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iKure Techsoft Pvt. Ltd. has been selected to participate in a new ‘Peer learning network’ hosted by Microsoft and the ODI

iKure has this week been announced as one of six organisations to take part in an international peer learning network for data collaborations.

The network is hosted by the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Microsoft through Microsoft’s Open Data Campaign, which aims to close the data divide and help organisations of all sizes to realise the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers.

The goal of the peer learning network is to convene data collaborations of all sizes to enable them to learn from one another and access expert guidance and support to more effectively address the challenges they face.

iKure has been chosen as one of the winning organisations. iKure through this collaboration aims to build open data access framework through integration of real-time data with advanced AI framework to create early response for NCD management.

The other five selected data collaborations are: Caring for Equality in Buenos Aires’ Labour Market – Open Data Charter

Data cargo – The Data Place
● MaaS-Peer – ITS Norway
● Packaging reuse data – Reath and Zero Waste Scotland
● Shanghai FinTech Innovation Data Collaboration – Open Data China

Jeni Tennison, Vice President and Chief Strategy Adviser at the ODI, said:
“It was exciting to see such a diverse range of projects, from across the globe, wanting to come together to learn from the ODI, Microsoft and, most importantly, each other. The selected data collaborations will seek to use shared and open data to tackle key global issues, including climate change, gender equality and disease control. This peer network should both help them to succeed and provide real world insights into what it takes to have a successful collaboration around data.”

Jennifer Yokoyama, Vice President and Chief IP Counsel at Microsoft, said:
“We’re delighted to bring together this first cohort of data collaborations for the new peer learning network in partnership with the ODI. The awardees are working on impressive and foundational work across domains and geographies. By assembling these data collaborations we can learn from each other and experts in data sharing, to ultimately help organizations that are looking to get more value from their data.”

“iKure is excited to win this opportunity to create better value for people they serve.”

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Travel

Dedicated to all the women who shaped and defined iKure

Dr. Tirumala Santra Mandal, Sr. Research & Communication Analyst, iKure brings forefront her experience in working with the other women of iKure who with her contributed and defined the venture’s entrepreneurial journey, carved new beginnings supported through women power and sisterhood- a must have for every startup culture. Read on… image iKure’s journey over several years has been shaped by countless hands. And few among them are the fearless, prominent, and prolific women, who championed new initiatives at iKure, took away our doubts, stood by us and ushered hope – with support and smile. On International Women’s Day, I take this opportunity to thank them all with immense gratitude.…. I remember the old adage, “A strong women stand for herself, a stronger woman stands for everybody else.” The narrative tells us that over the years, women have transformed and supported other women to rise up and above the rest. At iKure I have had the privilege to experience the participation of such women who stood and supported our journey both externally and internally paving way for success, flourish and thrive. Satoko Kono, Arun LLC, President-Her association with iKure started as an investor from Japan. Her calm and vibrant nature has always amazed me. She is extremely polite, naïve and takes a keen interest in our activities, success, even failure, and impact. Her eye for detail, down-to-earth attitude, and her infectious energy is something that my team always admires whenever she visits them in the field. Shreyshi Dey & Sharmistha Roy, University Of Michigan-They joined us back as VP in Research iKure. Though for a brief period of time, I recall their contribution particularly for bringing up the new iKure logo. I remember, the entire team debated around it, but they were quick and prompt to understand that what we wanted was something that can resonate with the community and reflect our motto. Kudos to them to get it just right! Mallika Rani. Das, CHW Tabageria- One year back, I met her in our Tabageria Hub. Draped in green saree, the uniform she adorns was sited among other CHWs who were getting ready to start their day’s job with door-step visits. I asked her, can you tell me what exactly you say when you visit our beneficiaries. In the next minute, the way she introduced us with a brief narrative of iKure’s mission left me amazed. While few of her fellow mates have left, but she remained with us, sure of the journey that brought her more value and respect than anywhere else. Today she handles new devices, screens patients and counsels women like a PRO. Way to go! image Gayatri S. Achari, Project Assistant-I am inspired by her continued faith and dedication towards her job. She has been a valuable member of iKure’s initiatives in Karnataka. She would often tell me, how she has become an inspiration for her family. Many pregnant women in her community preferred consulting her rather than a doctor. She told me, how working for iKure has helped her gain such respect for herself. I learned from her, it is important to love what you do, rather how you do. It adds value to work in many ways. Shwethnisha Bose,Parswati Das, Ritika Singha Roy, Riya Das, & Debleena Ganguli, Kanika Das, Technology, Operations, Research developer – The current women brigade of iKure are known for multitasking, promptness, emphatic and carrying never- say-no attitude towards their deliverables. During my daily course of interactions with them, I found them immensely passionate, braving all-odds at personal fronts and making new narratives of women co-working, co-learning and supporting each other which very few workplaces can even boost. They are responsible for bringing customized technology solutions across borders, operational acumen, in-depth impact reports, and excellent designing skills. You guys rock! image Avanti Gomes, Trainee at iKure- The young women from the University of Technology, Sydney proved that you should never undermine the young minds, making us believe once again, good things come in small packages. Her insights and deep understanding of iKure’s operations were well researched and thoroughly studied. She left behind the thought that there is lot more to women self than meets the eye. Jayanti Santra, My Mother- She is a homemaker, but a cheerleader for iKure. She raised both of her children with a wider perspective in life. Both our parents have been always supportive of our decisions and taught us to value others, be courageous and self-reliant. Her immense belief and faith in me helped me overcome my self-doubt whenever I felt low & timid. Sarah Santra, My sister-in-law- This narrative would be incomplete without mentioning her about her support towards iKure. While her husband, the CEO travelled extensively, she managed the home front with Élan, and we all know, it is no less than managing an empire. I admire her playing a pivotal role in beautifying the office ambiance with her intricate designing and styling sense which goes without saying is much valued for. She helped me understand the bigger picture of life and admiring the fact that we stand for each other when needed. More power to sisterhood. image iKure has been led by many other peers, trainees, partners whom I could not mention here due to word limits, but they are truly our cheerleaders, importantly helping us become one of the very few start-ups acquire immense acceptance and global recognition within a short span of time. We value each one of- you and look forward to having onboard more women power to inspire and support us ahead! Dr. Tirumala Santra Mandal, Sr. Research & Communication Analyst
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Why Does A Healthcare Provider Need To Grow?

