How Mobile Will Transform Primary Healthcare Access in India by Prasad Kompalli, @pkompalli ( mfine @mfinecare )



A few days ago, we came across a very interesting albeit a rare case where a mother wanted to consult a paediatrician. Under a few minutes, she was able to have an online consultation with one of the top paediatricians in Bangalore, who immediately prescribed the required treatment for her child as the  symptoms were severe. At this point the patient informed the doctor that she was on a moving train and travelling towards Bangalore but needed the assistance urgently and was glad to have spoken to him. The doctor meanwhile was totally taken aback. Quickly recovering, he felt a deep appreciation for technology and its ability to empower people and help them access essential services at the hour of need.



More than 330 million smartphone users and rapidly falling bandwidth prices are redefining how essential services are delivered in India. There would be 900 million smartphone subscribers by 2023 and smartphone traffic is expected to grow 11 times to 14 EB in another five years*. India also has one of the lowest Internet data rates in the world, as low as 10 INR (approx 6 U.S.cents) /1GB/day. While much has been talked about India as an ecommerce market, adoption of mobile internet for foundational services like education, healthcare and financial services and across different consumer segments is something new and fast catching up. 

India has one doctor for every 1700 people, and if one considers only post-graduates, this ratio is pretty dismal at one doctor for every 5000 people. Access to health services in India is highly inequitable, translating into major disparities in health outcomes along demographic lines. There are 1000 primary healthcare cases & about 100 secondary healthcare cases reported in a hospital everyday and this number is rising.

Spread of chronic and lifestyle diseases is growing at an alarming pace and much of it will end up in tertiary care if not managed and intervened at appropriate time. Focussing on primary and secondary care is important in our country as it pushes a prevention mindset and helps people manage their health spends better. However, we can not depend on physical channels alone for primary care delivery as it is very expensive and also slow to scale. Physical infrastructure both in cities and in rural areas is proving to be an impediment and isn't able to catch up fast enough, adding to massive delays in patient getting to the point of care. 

Technology is the only viable solution to be able to cope with low doctor-patient ratio, predominantly out-of-pocket spending and inaccessibility of quality care.

We are going to see India leapfrog the methods of healthcare delivery that were adopted in the developed nations, and mobile will be at the centre of this disruption. Let us look at some of the areas where mobile will transform the delivery of primary and secondary healthcare. 

Speed means Quality:  Because in healthcare, early detection and timely intervention helps in avoiding  further complications, prevents additional issues and reduces the use of powerful and/or too many drugs. Cases of patients visiting a doctor after symptoms have worsened and the consequent use of antibiotics is becoming all too common in India. Another important case where speed matters is in the case of  viral epidemics where lack of timely information and intervention leads it to spread like a wildfire.  

Connected care is the right care: We recently saw an example of an elderly woman, diagnosed to have dengue, recovering completely without stepping out of her home. She was able to do so by being continuously connected to the doctor and her treatment being monitored remotely. The current system of care delivery doesn't leverage the connectivity that’s available to everyone through mobile. Quick reminders for patients to take their  medicines on time, checking with them on how they are recovering from illness and the provider's continuous vigilance, particularly in chronic conditions and situations like pregnancy and child growth are all possible in this age of always-on connectivity. Such proactive care makes the doctors and the providers  more effective, accessible and reliable. 

More personal Point of Care: Mobile will help reaching the doctor without going to the doctor. From answering to health queries,  providing  serious consultations and enabling long term care, the care starts and sustains through this little device in our hand. The power of this phenomenon is immense. The discreteness and the personalization one needs in healthcare is now possible and caters to all kinds of people and their varied requirements. A couple planning for a baby, a busy working professional, a  young parent or someone taking care of dependents -  we all can attend to our life and to our health with equal priority. When the doctors visit becomes a matter of firing up the app, and taking out few minutes, we will do a much better job of taking care of our health. 

The future is a system where healthcare provided by all the trusted institutions around us  is on-demand and easy to access. It will be exciting to see how mobile will truly empower each one of us to take care of our health.  

*according to latest annual report by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)


 Author
Prasad Kompalli
Entrepreneur. Business leader. Health-tech evangelist.


These are just a few words to describe Prasad. Best known for his leadership role at Myntra, India's largest e-commerce store for fashion and lifestyle products, Prasad has built and lead large teams from ground-up, in a career spanning more than 20 years.


As the Chief Business Officer of Myntra, Prasad led its growth from being a small ecommerce company to become the largest fashion destination in India, with a revenue nearing 1B. He was responsible for driving Myntra's business across Category Management, Marketing, Fashion and Revenue. At Myntra, Prasad is credited for bringing several international brands to India, and creating a lasting impact in the industry by driving strategic partnerships and M&As. Prasad is also known to have lead Myntra through several technical innovations such as being mobile first, and creating opportunities at the intersection of data science and fashion. He has been instrumental in driving value creation through deep tech integration with partners in the fashion industry.


Prior to Myntra, Prasad had a long stint at SAP where he was leading an international team of 600 engineers developing key technology products in the areas of mobility, business process management and EAI. He was one of the top 200 global leaders at SAP where he held strategy and general management roles. During his time at SAP, he created several product innovations and has got eight patents under data and mobile technology.


mfine is Prasad’s second entrepreneurial venture, prior to which, he was the cofounder of Indus Bionics - an ambitious attempt to build indigenous low-cost cochlear implants.


Prasad is a big believer in tech-lead transformation of societies and strives to create positive impact for consumers, especially in India, with technology. He sees an unprecedented opportunity with mobile tech and AI to create a high quality healthcare experience that is personal and accessible on-demand. With mfine, Prasad wants to shape the new-age healthcare delivery in India.


Prasad also holds 7 patents in data and mobile technology.

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