Ampersand Group, which provides school management services to more than 3,000 government schools in 20 States, has announced plans to foray into healthcare through a chain of assisted-telemedicine clinics called Ashvin Care.
The pan-India network of tech-enabled kiosks would be run by local entrepreneurs in areas that have little access to healthcare and be supported by on-ground paramedic or nursing assistants. Each kiosk would be linked to a virtual doctor for consultation, diagnosis, follow-up and medical care with the technology back-end being handled by the company.
The group plans to open 200 nursing-supported digital clinics in West Bengal by April 2021, followed by kiosks in rural J&K and Maharashtra in the first phase.
“The facilities will house the most advanced equipment and highly-skilled paramedics and nursing assistants to provide premium quality healthcare services to the underserved population,at an affordable cost,” Rustom Kerwalla, chairman, Ampersand Group said in an interview.
“Our aim is to bring the concept of affordable e-healthcare services into the mainstream practices for easier access to medical care for all,” Mr. Kerawalla said.
The company has earmarked an investment of ₹50 crore in phase one, meant for building the digital infrastructure. Each kiosk will require an investment of ₹5-7 lakh if the infrastructure is there. If not, an equal amount would be required to set up the infrastructure. Ampersand will provide the platform and the remote doctors.
A kiosk will need two people and 7-8 IoT devices such as stethoscopes and ECG equipment. For now, one doctor may be dedicated to 2.5 kiosks. The expense for a patient may be about ₹250-300 per visit.
“We are hoping to bring down the cost of each consultation to half the amount spent currently by the Government per consultation. We look at it as a self-sustaining social initiative,” Mr. Kerawalla added.
India requires about 10-12 lakh such kiosks and the company is aiming for at least 10% of this market. It is also in talks with African countries for a similar initiative.