In a race of Startups, driven mainly by profit motive, finding Startups which have social reach is sometimes difficult. Especially in Bangalore, where most of the Startups in the recent times are IT based and are mainly concerned with providing services to the upper strata or relatively affluent section of the society.
Different from the norm, Forus Health is one such Startup in Bangalore which provides innovative, technology based solutions for health issues. Funded by Asian Healthcare Fund ,Accel Partners and IDG Ventures, the driving principle behind this Startup is providing cost effective and efficient medical diagnostics services to people from every financial background.
Incidentally Forus health is one of the first Startups in India providing low cost healthcare services.According to Forus, their aim is to reach out to rural and economically weaker sections of developing nations that do not have access to adequate eye care and help the economically disadvantaged sector gain access to healthcare.
Their flagship product is 3nethra which has gathered much attention in recent times. It is a portable eye screening device with Integrated telemedicine module which enables health records management on the cloud. It provides digital images of the anterior and posterior segments and the best part is that it can be operated by someone with very basic instructions. Another variant of 3nethra is built with an objective auto refractometer which measures the spherical, cylindrical and astigmatic axis. A test in 3nethra usually takes less than five minutes.
What makes it suitable for remote villages is that it needs only 10 watts of power and can run for four hours on a UPS. Many Indian villages are still off grid and the lack of electricity makes it impossible to carry instruments which require electricity. The portability and affordability of this device has enabled Forus health to reach out to more than 20 countries.
India is one of the countries where there is acute shortage of ophthalmologists. People have to form long queues in order to get an appointment. The problem becomes severe for people who live in remote villages. Diseases such as cataract, diabetic retinopathy etc. if detected at an early stage can be cured effectively. But in rural areas, the government sponsored diagnostics facilities, if at all they exist, are archaic to say the least. If the diagnostic centers are at distant places, villagers more often than not ignore their medical problems.
Companies like Topcon and FSL have been selling similar products in the market but when it comes to social entrepreneurship, the products and services cannot be costly. Forus health has achieved this objective by making its product cost effective. The Startup also showcased its innovations in Silicon valley in September 2015 attracting further attention from global stakeholders.
Image credit: Forus Health