E Health Points are healthcare centers operated by a startup, Healthpoint Services India. EHP starts as a center for clean water subscription service (EHP Lite) and then extends to Medical Consultation, Diagnostics and Medicine Dispensary. There are a total of 8 EHP centers currently, all in rural Punjab and around 16 EHP Lite centers.
EHP offers clean drinking water as a service at subscription charge of Rs.75/month and provides 20Litres of water per day. The startup call this service as preventive medicine, as non-availability of clean water is the root cause of most diseases but this basic service works a great pull model for the rest of the services that an EHP offers.
The core offering of EHP is tele-medical consultation. Each EHP is equipped with video-conferencing system that connects HSI’s urban tele-medical center. The doctors are engaged from local areas (for linguistic familiarity) and are specially trained in providing telemedical consultations. There are pilots underway for sourcing the services of specialist doctors from reputed medical colleges and hospitals who would provide consultancy at highly affordable price point at EHPs. The centers also provide diagnostic services at around Rs.40 per test. The startup claims to provide medicines at upto 50% discount at its dispensary.
Al Hammond, who calls himself a “serial social entrepreneur,” says he decided after studying low-income consumers that a for-profit company had a better chance than a nonprofit of delivering medical care to millions who need it. “It only makes sense to do this if we can scale enough to change the health-care system,” he says. “I wouldn’t, as a startup, try to change the U.S. health-care system. But in rural India, there is no health-care system, so it’s much easier to innovate there.” [Source]
Rural healthcare has seen tele-medicine as an initiative from the govt. earlier but it failed to take off, mainly due to infrastructural limitations. Given the fact that this is a for-profit organisation and not a social service, the initiative will see a better response from industry and people involved. HSI aims to bring in govt. aid to fund for extremely poor patients who may not be able to afford the Rs.30-40 consultation fee at the centers.
What do you think of the startup? How sustainable is the model given the price points and infrastructural cost to setup in rural areas?
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[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]