Ebix Inc., has announced the launch of its telemedicine service, “Ask a Doctor,” throughout the state of Rajasthan. The service will be available at more than 33,000 kiosks throughout the Indian state, and is part of the state government’s eMitra initiative. Implemented in all 33 districts of Rajasthan, eMitra is an e-governance service targeting the 73.5 million people in the state, with a goal to improve their lives through education and keeping them aware of the benefits offered to them through franchisee-run kiosks.
Ebix, an Atlanta, Georgia-based international supplier of on-demand software and e-commerce services to the insurance, financial and healthcare industries, and the government jointly signed an agreement for the launch of the “Ask a Doctor” service, which will allow a resident to seek advice from a doctor about a health issue.
“The program is expected to solve healthcare issues faced by the people of Rajasthan, by empowering them to take early interventional steps to prevent health problems,” Ebix chief executive officer Robin Raina told the media in an e-mail. “Currently, there is a large gap between the medical needs of the people and the services being offered in the state.
“For instance, Rajasthan has only 1,528 primary health centers against a requirement of 2,326, and only 382 community health centers against a requirement of 581,” the Indian American added. “There are only 14 obstetricians and gynecologists at health centers against a requirement of 382, and only 148 general physicians at health centers against a requirement of 1,528.”
With 22,000 of the 33,000 kiosks in rural areas, the service will benefit residents who would not normally have such access to doctors and medical specialists across the globe, by making a small payment – which was not disclosed.
Ebix has a network of about 15,000 physicians and surgeons from 50 specialties.
The service will be available for citizens 24 hours a day in Hindi. After asking the doctor a question, the individual will likely receive an answer – through e-mail or on their phone – within a day. It will also offer the person a chance to write a health question and attach a picture or upload a lab report.
“We are excited to be partnering with the government of Rajasthan to provide expert medical advice to the citizens of the state in every remote corner of this large state,” Raina said. “The expanse of this effort and what it sets out to do can be further outlined by the rich cultural diversity that defines the glorious state of Rajasthan across the world.”
While Ebix is making a statement by expanding its services into India, there is more planned down the not-too-distant future as it continues to strive to be the largest on-demand financial and insurance software vendor in the world, according to Raina.
“We intend to invest up to $120 million in India over the next two years. We expect to double our work force in India over the next 12 to 24 months,” he told India-West. “The company intends to grow both organically and inorganically, while trying to be a responsible company in terms of playing its part in community development.”