About two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people live in rural areas, according to the World Health Organization. Can you imagine the challenge of delivering preventive healthcare to over 800 million remote villagers and tracking patient records without the use of technology?

With noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer, diabetes and heart disease on the rise in India, the Government of India embarked on a mission for population-based prevention, screening and management by frontline health workers to increase early detection of common NCDs.

The NCD program is a key component of comprehensive primary healthcare under Ayushman Bharat, a flagship national health initiative announced by the Government of India in early 2018. Dell worked with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as its technology partner, taking on the formidable challenge of building a technology solution that would help India’s auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) and doctors to screen and manage NCDs, while also helping the government to standardize and automate care and record keeping.

India’s network of 200,000 auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) serve as the front lines of India’s healthcare system, providing villagers with everything from childbirth support and diabetes management. ANMs in these areas rely primarily on a paper-based system for screening, referring and tracking patients. This system of recording patients’ information is prone to errors, making it difficult to provide continuity of care.
anm viewThe solution also needed to have the right dashboards to enable the policymakers to use data analytics to spot health needs and trends across India.

In 2014, Dell built and deployed a modern digital healthcare solution, Digital LifeCare, as a pilot in partnership with the nonprofit Karuna Trust in the State of Karnataka. Later, Dell worked with state government health departments to customize and deploy Digital LifeCare across the State of Andhra Pradesh in 2016 and in seven districts in the State of Telangana in 2017. In partnership with Tata Trusts, thousands of ANMs and hundreds of doctors across 20 of these states’ districts (with a total target population of 9.5 million) have been trained to screen people for NCDs using Digital LifeCare.
Since late 2017, Dell has been working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to customize the Digital LifeCare solution for deployment in health facilities in more than 150 districts across all of India’s 29 states and seven union territories.

This solution was launched by the Honorable Prime Minister of India in April 2018, and the Government health departments across the country will use it to initially serve a target population of nearly 37 million people over the age of 30. Our deployment partner is Tata Trusts, one of the largest foundations in India. Tata Trusts will support the Government in the deployment and training for thousands of ANMs on the technology solution.

The Digital LifeCare platform includes an Android app for ANMs to use in the field on their tablets, web apps for primary-, secondary- and tertiary-level doctors, and dashboards for health officials. All patient data is synced and stored in the Government’s cloud infrastructure.

To assist ANMs with their screenings and care recommendations, Digital LifeCare’s mobile app features a series of interactive modules to lead workers through every step of a visit. We included prompts to obtain family and medical history, videos demonstrating proper screening techniques, and health education content to help patients learn about things like nutrition or conducting breast self-exams.

Primary health doctors are sometimes overburdened, and Digital LifeCare helps them by guiding them through the patient examination and offering recommended actions and alternatives at each step. The portal is based on the Government of India’s disease protocols for examination, referral, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. This is particularly important given that NCDs are silent, chronic diseases that need follow-up for life.

The protocol-based system ensures that patients receive the same level of care. There is a comprehensive planning tool that allows ANMs and doctors to track follow-up visits of patients, and most importantly, focus on those who have fallen through the cracks.

“This project fulfills Dell’s vision to develop technologies that drive human progress, and it really tapped into our team’s passion for service,” said Sunita Nadhamuni, director of Dell’s Center for Transformational Innovation in Bengaluru, which spearheaded Digital LifeCare’s development. “Our team members worked hard to understand the challenges healthcare workers face in the field so they could design technology that helps them succeed. This initiative will make a robust system of health management and change the landscape of medical services delivery in rural India.”


To learn more about healthcare challenges in India and how Dell has worked with its partners to achieve this ambitious initiative, visit the full story as part of our Annual Update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan.