• DIGITAL LIFECARE

    The power of preventive screening
    to change millions of lives

    • Enabling healthcare providers to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases

      Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer afflict people across the country. Hidden and chronic, NCDs can be hard to detect until later stages, making them more difficult to treat. In India, home to the world’s second-largest population, NCDs are a major public health issue, especially in rural areas where access to quality healthcare is often challenging and paper-based record-keeping is both prone to errors and not effectively usable.

      Created by a team of passionate Dell employees, Digital LifeCare gives health workers, doctors and health officials the tools to combat the rise in NCDs. Digital LifeCare is a modern digital platform with mobile, cloud and analytics applications. It helps healthcare workers – from auxiliary nurse midwives in rural areas and villages to doctors in urban hospitals – screen, diagnose, manage and track NCDs at every level. Developed in collaboration with the government of India and a diverse ecosystem of partners, Digital LifeCare has grown from 58,000 enrolled in late 2018 to nearly 60 million as of mid-2020.

    •  

      About Digital LifeCare

      Started in late 2013 by two Dell employees with a few volunteers in a single rural facility in Karnataka, India, Digital LifeCare was implemented in one district in a neighbouring state and adopted by two states in 2017. In 2018, the Government of India launched Ayushman Bharat to revamp the country’s healthcare system. Dell was chosen as technology partner to provide the IT system for the NCD program (called GoI NCD solution). Since then, Digital LifeCare has continued to evolve.

      Digital LifeCare makes a difference because it enables a continuum of care for people across different facilities by providing a unified view of patients over time through seamless, secure data-sharing. It also equips India’s frontline healthcare workers with an easy-to-use, and easy-to-carry tool that is the first point in creating electronic healthcare records. Collaborative design thinking has been vital to Digital LifeCare’s rapid adoption across India, with inputs from India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, other government health agencies, and Tata Trusts, the implementation partner. Increasingly, user feedback from field workers is being incorporated to improve the tools. As of mid-2020, Digital LifeCare has been adopted by more than 21 states across India, with more than 40,000 healthcare professionals trained on the platform.

    •  

      User-friendly technology to improve continuum of care

      A million community health volunteers (Accredited Social Health Activists, or ASHAs) and more than 200,000 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) are the backbone of public healthcare in India. ASHAs and ANMs are often the only healthcare professionals who visit rural villages, and they help with everything from managing diabetes to childbirth. ANMs do not have medical degrees; many have a 10th-grade education augmented with 2 years of ANM training. Each ANM is responsible for monitoring the health of 5,000 people —a task made even more challenging by labor-intensive record-keeping. Digital LifeCare is designed to make life easier for ANMs and improve health outcomes across the continuum of care. Easy-to-use pictorial workflows and digital records management are designed for ANMs, many of whom may be using a digital device for the first time.

      Once patients have been screened for NCDs, primary healthcare physicians can diagnose them and refer them for further comprehensive care and treatment. To ensure patients are following their doctors’ advice, Digital LifeCare alerts ANMs when it’s time for follow-up visits. For health officials and policymakers, Digital LifeCare aggregates patient and performance data in dashboard that provide insights into emerging trends at the local, district and state levels.

    •  

      Powered by people, partnerships and technology

      The Digital LifeCare team has created a suite of apps with interactive modules to lead health workers through every step of a patient’s registration, screening, follow-up and management for NCDs: diabetes, hypertension and three common cancers (oral, breast and cervical), along with consultation for general ailments. Digital LifeCare’s technology is based on a microservices architecture and built entirely on open-source technologies. The core platform provides bi-directional data synchronization between cloud and mobile applications, data security at rest, secure authentication, referral workflows and data analytics.

      Keeping Digital LifeCare running and growing requires a substantial development team, which is fully supported by Dell Technologies. Dozens of Dell team members in India volunteer their time on various aspects of the program, from experiements with innovative technologies to providing expert guidance on niche areas and translating apps into local languages.

    •  

      Expert advisers across government, healthcare, and IT

      Partnerships across the public and private sectors are at the heart of Digital LifeCare’s growth in India and the opportunity to improve healthcare outcomes for more people. These partners can be broadly categorized among three groups, with substantial overlap in the support they provide:

      • Government partners: India has 28 states and 8 union territories, each responsible for its own healthcare system. The support of India’s national government— the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), advisors to Ministry of Health—has been essential to Digital LifeCare’s rapid adoption in more than 21 states.
      • Technology and implementation partners: Tata Trusts, the philanthropic arm of Tata Group, is Digital LifeCare’s implementation partner, working closely with state governments to train health workers and monitor progress. IndiaStack team has provided architectural guidance for Digital LifeCare system.
      • Research and academic partners: Other partners include prominent health institutions like All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), ICMR and its associated organizations, the World Health Organization’s India office, as well as many other health research institutions across the country.
    • We’re working on issues that really matter to a large number of people. This initiative will change the landscape of government health service delivery in rural India.

      Sunita Nadhamuni, Head, Digital LifeCare, Dell Giving & Social Innovation