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Why does a healthcare provider need to grow? Or for that matter, why does any organization need to grow? There are many successful and profitable businesses that have consciously decided to remain small. Surely, growth can’t be a business imperative!

For over a year now, I have been focusing on this topic of “growth” for iKure – a social enterprise that delivers primary healthcare and wellness & prevention services through disruptive technology, network of Hub & Spoke Clinics, trained frontline health workers and continuum of care. I have summarized my key learnings in this article. While these learnings are from a single company in the primary healthcare sector, I am certain that most of these insights are generic and relevant for other companies in other sectors.

What does growth mean for iKure?

At iKure, we consider the following parameters to measure our growth:

  • Impact: in terms of number of patients treated, population covered, number of community health workers (CHW) trained, villages covered, etc.
  • Physical Presence: number of primary healthcare clinics.
  • Financials: in terms of revenue & profitability

Why is it necessary for iKure to grow?

Over the past several years, iKure has established a successful model for technology-enabled primary healthcare delivery. iKure has been a profitable organization since the last 3 years doing great work with significant impact in select communities that we serve.


In this scenario, what is the imperative for iKure to grow? Why can’t we continue the good work at our current scale of operations?

We have identified the following as the key reasons why growth is vital for us:
1. Economies of Scale: Growth will enable us to optimize resources, reduce costs, acquire greater purchasing power and become more efficient. Through growth we will be able to build clusters of Hub & Spoke primary healthcare clinics. We will be able to deliver greater value to our customers.

2. Sustainability: Growing to a certain size will provide greater stability, increase our survival rate and enable us to better face competitive pressures.
3. Diversification: Growth will provide us opportunities to diversify by introducing new products and services. This will further fuel our growth and improve our sustainability.
4. Customer Retention: For retaining our existing customers and acquiring new customers, it is important for us to grow. There have been several instances when despite having very good solutions and the necessary experience, we have not been able to engage with certain potential customers since we did not meet their “size” criteria.
5. Talent Management: With growth, size and scale, our ability to attract and retain talent will improve significantly.
6. Branding: Growing to a certain size will enable us to build goodwill, brand and reputation and gain visibility.
7. Research& Development: At iKure, we have significant focus on conducting research with leading global organizations and academic institutes. Growth will enable us to support more such projects and also conduct experiments in primary healthcare delivery models and innovative technology.
8. Cross Subsidization: As a social organization, we are keen to deliver healthcare services across a wide spectrum of population. Growth will enable us to better cross subsidize services across various socio-economic groups.
9. Stakeholder Returns: Growth will provide us an opportunity to adequately reward our key stakeholders – primarily our investors and employees.
10. Fund Raising: Our ability to raise funds and at a lower cost of capital is directly proportional to the rate at which we are growing. It is ironic that funds have a tendency to flow to companies who need it the least.


