Begusarai, Amroha, Mednipur, Krishnagar and Jeypore.

As a social enterprise, Glocal can’t be driven by profit alone. It has the twin goals of reaching people who need healthcare and being sustainable in business terms. The two objectives go together.

Originally, acute care in small cities wasn’t Glocal’s focus. It set out first in West Bengal to provide primary healthcare to catchments of 30,000 people at the level of a block. It was through the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY)  that it hoped to have a steady revenue stream.

The role it saw for itself at first was to give patients basic facilities to deal with common ailments. A Glocal hospital would fix a hernia or remove a gall bladder or handle a gynaecological issue. It would offer professional standards at reasonable costs in tune with RSBY limits. (See Civil Society cover story, March 2013.)

But the model did not work because of several reasons, including delayed payments and the lack of transparency under RSBY. Over time Glocal had to close down two of its five hospitals in West Bengal.

A rethink followed and Glocal found it more viable to look at small cities with a population of 100,000 instead of a block with a catchment of 30,000. It also decided that it was better to focus on acute care for which there was a demand. It continues to provide basic services but they are no longer its focus because it learnt from its experience in West Bengal that people prefer clinics and nursing homes with which they have old associations. It is difficult for a new Glocal hospital to make an entry in the basic care space.

Dr Syed Sabahat Azim, Glocal’s hugely energetic CEO and founder, says: “The first hospital at Sonamukhi was well designed and staffed with passionate people. It was the perfect hospital except for the fact there were no patients! We realised that a large range of services was available in that area. Now we might not consider those services to be good, but people were using them. We still do general medicine, pediatrics and gynaecology but that is no longer our focus.”

“Instead, we have pivoted to a place between secondary and tertiary care. We now deliver what local nursing homes cannot provide. Acute care is one of our main areas — emergency and ICU. We have cardiology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, trauma, respiratory diseases and nephrology, ” says Dr Azim.

SMALL MORE COSTLY

There was also the realisation that in financial terms very small hospitals are not viable. Glocal’s  first hospitals were envisaged as 30-bed hospitals at the block level. But the cost of services you need to run a hospital are higher over a few number of beds. It is more expensive to run a small hospital than a large hospital.

“In terms of population density we found a sweet spot in towns with a 100,000 population,” says Dr Azim.

The shift to acute care happened as a part of this learning. The patients who were going to Glocal’s early hospitals were doing so when they were about to die and not for basic services. Glocal couldn’t turn them away or send them anywhere else either. So it began saving lives and that finally became its new focus.

“I wouldn’t say it was great strategic thinking on our part though in hindsight it looks very good. We started attempting to handle these cases. Initially, we were scared and would be calling up neonatologists and intensivists asking for advice. But we started getting results that were much beyond our expectations,” recalls Dr Azim.

MORTALITY RATE

“Last year we had a mortality rate of 8.5 percent across all our ICU beds, which are almost always full. As a reference, the US average is 12 percent and the Indian average, though it is not published, is said to be 18 percent according to a study in 2015.”

Glocal works on the assumption that 95 percent of all morbidity comes from 42 diseases. It also seeks to be entirely process and protocol-driven in delivering  treatment. It does not believe in hiring top doctors and instead invests in an assembly line of skills.

Glocal’s assembly line approach has equipped it well to be a provider of acute care services and it made the transition quite easily.

“We are an assembly line, process-driven, protocol-based healthcare system. We believe that medicine is a science and that it works,” explains Dr Azim.

“There are protocols for treating someone who has had a stroke or heart attack or been in a road accident and if you train people these protocols actually work. In acute care you are not actually bothered by why it happened but about fixing what is happening right now. You work backwards. There is a protocol for 0-2 minutes, 2-5 minutes and so on. It is very amenable to an assembly line because you have to respond quickly and by adhering to the protocol,” he says.

“For this you don’t actually need top doctors but people who can follow instructions. We also run closed ICUs, which means once a patient is admitted the people inside the ICU have the responsibility and authority to do whatever is necessary,” he adds.

EMPLOYING DOCTORS

Glocal believes that there are enough doctors being produced in the country. The problem is to find jobs for them. A neurosurgeon will need to spend 10 years building a practice in a big city like Kolkata because senior doctors will guard their turf.

“Now large hospitals and large cities are not going to come up 10 in a year. We at Glocal are probably the only people doing neurosurgery in very small cities and towns,” says Dr Azim.

Geography is key to Glocal’s business strategy and  determines its financial viability. Hospitals are in clusters and along  highways. This means doctors can move easily between facilities and other resources, too, can be shared.

“Small cities which are on the national highways and connected with each other make it possible to move critical manpower from one place to another. So also with the supply chain,” says Dr Azim.

