ACCESS Health Digital: The Healthcare Innovation Journey

Ayushman Bharat or PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana), is India’s national public health insurance fund of the Government of India that aims to provide free access to health insurance coverage for low-income earners.

Across the country, innovators are developing solutions that can increase service efficiency of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and make Indian healthcare more affordable and accessible while providing quality services. An open adoption of innovations for advancing the objectives of the Ayushman Bharat – PMJAY program while ensuring the cost effectiveness of the innovations, is critical to the success of Universal Healthcare that India adopted as a policy in 2017.

ACCESS Health Digital’s commitment to strengthen the ecosystem by supporting enterprises in addressing the gaps in the Indian healthcare space has been taking shape in various formats ranging from the introduction of the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator, the Market Access program in partnership with the National Health Authority and now, as a partner in the new collaboration of the National Health Authority -Innovation Unit.

The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator:

ACCESS Health Digital developed the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator program with a purpose to help Indian Healthtech startups and vendors create the right impact by extending their reach and enabling them to operate as non-siloed entities within the healthcare landscape. By helping the startup members implement globally acceptable Open Digital Health Standards, the startups can help advance sustainability of the healthcare eco­system in India while making a real difference in people’s lives.

ACCESS Health Digital’s Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator  program was started to mentor carefully selected digital health companies. The accelerator has attracted wide scale investor interest within the country and overseas even though it remains a nonprofit entity, true to its character of a think tank and a center of excellence committed to serving the nation.

As part of this endeavor, ACCESS Health Digital facilitates the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator community through:

  • Minimum Viable Product: By helping the companies implement the building blocks as laid out in the NDHB.  The Minimal Viable Product Definitions developed by ACCESS Health Digital are in complete congruence with all the standards, frameworks, and recommendations of the National Digital Health Blueprint, including Government of India notified digital health standards. 
  • Mentorship: The accelerator plays a vital role by way of providing technical and functional mentorship for the implementation of the Minimal Viable Products into the partner products. This enables them to become interoperability champions and early change makers.
  • Stamp of Confidence: ACCESS Health Digital places its stamp on the products that adopt the Minimal Viable Products. The Accelerator also strongly positions the early adopters in its network as National Digital Health Blueprint standards compliant products.

The National Health Authority -Market Access Program:

The National Health Authority-Market Access Program originated with the winners from the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana Start-Up Grand Challenge in 2019. As part of this program, ACCESS Health Digital provides the Market Access Program members with mentorship, market access, and a stamp of confidence, among other basic building blocks that can position them in the digital health landscape.

The National Health Authority -Market Access Program has reached a significant milestone with a few of its members having completed this journey and having successfully incorporated the National Digital Health Blueprint recommended standards. These members are ready to explore opportunities within National Health Authority partner organizations and empaneled provider organizations. Leveraging the ACCESS Health Digital domain expertise, strategic network, and understanding of the ecosystem, the program has successfully provided strategic roadmap recommendations to its members. With experience and exposure to ideas and disruptive innovations, the techno-functional team has helped set aspirational goals for the startups. Members of the Accelerator and the Market Access Program have found immense value in the mentorship provided by the ACCESS Health Digital domain experts. Valuable contributions from the members to the open-source community has been another significant by-product of this innovation-driven partnership.

Supporting Innovation in healthcare being the point of commonality between ACCESS Health Digital and The National Health Authority, the Innovation Unit that has been established to bring much needed to the healthcare ecosystem has a clear focus. It aims on enabling a seamless path in the ecosystem that allows mainstreaming of innovations by facilitating institutional linkages, meaningful piloting and validation , public and private procurement etc.

The National Health Authority Innovation Unit – ACCESS Health Digital partnership:

Taking the innovation journey forward and to another new level, ACCESS Health Digital is pleased to continue to partner with National Health Authority  on their new mission. The National Health Authority  has entered into a technical collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi for supporting healthcare innovations. As part of this initiative, National Health Authority  aims to be a technical collaborator on the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Financing Facility leveraging an innovation fund of $100 million. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi serves as the hosting entity for SAMRIDH, and this initiative is implemented by a Technical Support Unit, managed by IPE Global.

Through this partnership, National Health Authority and IIT Delhi have come together to support innovative solutions to address the needs and priorities of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana ecosystem. This collaboration enables rapid scaling and diffusion of health innovations across 23,000 Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana empaneled hospitals. The innovations supported through the program shall aim to improve the health infrastructure, build capacity of healthcare providers, and build effective COVID-19 mitigation – all in the pursuit to achieve ‘health for all’ in India.

The focus of SAMRID would be to enable necessary catalytic capital for innovations for swift response to COVID-19 and other priority healthcare gaps. This partnership, leveraging distinct sources to identify innovative healthcare solutions, will provide a platform for diverse set of organizations, including manufacturers/suppliers of drugs, vaccines and health-tech, private healthcare networks, innovation incubators, social enterprises/NGOs, research, and academic institutions, to come together towards solving complex healthcare challenges in India. This shared commitment of a wide spectrum of public and private stakeholders is envisioned to create the much-needed momentum to build an inclusive and sustainable healthcare system for India.

ACCESS Health Digital shall support the program by developing the Validation toolkit that can be utilized to evaluate the startups and provide them with the required mentorship. The validation toolkit shall be inclusive by design to ensure that opportunities are available to all deserving but also diverse innovations. ACCESS Health Digital intends to extend its support by providing guidance to the startups on the adoption and implementation of the NDHB standards and evaluating them using the ACCESS Health Digital Stamp of confidence, thus making them procurement ready.

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The lessons and collaborative experiences gained from these programs have been highly insightful. ACCESS Health Digital is grateful for the opportunity to make a meaningful and impactful contribution in the healthcare innovation journey of India.