We usually write about digital healthcare services and technology in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe. Telemedicine in particular benefits patients, clinical staff, and healthcare facilities with cost-savings, efficiency, and improved access to care in many parts of the U.S. Even though telemedicine is a relatively new medical and health care delivery model in this country, the risks of COVID-19 have prompted many medical practices and institutions to offer telehealth services.

Swasth, a new not-for-profit organization in India, plans to employ telemedicine and other digital technologies to deliver health services to citizens throughout the country. India has a wealth of highly trained medical professionals, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies, along with other healthcare ecosystem assets. Access to the healthcare system, however, is often difficult and too expensive for a large portion of India’s population. “Swasth” means “healthy” in Hindi. The Swasth mission statement bears repeating verbatim because of its immensity and potential for improved health for the second-largest population in the world:

“Our mission is to lay the foundation for a unified technology framework that will form the digital backbone for healthcare delivery in India and spawn a healthcare revolution. The aim is to digitally and instantly connect 1.3 billion Indians to the best doctors and best of healthcare products and services, at their time and convenience. This framework will also enable Doctors and Entrepreneurs to launch a wide plethora of healthcare businesses that would benefit the end customer in a multitude of ways.”

ACT, (the Action COVID-19 Team) kick-started Swasth with an INR 10 Crores grant. The equivalent of US$1.3 million, the ACT grant amounts to $0.001 per person in India, but it’s a start. Swasth states that multiple additional foundations and funds have also offered support. Swasth also expects broad support from individuals and institutions as the initiative begins to make a difference. The first Swasth focus will be to establish a telemedicine platform to care for COVID-19 patients. The next step will be a plan for gradual expansion for all public health goals.

Digital health tech in the form of wearable sensors, AI-diagnostic support, pop-up clinics, and telemedicine networks all show great value in the U.S. and other relatively wealthy countries. The opportunity for health care improvements for a massive under-served population is even more inspiring.