Digital healthcare solutions are utilizing software or internet connected devices for detection and treatment of many prevalent but easily treatable medical conditions. They are likely to advance regulatory processes and bring more clarity to mankind on wellness tools and medical devices. Additionally, there has been a shift to value based reimbursement, creating a productive platform for adopting new business models and clinical approaches. More importantly, they are empowering consumers to self-manage their health. They also reduce the chances of human error by employing intelligent data analytics so that information is processed more efficiently.
One such innovative digital healthcare solution provider is Sehat Kahani (Story of Health). It is an all-female health provider network in Pakistan that connects home based female doctors, currently not working due to socio-cultural taboos, to provide accessible, effective, and affordable health care solutions to patients in need using ICT enabled health solutions.
In the low income communities of the country where majority of the population is uneducated with limited exposure to technology, the company upgrades existing basic health centers within the community to Sehat Kahani E – Health Hubs. They are also a market leader in Pakistan in preventive health care messaging in low to middle income communities using easy and engaging digital and non-digital health education tools to influence and improve community health patterns.
Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram and Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga are the Co-Founders of the company. After one year of her marriage, while doing her residency in Radiology, Dr. Khurram conceived her daughter and unfortunately could not continue her education as her institute did not have a policy to have an expecting mother in the program. Through another work opportunity, she landed into community health, recognizing her passion and interest to create basic primary health care accessible to people especially in the underserved areas. Having recently finished her master’s in Public Health; her key strengths include raising investments, strategy development and implementation, vigilance, passion and a strong business sense which has enabled her to develop the company from scratch. Dr. Sara is also the Regional Acumen Fellow for 2016.
Dr. Zafar has extensive experience in the field of E-Health and Tele-health. She is currently doing her masters in E-Health from University of Edinburgh through a commonwealth scholarship. Her key strengths include strategic development, business opportunities exploration, and synergies development with external stakeholders. She is also a Global Good Fund Fellow for 2018-19.
The company connects all female health provider networks to underserved beneficiaries providing access, outreach and efficiency of healthcare. They have three distinct health verticals:
- Access: By using trusted intermediaries (female front line workers) in the communities and dormant health infrastructure, they create Sehat Kahani E- Health Hubs where a front line worker is trained by five step training on medical knowledge, leadership and soft skills to connect patients in these Hubs to qualified home based female physicians and skills.
- Prevention: Sehat Kahani, through its preventive health care portfolio creates innovative preventive healthcare messaging and social marketing activities in target communities to bring out a long term change in behaviors and health patterns.
- Efficiency: Using their expertise in tele-health, they have created their unique and specialized tele-health platform – “Concierge Model”, which is accessible through desktop and from mobile as well.
Facing Challenges Head-On
Currently, many competing tele-health companies are trying to create similar solutions in Pakistan. Sehat Kahani is led by two female doctors who have not only been through the agony of not being able to practice but also know what it takes to come back to the workforce. They recognize the pool of knowledge their country is, that is being wasted by not being able to reach where it should. They also have the first mover’s advantage of being in the field for more than 3 years, piloting and iterating revenue streams, treating actual paying customers. They are the data aggregators striving to streamline true health data that has been under reported or misreported in Pakistan. They have made revenue of over net, created key collaborations and partnerships across all service lines, and won national and international recognition for their work showing that they are in it for the long haul.
Marching Ahead Confidently towards the Future
Sehat Kahani works in multiple domains which encompass a multitude of health outcomes ranging from treatment options to preventive healthcare. Alongside using technology-enabled treatment methods they have a special focus and interest in preventive health care solutions that can help create long term impact on the quality of life of a patient. In a country like Pakistan where health care indicators project a very grim picture, enabling doctors and patients with first line health care support can be answer to many complicated disease conditions. The company aims to become a household name in Pakistan where by every Pakistani can avail quality health care services from the comfort of their communities, mobiles, and laptops at a cost they can afford and with a health care provider they can trust.