“If you look at the National Health Protection Scheme or NHPS, which will be rolled out despite initial problems, where is the expertise to deliver healthcare at the costs it envisages except at Glocal,” he points out.

It works well for Glocal as a business and in terms of social good it takes professional healthcare to underserved people who can’t spend much.

DIGITAL DISPENSARIES

For the primary healthcare part of its mission Glocal now has the digital dispensary, which is a computerised unit at which several tests can be performed. This is an important innovation for reaching healthcare to people in remote areas.

For instance, 25 different tests can be done in 12 minutes using just two drops of blood. ECGs and ultrasounds are performed and a physician is consulted through telemedicine.

The digital dispensary is an important component of the Glocal strategy because it links the hospitals in small cities to the rural areas.

It could be the future of primary healthcare as internet connectivity reaches panchayats. Compared to the traditional primary health centre, the digital dispensary needs only a qualified nurse.

The nurse feeds data into the computer. Based on the tests and symptoms the patient is experiencing, the computer provides a list of possible disease conditions.

The doctor sitting far away can use the electronic stethoscope to hear the heartbeat and check out the lungs of the patient. The derma scope will allow the doctor to look at a rash.

Finally, it is the doctor who decides on the line of treatment and once that call has been taken instructions go to a dispenser which provides the medicines in the correct dosages.

Glocal’s digital dispensaries are attracting the attention of state governments. There are 100 in Rajasthan and Odisha is next in line.

A visit to a digital dispensary could cost as little as  Rs 225, which is significantly lower than what a patient may have to pay while visiting any other clinic.

In the six years since it was founded, Glocal claims its facilities have hospitalised 90,000 patients, done 70,000 surgeries and saved at least 5,000 lives. It provides 1,000 full-time and 700 part-time jobs.

As India seeks to  expand its healthcare infrastructure, Glocal is perhaps a good example of how social goals can be coupled with the efficiency and inventiveness of private enterprise.

June 19, 2018

CIC organizes Seminar on Health and Right to Information Act, 2005

The Central Information Commission organised a seminar on the topic“Health and Right to Information Act 2005” here today. The seminar was attended by Chief Information Commissioner, Central Information Commissioners, former Information Commissioners, State Information Commissioners, NGOs and other stake-holders. The seminar began with the welcome address by Chief Information Commissioner Shri Radha Krishna Mathur, Central Information Commission. Shri R.K. Mathur highlighted that the seminar was held on World Health Day and touched upon issues like suo-motu disclosure on real-time basis along with transparency in right to get information.

Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu focused on the Right to Health Information.Dr. Sheela Priya, State Chief Information Commissioner, Tamil Nadu, highlighted the issues on Health and Right to information Act 2005. Shri. Alok Saxena, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health (AIDS Control and Ayushman Bharat) highlighted on the scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’ paving way for transparency.Prof. Jayanta Kumar Das, Director, National Institute of Health Family Welfare (NIHFW),Government of India, touched upon Right to Information, Clinical Establishment Act and Good Governance in Health Sector. Mr. Sunil Nandraj, Former Advisor, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, focussed on transparency under the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010 in the context of Right to Information Act, 2005. Dr. Sabahat S. Azim Chief Executive Officer, (Glocal Healthcare System Private Limited) addressed the seminar on the topic – Health and Right to information – newer paradigms.Dr. V. K. Paul, Member, Niti Aayog addressed regarding issues in the Medical Sector and ways to tackle them in consonance with the latest scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’. Mr. Shikhar Ranjan, Medical Council of India delivered a lecture. Shri Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat, NHPS, Ministry of Health attended the seminar.

The session concluded with closing remarks by Shri Yashovardhan Azad, Information Commissioner.

June 19, 2018

AHRS signs MoU with Glocal Healthcare to set up 500 Digital Dispensaries Across India

Agile Healthcare & Rehabilitation Services Pvt Ltd (AHRS), promoted by a group of UK-Based doctors of Indian origin has entered into a strategic collaboration with Kolkata-head quartered Glocal Healthcare Services to offer Telemedicine based Primary Healthcare across Tier IV towns in India and also market and implement Glocal’s Digital Dispensaries in U.K.

The plan is to set up 500 such healthcare centers across Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh- places that are really in need of access to doctors and rational Healthcare.

Five centers have already been set up and 65 centers have been identified. In the first 6 months, 150 centers would be set up and subsequently scaled up.

Both Glocal and Agile plan to make a difference to primary healthcare in India in areas where general practice among physicians is almost non-existent. This has given rise to a greater focus on specialized care that tends to make healthcare unaffordable to the large majority of the population.