How does iKure plan to grow?

We have drawn up an aggressive growth plan for iKure, based on the following key levers:

  • Penetrate Existing Markets: iKure is focusing on delivering greater value to existing customers by increasing our basket of products and services. We are focusing on customer services and building increased customer loyalty.
  • Extend Market Reach: Setting up additional primary healthcare clinics will be a key driver for iKure’s growth. We plan to replicate our successful model using a “cookie cutter approach”. These clinics will be a combination of iKure owned and operated centres as well as in collaboration with business and corporate partners. We also propose to extend our market reach by getting into new geographies.
  • Strategic Partnerships: This involves collaboration with partners including corporates, non- government organizations, insurance companies, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies
  • Technology Platform: Technology is a key enabler for iKure’s growth and scaling up. iKure’s population health management platform will streamline internal business processes and operations. In addition, our technology platform will integrate other components of the ecosystem like point of care digital medical devices, wearables, BI & Analytics, supply chain management, AI/ML use cases, telemedicine, digital health cards, payment applications, insurance products, remote and home care solutions and other 3 rd party systems.
  • De-Medicalization: A key approach in iKure’s growth journey is to optimize scarce “clinical resources” and reduce dependence on qualified MBBS doctors through technology and business process re-engineering
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: While we will primarily focus on growing organically, we will also explore opportunities for rapid growth through strategic partnerships with other companies.

What are our challenges to growth?

We are gearing up to face several challenges in our growth journey including the following:

Change Management: We will need to keep up with changing market conditions and competition. Also, we will be required to constantly align our systems and processes and our people with the growth.

  • Strategy: While we grow rapidly, we will need to maintain our focus and overall direction and vision. We must learn to say “NO” to some of the opportunities and say this quickly. We have to accept our failures and quickly pivot. One of our success criteria will be “how fast are we able to experiment” and scale up the successful ones.
  • Planning & Execution: Scaling up our primary healthcare delivery through setting up new clinics will require excellent planning and implementation. We are in the process of fine tuning our systems and processes so that we are able to maintain a very high level of quality as we grow.
  • Resource Management: In the healthcare provider business the availability of MBBS doctors and specialists is a challenge – especially in the social sector. This will be a key success factor for iKure.
  • Company Culture: iKure has been created with a vision of making a social impact. As we grow, we will need to ensure that we build a company culture that supports this vision.

Adequate funding is a key requirement for growth. However, I have not included it in the above list.
This is because, we see this as a pre-requisite for growth and not necessarily as a challenge.

Will our growth negatively impact focus on equitable healthcare?

The above question is extremely relevant for all healthcare providers. More so for a social enterprise
like iKure.

We at iKure are convinced that growth is absolutely imperative to provide “quality primary healthcare services” that is Accessible, Available and Affordable.

At iKure, technology is a major driver for equitable healthcare in the following ways:

  • reduce costs
  • improve accessibility & affordability – helps to rapidly scale up
  • improve quality of care by streamlining business processes and enabling continuity of care

GROWTH is a key requirement in the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage!

Rahul Chatterjee
Chief Growth Officer, iKure

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Featured, Lifestyle

Continuity of Care in Primary Healthcare Delivery

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What is Continuity of Care?

“Continuity of Care” is concerned with quality of care over time. It is the process by which the patient and his/her physician-led care team are cooperatively involved in ongoing health care management toward the shared goal of high quality and cost-effective medical care.

Continuity of care is the primary objective of family medicine and is consistent with quality patient care provided through a patient-centered medical service. The continuity of care approach helps family physicians gain their patients’ confidence. It also facilitates the family physician’s role as a cost-effective coordinator of the patient’s health services by making early recognition of problems possible. This is rooted in a long-term patient-physician partnership in which the physician knows the patient’s history from experience and can integrate new information and decisions from a whole-person perspective efficiently without extensive investigation.

