Dakshas Foundation: Enabling health-tech for non-profits; from Telemedicine to Virtual Clinical Networks

October 4, 2021

The recent COVID-19 waves have shown how vulnerable communities are due to a lack of health awareness, services, and infrastructure. So many of us have experienced catastrophic health events and expenditures that 60 million Indians go through even during a non-pandemic year. These vulnerabilities are severe in rural and remote communities due to lack of access to equitable healthcare. How do we rapidly create health infrastructure to reach these remote populations and align it to the long-term delivery of health services? While telehealth services were rapidly adopted by populations and health providers to tide over the crises, many gaps emerged. Many of these services were delivered over the phone or chat which may not provide the prescriptions needed by patients. Access to telemedicine platforms is limited to the digital and internet-connected demographics. These platforms also isolate patient-doctor interactions, while healthcare delivery is team-work, involving a myriad of skill-sets. Dakshas started in 2016 with a mission to ensure healthcare is delivered, and not denied. Working with marginalized patients who visit government, nonprofit clinics, and hospitals, Dakshas understood the challenge and devised solutions that can solve for Universal Healthcare. Over time these emerged as medical protocols, service design, and health-tech to ensure marginalized patients receive the healthcare they need.  One of the health-tech solutions that emerged was ‘Virtual Clinical Networks- Meditorus’. No doctor practices in isolation. A variety of skill sets, ranging from caregiver, community health worker, nurse, family physician, and specialists are required, for a patient’s journey from ill-health to wellness. These skill sets may be present in the same organization or fragmented across the ecosystem. While telemedicine connects the doctor-patient, the interaction happens in silos. How do we bring medical teams together to deliver equitable healthcare to remote, rural patients across geographies?


Get us to the finish line of completing a 90-bed hospital for Government of Karnataka

Swasti is setting up a 90 bed modular hospital within the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, which will function as part of the existing Institute. This facility will be used for care provision for COVID in the coming year and in future will provide care for people who come to this facility; it is right next to 2 other Govt. hospitals (NIMHANS and Sanjay Gandhi Trauma Centre)
Working with IT volunteers, Dakshas developed a pro-bono platform, Meditorus, where health team members with different skills and from different organizations can momentarily and virtually come together to treat a single patient. Organizations can onboard their entire clinical network onto a single platform. Meditorus connects patients to the exact skillset they need; maybe a health desk for non-medical information, to nurses for health information; family physicians for comprehensive health advice, or specialists for complex problems. A single medical team can manage up to 200-300 patient interactions over a day in this way.  Moreover patients do not need internet or digital skills to avail medical services on Meditorus. All the patient needs to do is to make a missed call to connect to their medical team. Prescriptions are released over sms. So, the platform helps serve populations in remote areas, who may not be digitally connected. Another advantage of Meditorus is that specialist knowledge about complex problems is shared throughout the network. So, every interaction with the patient is well-grounded in current or potential complications that the patient may develop. The orientation not only reduces the risk of complications but also ensures every interaction builds on the previous interaction without repetition. This increases the efficiency of medical teams by 50-80 %. Meditorus brings fragmented practice networks to one place to reach more patients, solve more cases, all in less time. The specialist is able to pay more attention to severe cases. The General Physician is able to maintain the health of a network of patients. And the nurse is able to create a healthy environment for the patient. A synchronised virtual clinical network platform that Recalls, Retrieves and Records, as it cares for the patient from illness to wellness, is now available to all nonprofits delivering healthcare.

Dr. Bharat Sharma, Programme Coordinator at Dakshas

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