Revolutionizing India’s Rural Healthcare Through Technology

Dell partners with the Government of India to develop a human-centered technology solution to overcome the challenges of providing consistent, preventive care in rural areas
Aug 14, 2018 10:40 AM ET

Approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people live in rural areas, according to the World Health Organization. Imagine the challenge of delivering preventive healthcare to over 800 million remote villagers and tracking patient records without the use of technology. India’s network of 200,000 auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) serve as the front lines of India’s healthcare system, providing villagers with everything from managing diabetes to childbirth assistance. ANMs in these areas rely primarily on a paper-based system for screening, referring and tracking patients – a system prone to errors, making it difficult to provide continuity of care.

With noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer, diabetes and heart disease on the rise in India, the Government of India embarked on a mission for population-based prevention, screening and management by health workers to increase early detection of common NCDs. The NCD program is a key component of comprehensive primary healthcare under Ayushman Bharat, a flagship national health initiative announced by the Government of India in early 2018. Dell worked with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as its technology partner, taking on the formidable challenge of building a technology solution that would help ANMs and doctors to screen and manage NCDs, while also helping the government to standardize and automate care and record keeping. The solution also needed to have the right dashboards to enable the policymakers to use data analytics to spot health trends and needs across the country.

In 2014, Dell built and deployed a modern digital healthcare solution, Digital LifeCare, as a pilot in partnership with the nonprofit Karuna Trust in the State of Karnataka. Later, Dell worked with state government health departments to customize and deploy Digital LifeCare across the State of Andhra Pradesh in 2016 and in seven districts in the State of Telangana in 2017. In partnership with Tata Trusts, thousands of ANMs and hundreds of doctors across 20 of these states’ districts (with a total target population of 9.5 million) have been trained to screen people for NCDs using Digital LifeCare. Since late 2017, Dell has been working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to customize the Digital LifeCare solution for deployment in health facilities in more than 150 districts across all of India’s 29 states and seven union territories. To achieve this ambitious goal, the Dell team is working with the Ministry and partner institutions including the World Health Organization, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Council for Medical Research and National Health Systems Resource Center. The comprehensive feedback from the Ministry and experts is helping shape the design and development of a sophisticated application with referral options, reminders and workplans; protocol-based care at the primary level for assessing risk, screening, treatment and follow-up; and a unique health ID for every individual. This data, captured in an electronic health record, will enable a continuum of care over time across health facilities at all levels.

This solution was launched by the Honorable Prime Minister of India in April 2018, and the Government health departments across the country will use it to initially serve a target population of nearly 37 million people over the age of 30. Our deployment partner is Tata Trusts, one of the largest foundations in India. Tata Trusts will support the Government in the deployment and training for thousands of ANMs on the technology solution.

This story shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. More at