[The above is a lightly edited version of the definition of Continuity of Care from the American Academy of Family Physicians (“AAFP”) website.]

Continuity of care has several dimensions:

  • Relationship continuity: continuous caring relationship with a clinician
  • Management continuity: continuity and consistency of clinical management, including care planning, and any necessary co-ordination of care required by the patient
  • Information continuity: providing and sharing information regarding the patient across all care providers

Management continuity is relevant whenever a patient is receiving care from more than one clinician or healthcare provider. It concerns the processes involved in co-ordinating, integrating and personalising care to deliver a high-quality service. The General Physician’s (GPs) clinical responsibility as coordinator of care for patients includes helping patients to understand and plan their treatment, navigate unfamiliar services successfully and remain engaged with their care. Good relationship continuity can contribute substantially to achieving this. Having one principal care provider with a holistic view of the patient is central to patients’ experiences of good management continuity and provides a sense of security and confidence about the future.

 

Benefits of Continuity of Care

Continuity of care approach has significant benefits and will result in better care at a lower cost over a period of time. Some of the specific benefits include:

  • Increased trust in the doctor-patient relationship
  • Reduces fragmentation of care and improves patient safety (by reduction of medical errors), quality of care and outcomes in a cost-effective way
  • Enables early recognition of healthcare problems without extensive investigations and unnecessary medication
  • Reduces “collusion of anonymity” when “patient is passed from one specialist to another with nobody taking complete responsibility for the patient
  • Better accuracy of the patient’s medical records
  • Reduction in unplanned hospital admissions
  • Reduction in the use of emergency department
  • Better adherence to medical advice, especially regarding long-term prevention and wellness
  • Empowers patients to take greater ownership for managing their health
  • Reduction in secondary care (medical care provided by a specialist or a facility upon referral by a primary care physician)
  • Improvement in treatment of chronic condition and quality of life of patients
  • Ensures information continuity; patients dislike having to repeat their story to different clinicians
  • Improvement in patient satisfaction

Use of Technology in Continuity of Care
Technology is a major enabler towards ensuring continuity of care. Some of the key technology elements that are widely used for this purpose are:

  • Electronic Health/Medical Record (EHR/EMR): EHR/EMR is vital for maintaining information continuity across various care providers.
  • Continuity of Care Document (CCD): CCD fosters interoperability of clinical data by allowing physicians to send electronic medical information to other providers without loss of meaning, thereby ensuring better patient care.
  • Tele-Medicine: Virtual patient-doctor consultations through tele-medicine platforms will facilitate relationship continuity and enable a physician to provide care to patients remotely.
  • Home Care Medical Devices & Wearables: Data from medical devices and wearables enables the healthcare providers to remotely monitor patients and take timely and proactive action for improved care delivery.

 

Challenges in Continuity of Care

While there are significant benefits of the continuity of care approach, there are a few challenges that we need to recognize.

  • Relationship continuity is dependant on having access to a particular physician when required. Patients with an urgent problem are often prepared to trade off waiting to see a physician with whom they have a good relationship in favour of an unknown physician.
  • In several cases, patients are willing to sacrifice “continuity of care” and are acceptable to consult with a doctor other than their usual GP. These include:

1. Patients with acute problems (like a chest infection), don’t really care which doctor they see. They are looking for someone who can see them in a timely fashion and will treat them.
2. Need specialised care from another member of the team
3. Wish to discuss a problem they find embarrassing to discuss with their regular doctor
4. Chose to consult a GP of the same gender

  • There are studies to suggest that a fresh start with a new doctor might open new diagnostic perspectives.
  • Seeing the same doctor might not guarantee a good relationship.
  • Patient-doctor relationship continuity might encourage collusion (for e.g., wrongfully getting a sickness certification)
  • Continuity of care can decrease communication if doctor or patient assumes they know (or are known by) the other so well that new issues are not introduced or discussed.

 
 

“Continuity of Care” does not necessarily mean that the patient will consult with the same doctor each time. This might not be possible. In such cases, we will need to ensure continuity using technology and services of other clinicians in the network. When it comes to continuity, the patients are really looking for the following:

  • They do not have to repeat details of their history and condition each time they meet a new clinician
  • They are not repeatedly handed over from one clinician to another and no one seems to be responsible
  • They are not subjected to unnecessary medication and investigations
  • They do not fall between the cracks as they transition from one treatment setting to another
  • They do not receive conflicting opinions from different clinicians

We need to ensure that the patient does not experience the above.

