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Understanding mHealth, eHealth and ICT in the context of CSR in India

By Akshay Bhole On 07 May 2017
Understanding mHealth, eHealth and ICT in the context of CSR in India

India suffers from acute healthcare inequalities. Almost 75 per cent of its healthcare infrastructure and resources are concentrated in urban areas where only 27 per cent of the population lives. Nearly nine in 10 rural patients have to travel more than eight kilometres just for basic medical services. Existing clinics often do not provide quality healthcare.

A few businesses have taken the responsibility to make healthcare accessible to all by leveraging technology. We present a few such initiatives as an introduction of mhealth and eHealth projects in CSR in India.

mHealth - The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined mHealth as the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives.

mHealth is a tool which can be used for promoting healthy behaviours and strengthening health systems. (Source: WHO, 2011; The Boston Consulting Group, 2012)

What is mHealth, eHealth and ICT ?

mHealth, eHealth and Information and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are interrelated terms.

ICT: This tool facilitates communication and the collection, storage, processing and transmission of information and the sharing of knowledge by electronic means. It include the Internet, computers, servers, teleconference systems, radios, televisions, landline telephones, telemedicine devices, mobile telephones and other wireless devices.

Applications of ICT are involves in mHealth and eHealth both.

mHealth is the use of mobile and wireless ICTs for health, including mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices, but not laptops or servers.

eHealth is the application of ICTs for health, including laptop and desktop computers and servers, television and radio, teleconferencing systems, and all of the devices used in mHealth.

WHO illustrated relationship between mHealth and eHealth with following diagram. In other words mHealth is a subset of eHealth.


Why mHealth is important?

1. Rapid growth of mobile phone users.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), there are more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide in 2015, which was 738 million in 2000. As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in India there were 1,078.42 million subscription in 2016 and the number was 3.1 million in 2000.

2. Innovation in mobile technologies

Mobile technology companies constantly innovate and improve mobile phones, other wireless devices and software applications to keep up with the competition. These rapid technology advances offer new possibilities for supporting health and health systems.

Software developers developed a range of innovative mobile applications that can be adapted for different contexts and needs.


  1. Open Source group-messaging platform like Spika, FrontlineSms that works with a laptop connected to a mobile phone or modem. It allows users to send, receive and manage text message interactions with large groups of people. The software works without Internet access, is easy to set up and simple to operate.
  2. Mobile app like India Fight Dengue developed by National Health Portal can be used by community to get knowledge about dengue like check Dengue Symptoms, gets nearest Hospital / Blood bank information as per current geographical location, pictorial display for Ensure Dengue Mosquito free area, to check Myths and Facts for Dengue application, to know Do's and Don'ts for prevention of Dengue etc.

3. Task Shifting and other health system need

Task Shifting- “The rational redistribution of tasks among health workforce teams. Specific tasks are moved, where appropriate, from highly qualified health workers to health workers with shorter training and fewer qualifications in order to make more efficient use of the available human resources for health.” (WHO, PEPFAR, and UNAIDS, 2008)

Expansion of community based service can be done with mHealth and Task shifting with short term training to field health workers. Work like medical data collection, medical records and logistics solutions can be shift.

Limitations of mHealth

  1. Gender gap in mobile phone ownership - Women use phones less frequently and intensively than men, especially mobile internet. In India, women are 38 % less likely to own mobile phone it may affect on mHealth.
  2. Availability of mobile services - is still limited in many rural areas. At least 10 percent of the population and 40 percent of people in the least developed countries are not covered by a mobile network. Though in many villages services are available but coverage is a still problem .
  3. Literacy – writing and reading capability is a problem while handling mHealth. In India still 26 % population is illiterate and many people does not know how to make cal or send a sms.
  4. Lack of electricity to recharge phones limits the use of mobile.

(Source: Wesolowski A, et.al, 2012; Blumenstock 2010; GSMA and A.T. Kearney 2012; UNDP 2012; ITU, Measuring the Information Society, 2012 )


Companies that are working to increase the usage of mHealth techniques through CSR programmes:

1. Narayana Hrudayalaya Limited

In collaboration with Global E-Business Operations Pvt. Ltd. (HP) and Narayana Hrudayalaya Charitable Trust.

Technology - Hp Cloud enabled

Current centres – 11

Launched - in Pyradanga in April 2014.


Project Details


Project Spend (in Lac)


E Health Centre

Pan India

Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan

Direct – 7.35

Overhead -3.67

Total – 11.02



2 Cisco

Cisco is running Project Samudaya and goal of the project was to create a modern, rural community by giving it access to urban amenities such as quality healthcare and education.

In 2009, Raichur district of karnatak affected by flood. The wider damage affected over 18 million people. Cisco committed to construct a total of 3600 houses, two schools, and a healthcare center in five flooded villages as part of Project Samudaya (community), In two-year they have spend $10 million

Aim – Cisco wanted to enable access to basic urban amenities through its innovative solutions for education, healthcare, and skills development delivered over a secure cloud architecture using collaboration suite and video as the primary interface.

