They may be proved wrong, if Rishi Pal Chauhan and Steven Rudolph’s dream project takes wings. The founder-directors of Jiva Institute, a social enterprise based in Faridabad, Haryana, Chauhan and Rudolph have designed a unique teledoc project using leading-edge technologies to deliver traditional healthcare to India’s rural poor. "It’s simple," says Chauhan, an engineer with a high-profile job in New York before he quit to come back to India and teamed up with friend Rudolph, an educationist based in Japan. Explains Chauhan: "Our field representatives take diagnostic information from patients using specially designed mobile phones to transmit information on the net to a central database. Doctors at the Jiva Ayurvedic health centre in Faridabad review patient profiles and symptoms and prescribe medicines and treatment. Packages of medicines are then delivered to the field workers, who disburse them to the villagers. With the help of Teledoc, we can extend delivery of our ayurvedic medicines and treatments directly to the poor." Adds Rudolph: "Teledoc uses off-the-shelf technologies and existing cellular networks. This helps us lower the cost of medical services and maximise the areas we can reach." The duo’s efforts got a fillip when the project won the Information Society’s prestigious World Summit Award for eHealth this year.
Founded in 1992, Jiva has been specialising in health and education, with a major thrust of its efforts being innovative use of technology. Jiva has been providing ayurvedic medicines to patients throughout Europe and North America since 1995 via their online services, Ayunique (www.ayunique.com), a site which currently registers about 60 inquiries every day.