Jayakishor Bhanja: The emancipator solving India’s rural healthcare hitches with HealthBot
The rosy days for entrepreneurs in India started when the licensed Indian market was gradually deregulated after the introduction of Neo-liberal economic policy and when the third wave for globalization touched the doorsteps of the Indian economy. While most of the business models were being co-opted and copied from the Western and Chinese market, few determined minds constructed business establishments based on frugal innovation and elevation of the society. Contributing to the sustainable development of the society, these leaders are representing a new picture of the Indian Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Counted among them is Jayakishor Bhanja, an entrepreneur who is scripting his success story within the Indian rural healthcare space with his venture, HealthBot.
Many things that shape people into entrepreneurs remain buried ofttimes. When we notice, we look at successful personalities and the end product, but what the person has grappled with, to get where they stand today, is often unheard. JayaKishor started his professional stint as a technologist; little did he know that his observations and experience would turn his way towards entrepreneurship. Despite being the world’s fastest growing economy, India still struggles with her various socio-economic issues and the major being rural healthcare. While 75% of health infrastructure, medical manpower and other health resources are concentrated in urban areas, rural India struggles with Contagious, infectious and waterborne diseases. While the macro (state and national) ‘grave’ concerns of the Indian Healthcare sectors are being addressed, little thinking is bestowed at micro (district and regional) levels. Jayakishor observed the roadblocks in the rural healthcare scenario through some of his acquaintances. He observed the pain people face to access the healthcare facilities located in faraway towns or cities. During the stint, his observation made him witness the mounting demand for quality and affordable healthcare services in the country. To know the root cause, Jayakishor started his groundwork by visiting multiple rural areas, which left him in blues. The doctor-patient ratio was curtailed; there were long waiting gaps and periods in the treatment. Having words with few doctors, Jayakishor realized the mounting demand for a platform to connect the dots between rural patients and the doctors. Moreover, the Internet of Things was well suited. It was the ground where Jayakishor found his inspiration, and he decided to transform the entire route map of visiting a doctor by making quality healthcare available, accessible and affordable to the rural population of India.
In 2016, Mr Bhanja laid the bedrock for Healthbot, an Internet of Things (IoT) based healthcare platform. Fortune smiled early and currently Healthbot is guarding Odisha’s healthcare horizon by providing access to better healthcare facilities via its four centers.
With its commitment to care, Healthbot created Digital Health Centers, every center is equipped with HealthBot Platform, smart healthcare devices, doctors, paramedics, assistant and an administrative executive that liaisons with specialists from the cities through HealthBot, giving people access to better healthcare facilities.
The platform has an ability to connect disparate medical devices, health trackers and other sensors. It collects contextual data from them, crunches the data and processes it to provide actionable insights to the caregivers.
Healthbot is home to clinical expertise with a team of world-class doctors and technocrats, possessing a diverse pool of talent and patient handling skills. Dr Manoranjan Padhi, a cardiac anaesthetic and Dr Kanhu Charan Sahoo, an orthodontist bring in the domain knowledge and their vast experience of working at ground zero of the rural healthcare industry. Dr Anurag Srivastava, COO, SID, IISc and Ex CTO of Wipro Technologies, mentors the team. Other than the senior doctors, HealthBot has now eight full-time doctors and fifteen consultant doctors. Support and sales staff support the team.
- Providing e-pathology solution in collaboration with third-party pathology labs
- Facilitating cataract and glaucoma surgery for poor patients by collaborating with some non-profit hospitals
- HealthBot is also advising at the ICCU at a hospital in Bhubaneshwar and has deployed the IoT platform at the primary healthcare center of large medical college located at Manipal, Karnataka.
Other than the primary services HealthBot is also providing many specialized services to the rural citizens. We have seen a steady rise in dental and eye patients in last one year. These services were a far cry in rural areas earlier. The usage of the platform has dramatically improved the outcome of managing chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. HealthBot wants to shoot two birds with one stone – rural patients get easy access to quality healthcare, while doctors in urban areas consult and treat patients without traveling to rural areas. Based on the research of Startup City Magazine’s editorial team until now, HealthBot doesn’t have any primary competitor/s, as it is the only tech firm that focuses on the rural areas instead of urban. The digital divide in rural and urban India is the stark reality in Healthcare segment, where citizens in urban India have the access to best of the medical services while those in rural or remote locations suffer from the lack of dependable healthcare services. HealthBot comes as a wave of relief for rural citizens in the domain of quality healthcare services. HealthBot has introduced a greater degree of personalization in their services, unlike other platforms which act largely as a medium to connect doctors with patients.
The firm has undertaken several local marketing initiatives to raise awareness about its services and have put up affordable healthcare centers in regions where others fear to go with the only prerequisite of a basic internet connection.
These centers also allowed HealthBot to gain in-depth information about patients.
The firm is planning to expand beyond the rural healthcare spectrum and is working with Government of Odisha to take the HealthBot’s healthcare beyond the confines of the state and poised to improve the outcome the Odisha’s healthcare services. The partnership with the state government is focused on monitoring the health of malnourished children, and the firm is bringing about 360-degree monitoring of the health of these children through its IoT platform. Currently, it has deployed its platform in three districts of Odisha and next year the plan is to roll out all over Odisha. Plans are underway to expand to the areas of adolescent nutrition, healthcare of expectant mothers, Chronic Disease Management and Home care
The firm intends to be a part of the Indian healthcare industry’s growth journey and wants to become a primary form of the healthcare service provider in rural areas. Currently, it is delivering healthcare services to 10 districts of Odisha and by next year, it is planning to serve to all districts of Odisha. It aims to set up 250 digital health centers in Odisha alone and take the helm to expand it in other states of India soon. “Once we have the critical mass in terms of the number of patients, we will start engaging large hospitals,” envisages Bhanja. HealthBot’s unique business proposition has totally transformed the healthcare model, according to the founder Bhanja, “What makes me happy is the social change, the citizens who were ignoring their health issues due to lack of awareness and lack of a facility is adequately informed to tackle his/her health issues locally. The steady increase in diabetes, hypertension, dental and eye patient is proof of it”.