Target Groupcommunities in five villages in Raichur District.

Date From which the Project became Operational1-10-2010

HealthPresence ( wing of Cisco CSR ) has helped to improve access to medical treatment and access to specialist consultants. Thousands of patients have benefited.

Cisco partnered with the Karnataka government and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to rebuild the physical infrastructure with network technology to better access quality healthcare.

Achievements of Cisco HealthPresence

  1. Built PHC with presence of cisco HealthPresence
  2. 6000 Consultation has done with help of HealthPresence 

Funding, In 2016 CISCO spend 244.47 lakhs on healthcare and education.

3. HP (Hewlett Packard)

eHealth Centers

This clinics are design to serve communities that often lack doctors, functional clinics, Internet access, or even electricity.

The eHealth Center was officially launched on December 11, 2012 and in just six months was rolled out in three different locations, Chausala, Lakhimpur and Aliabad, which together recorded more than 18,000 patient visits

HP India partnership with the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (India) and other reputable, leading healthcare providers and NGOs.

eHealth Centers are fully equipped with key medical diagnostic equipment and HP workstations, open electronic medical records (EMR) systems and HP cloud-enabled technology. This framework allows on-site staff members to perform diagnostic tests and send results to doctors half a world away for a remote diagnosis, or consult off-site specialists in real time using the solution’s integrated videoconferencing features.

HP was also approached by Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital to roll out eHCs in Calcutta and Guwahati, taking the concept to new states. By September 2014 the six established eHCs had recorded over 48,000 patient visits.

Total Number of eHCs: 46 eHCs

Locations: Installed across 17 states in India

Registered Patients: 136, 000

Number of Consultations: 2,03,000 (OPD) Total Number of Paramedics / Health Workers: 101

 Total Number of Doctors: 27


 Toatal 1.37 cr ( Total )

For, ehealth Cente in Northeast Rs. 7 cr has been donated by HP to the APPL Foundation.


4. Jindal Steel and Power

Technology - HP Cloud enabled

Established in – 2012

Centres - 6

Patient Visited – 50000

Project Detail: e-Health Centres, Village Health Camps, Multi-speciality Health Camps, Population Stabilisation (Kishori Express, LTT etc.), Adolescent Healthcare programs, HIV/ AIDS awareness, Referral support to poor, Free Medicine to Community, Emergency Ambulance Service, Construction of Toilet & sanitation facilities, Installation of overhead tanks with pipeline supply, Drinking water tank to villages, Combat Malnutrition

Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Patratu, Jeraldabaru, Godda (Jharkhand), Angul, Barbil, Tensa (Odisha), Etalin (Arunachal Pradesh)

Project spend: 5.75 Lac

Implementation by: JSPL Foundation

5. Landmark Group

Programme – GET ACTIVE

Under the CSR initiative of Landmark group in association with  ATHS (Apollo Tele Health Services )

Location – Bengaluru

Details - The program includes assessment of ‘risk factors’ for Non Communicable Disease (NCD), screening, diet & lifestyle modification counselling and tele consultation


6. RailTel

During 2013-14, Railtel took up project for providing broadband and Desktop to enable eHealth in rural Primary healthcare centres (PHC). Further, that PHC were connected with speciality hospital to provide initial medical consultancy and counselling to the rural population for further medical attention.

Railtel provided each PHC – HP all in one desktop, model no. HP-18-1206 with inbuilt webcam and speaker, 18.5” led monitor and APC UPC model no. BR 1100





Daskroi , Ahmedabad


Panappakkam Panchayat, Nemili, Vellore


Punnai, Nemili, Vellore


Melkalathur, Nemili, Vellore


Attupakkam, Nemili, Vellore


Daria ,Chandigarh


Panisagar, North Tripura


Jalabasa, Panisagar, North Tripura




7. Piramal Group

Piramal Swasthya

Telemedicine service - Telemedicine initiatives and have reached 15254 beneficiaries through 44 telehealth centres across India. Piramal Swasthya’s telemedicine solution has the ability to serve all basic primary and secondary healthcare needs of the population


This model to deliver the services of a doctor to the doorsteps of rural populations. eSwasthya rural healthcare delivery model by deploying state-of-the-art information technologies provides quality healthcare access to remote & underserved areas of rural India.

Project Details


Project Spend (in cr)


Providing Primary Healthcare to Rural population

Rajasthan Telangana Andhra Pradesh Assam Karnataka Maharashtra


Piramal Swasthya Management & Research Institute


As per the CSR analysis of BSE-listed companies and private limited unlisted companies for FY 2015-16, healthcare projects are among the second preferred CSR projects, after education, receiving close to one fourth of the total CSR spent (when accounted with WASH programmes as per the Schedule VII). With India taking giant leaps in technology and smart villages along with RURBAN mission of Government of India, in alignment with the New Health Policy, there is immense scope to integrate technology in healthcare, and leverage e-health and m-health for the benefit of communities.

(In case you have a similar initiative or would like to write more on such topic, please write to us at bhomik@ngobox.org )

Tag : CSR mHealth eHealth Healthcare India CSR CSR in India

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