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Disseminating Innovations in the Health Market

Maria Belenky's picture

How do you provide health care for the rural poor when medical professionals are scarce or unaffordable?

One emerging solution is to computerize medical knowledge. In 2007, Arogya Ghar captured the attention of the global health community when it was selected as one of the winners of the Development Marketplace global competition.

An initiative of India-based Sustainable Innovation, Arogya Ghar seeks to make basic health care accessible and affordable for the poor through locally owned kiosk-based clinics. The workflow is simple. Taking advantage of the increasing penetration of the Internet in rural areas, the clinics feature a comprehensive database of common ailments and standard disease protocols published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the WHO. Local health workers input a patient’s symptoms into the database. If a strong match is recognized, the kiosk displays a treatment plan. If no match is identified, the patient’s information is sent to physicians at the Indian Institute of Health Management Research for further review. Total cost per visit: just $0.25. 

Increasingly, innovative approaches are being applied to healthcare delivery and financing in the developing world to expand access and make care affordable to the poor. The Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI), supported by the Rockefeller and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently launched a global effort to document and disseminate information about these programs in order to encourage the scale-up and replication of the most promising models. Arogya Gar is one of more than 600 programs currently profiled by CHMI and its network of partners.

Providing detailed program-level information and a broader overview of trends, the CHMI Programs Database is interactive, filterable, and dynamic. In addition to receiving a constant stream of updates from in-country partner organizations, the database relies heavily on public input; users are able to create new program entries and request changes for outdated or incomplete information.

CHMI is working to foster stronger relationships between members of its community in order to better serve its audiences. CHMI’s content can be shared. A specially-designed widgets allows third party websites to embed live feeds of any cross-section of the database (e.g., all HIV/AIDS programs in Vietnam). Furthermore, registered users will soon be able to contact profiled program implementers to seek advice from practitioners who have successfully implemented, scaled, or replicated particular models. CHMI will also begin spotlighting programs having impact through the publication of case studies and promotion of programs achieving notable results.

And now for the most important part: We’re extremely excited to engage the Development Marketplace community to help disseminate the most complete and up-do-date information on health market innovations globally. Particularly, we’re eager to highlight and promote great early-stage initiatives in order to drive additional attention and resources to these programs, helping them disseminate and scale.

Here is how you can get involved:

  • Enter or update a program profile
  • Contact us to submit program-related publications, including case studies and evaluations
  • Sign up for our mailing list to stay on top of CHMI news and updates


Questions, comments, feedback? Please contact us at [email protected]

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