Dr Vishal Upadhyay, MRCS,FRCS (Tr & Orth) UK, one of the brains behind Agile said that they have identified Glocal to deliver primary healthcare in areas where people are mostly dependent on either government services that are largely ill-equipped and private practice which is expensive. He added that the reason to add Glocal as a partner was because of its technological strength which has the capability of a huge outreach coupled with fast and effective delivery of healthcare.

Dr Upadhyay said that Agile will also be marketing and implementing the Digital Dispensaries in UK where there are a lot of patients who need to be brought in to the hospital by ambulance for Outpatient consultations consuming expensive time and resources of the ambulance service.

He added that implementing what they believe in is the core solution to the problem of healthcare in India. “The Agile plan is build to address this serious issue of primary healthcare in India, which we believe will go a long way in establishing a healthy society in the country,” Dr Upadhay said.

Glocal Healthcare’s CEO of Digital Dispensaries, Gautam Chowdhury said that they were delighted to enter into a strategic collaboration with Agile Healthcare. “We are happy to sign the MoU with Agile. Health is a basic need and only technology can solve the problems of healthcare in India. We can bring good accredited doctors, even specialists to the hard-to-reach areas, set up fully functional dispensaries.”

He added, “Through Digital Dispensaries, we can address several key issues in the country’s primary care, including the shortage of facilities and doctors, better diagnosis and access to medicine, integrating most of the digital healthcare solutions within a single product at the lowest cost.”

So far Glocal has been operating more than 124 such dispensaries spreading from East to West in Rajasthan, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Manipur. In addition to a government-sponsored model, Glocal has now decided to launch the entrepreneurship model to expand the reach of healthcare to the unserved and the underserved.

June 14, 2018

Glocal’s Hellolyf Telemedicine Portal clocks 1 million Tele-consult run rate today

Hellolyf Telemedicine platform clocks 3028 patient-doctor consults on 14th June. This gives an annual run rate of over a million consults. Compared to this, the world’s oldest and largest telemedicine platform Teladoc (TDOC: NYSE), a 3.76 Bn USD company clocked 1.46 Mn consults last year. In just one year, a rural tech based integrated healthcare company, Glocal Healthcare Systems; head quartered in Kolkata, India, seems to be catching up very fast – at least in volumes. Says Srikanta Mukherjee, Tech Head Glocal: “we may take another two years to catch up with their revenue as they bill in dollars and we are the most affordable in the world. But the difference is that we are already becoming EBIDTA positive and so that is a big plus”. Glocal also has tech superiority because it operates through digital dispensaries where patients not only get video consultations; but its IoT telemedicine terminal called LitmusMX also collects patient vitals, does all investigations including Liver, Thyroid & Kidney Function Tests, Hb%, electrolytes, Glucose, Proteins, Lipid Profile, Urine tests and most infectious disease tests. Once the doctor comes online, he/she can also examine the patient remotely, can hear the patient’s heart & lung through a digital stethoscope, do otoscopy, dermascopy, direct laryngoscopy etc. At the doctors’ side, there is a semantic algorithm based Clinical Decision Support System called LitmusDX which helps doctors deliver better healthcare. In some centers, there are also automated medicine dispensers, called LitmusRX, that dispense the medicines based on the prescription, directly to the patient without human intervention. All the tech pieces – LitmusMX, LitmusRX and LitmusDX are IP of Glocal. Most of Glocal’s Digital dispensaries are in the most difficult terrain of the country – from Nabarangpur in KBK region of Odisha, Dantewada of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

India has been grappling with various healthcare problems. In such a scenario, the concept of telemedicine is like a breath of fresh air. Most of the time, seeing a doctor is essential; but, there are issues with the availability of the doctors. There are either geographical or time mismatches between patients and doctors. This gap can be filled by telemedicine. However, most telemedicine programs have failed to live up to the promise because often they are half baked. The complete healthcare need of the patient is not fulfilled because he needs tests, examination and medicines. Glocal’s Digital Dispensaries have provided an interesting and comprehensive solution. It streamlines many of the inconvenient episodes that are encountered by a patient while visiting the clinic. It is convenient, user-friendly and cost-effective as the patients do not have to travel to see a doctor. There are several companies in India that are trying to establish themselves in this space. Glocal has deep experience because it is the only organized healthcare player that entered and established 10 hospitals in tier 3 & 4 towns of the country. The past seven years’ experience enabled it to invent and create a comprehensive telemedicine program from grounds up. Its technology was not a copy of how things were attempted in the west but arose from the felt needs. With a strong grounding in technology & operations, it took seven years to create Hellolyf and LitmusDX suite. But the seven years of Jacobian hard work seems to be paying off handsomely, if it emerges as a dark horse to challenge the world’s largest telemedicine player.