How health startups are using the power of social media to reach small town India
On World Health Day, Facebook looks at some of the startups leveraging digital platforms in order to reach out to those in need
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, the need for e-health services such as teleconsultations and online purchase of medicines has increased multifold. For the past several years, and especially during the last year, health startups in India have been working to build seamless access to quality healthcare outside metros in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns, and even rural India. Jumping on the digital bandwagon, many of these startups have found social media channels to be very effective in reaching people and patients across geographies. This World Health Day, in line with the theme of ‘Building a better, fairer world’, here’s looking at some of these startups leveraging digital platforms in order to reach out to those in need.
Practo: For millions of people, Practo is the trusted and familiar destination for accessing easier health care for patients. The company brings seekers and providers of medical expertise on a common platform and also allows digitisation of medical information and history - assessing health issues, finding the right doctor, booking diagnostic tests, obtaining medicines, storing health records or learning new ways to live healthier. In order to communicate with a wider audience base across geographical locations, Practo has been leveraging Facebook as a medium to educate lakhs of people about various health conditions and their preventive measures. They also host interactive Q&A sessions via FB Lives with doctors during which viewers can also ask questions. Additionally, they’ve tied up with Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi, who regularly busts myths around COVID-19 and shares light-hearted anecdotes of the funny and sometimes strange queries he’s received around the disease through videos on Facebook. Practo is also supporting India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, by regularly posting updates, recent developments and myth-busting creatives on their Facebook Page.
MedCords: Kota-based MedCords conducted extensive research across 800 villages over a period of 18 months, to understand what India, especially rural, wanted in healthcare. In May 2017, MedCords started its operations in Rajasthan starting from one district in Kota. Since then, the ecosystem comprising 2 android apps - “Aayu app” for families and “Sehat Sathi App” for medical stores and a doctor web portal (doctors.medcords.com) have been widely adopted by the rapidly progressing semi-urban and rural markets of India. As per their website, MedCords has catered to over 35 lakh users across 11 states. The startup presently works with 20,000 plus medical stores and 5,000 plus doctors across 33 specialties. Facebook & Instagram have been instrumental in their journey, which they use as a channel for doctors to reach out to viewers via a multitude of videos, in both Hindi and English. Doctors can be seen educating viewers about certain conditions, their prevention and possible courses of treatment.
Lyflink: Lyflink seamlessly connects patients to doctors from across India via their health app, letting doctors give advice anytime and anywhere. The health startup works to enable access to tele-consultations with doctors via video, audio, and chats on a paid basis, while queries can be asked for free. In a responsible manner, they also advise patients to not consult their online platform for emergency cases. Thousands of viewers on their Facebook Page are regularly informed about important health subjects, such as healthy eating habits and preventative measures against diseases among other topics. The startup also goes out of its way to post contact details of doctors who can be reached in case of medical emergencies or queries, via call or WhatsApp.
myUpchar: An online health services startup, it is myUpchar’s mission to make reliable information about health available to everyone in multiple vernacular languages. They also believe that their mission encompasses vetting health information and making it easy to access for everyone on the internet. On Facebook, most of myUpchar’s creative copy is in Hindi. myUpchar’ also uses Instagram to reach out to tens of thousands of viewers, who can view the videos they regularly post on various health conditions. Their IGTV also showcases videos by doctors that explain conditions and treatments in both Hindi and English.
Meta16 Labs: Meta16Labs is looking to make healthcare and wellness solutions accessible to everyone. It connects doctors from across the country with patients from rural and semi-urban areas. Through the use of social media channels like Facebook, their aim is to educate patients about health conditions, host webinars, and promote the use and adoption of telemedicine inIndia among doctors and hospitals.
Gramin Health Care: For the past five years, Gurugram-based Gramin Healthcare has been creating healthcare ecosystems in underserved rural areas. On their Facebook Page, Gramin Health Care regularly posts details about workshops conducted by them in remote rural areas. They are also leveraging the platform for job postings across India, given the wide reach of Facebook.
Tattvan E-clinic: Based out of Bareilly, telemedicine start-up Tattvan connects specialists in big cities to patients in small towns via a network of telemedicine clinics. They’re India’s first chain of branded tele-medicine clinics servicing both India and international sites. They use their Facebook Page to inform viewers about the e-clinic’s services.
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