However, we should endeavour to provide “Continuity of Care” through the same doctor during an “episode of care” (healthcare services for a specific medical problem, condition or illness) for each patient.

At iKure, “Continuity of Care” is a key focus area and our primary healthcare delivery model is built around this theme. For us, continuity of care involves integrating patient care in his home with our Clinic services through the following:

  • our network of Hub & Spoke clinics
  • regular health intervention programs in the community
  • trained frontline health workers for last mile connectivity
  • our proprietary population health management system
  • integration with medical devices and wearables
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Lifestyle, Sport

World Heart Day

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This Day is observed on 29th September every year, to commemorate the great role this organ plays in the human system.

On this day …we must make a pledge to create and sustain a heart-healthy environment, by adopting healthy choices in our day to day lives,supplemented with a basic knowledge profile,in order to live longer with a happily beating heart, free from disease but loaded with a zest for life !

The Global Scenario…….more than 17.3 million deaths occur every year from cardio-vascular diseases. Acute Coronary Syndromes(ACS)….the lead members being Acute MI and Unstable Angina…cause a vast No. of unprepared and sudden strikes….with high morbidity and mortality..in spite of getting the best state of the art treatment facilities today…which are largely preventable !

The recent trends in the cardio-vascular morbidity profile are Coronary Artery Disease ( Ischaemic Heart Disease) and complications of Diabetes/Hypertension causing Heart Failure and ultimate gloomy prognosis..physically and financially.

With the above frightful picture in the backdrop, one should follow a guided lifestyle to keep the cardiovascular diseases at bay. ..in spite of a few latest diagnostic modalities and medicines arriving in the scene, to address some of these complicated issues.

Some of the commonly recommended day to day practices/ knowledge based activities could be…

  • Avoid sedentary hours ..by ensuring mobility in the form of 30 mins. of brisk walks a day or engaging in some kind of free hand exercises,to keep the heart pumping healthily. At office..getting up a frequent no. of times from long sitting sessions and standing, ensures non-sedentary attitude of oneself.
  • STOP smoking and drinking alcohol…in totality. Damage done by smoking cannot be undone but further damage can be prevented. Maintain a steady body weight appropriate to your age and body frame.
  • Rule out Diabetes/Hypertension/Dyslipidaemia by regular blood checks and consulting a physician at a certain periodicity.The idea is to know one’s numbers on these parameters and keep a track of your progress.
  • Staying away from excess consumption of the THREE white dietary scourges….salt/sugar/white flour.
  • Relying on more of vegetable produce and to cut down on organ meat like red meat and meat of bigger animals. If Non-veg fare is the preferred one…then to insist on fish/lean meat (Chicken-minus the skin)/fewer no. of eggs/skimmed milk etc.
  • Never to skip any medication advised by Doctors and to know the warning signs of immediately seeking medical care at a Hospital,if need be.
  • Women after their menopause are more prone to Heart Attacks than men of similar age because of the sudden withdrawl of the ‘oestrogen’ protection that they have been enjoying throughout their reproductive years !
  • People suffering from Diabetes are very prone to have SILENT Heart Attacks (without the typical chest pain) thereby posing more danger in the delay of recognition of the impending emergency and crisis and hence an uncertain morbidity and case fatality.
  • One should be aware of the usual/common symptoms of an impending/onsetting Heart Attack ( Acute MI) ..such as the ubiquitous Chest Pain-not subsiding with usual medication for coronary artery dilatation and /Difficulty in breathing/unusual sweating with/without discomfort/referred pain to left upper arm and left jaw/upper back,upper abdomen/ etc. and to seek medical help instantaneously.
  • Never to ignore any/all of the above symptoms as attacks of Acidity..!!!
  • A proactive and preventive Health Check to rule out any of the heart affections, is a perquisite to a healthy and disease free life for oneself and the family members.
  • Pregnancy needs to be properly followed up at Anti-natal care to exclude cases of “Pregnancy induced Hypertension” (PIH) and its complications.

Wishing all a heart healthy Life today and beyond………

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