Improving access to healthcare

Can you imagine living somewhere where your closest pharmacy is many kilometers from your home? Or where you wouldn’t have access to a doctor, nurse or pharmacy? That’s the reality for billions of people.


Overview

At least half of the world´s population cannot access essential healthcare services.[1] For example, there are around 2 doctors for every 10,000 citizens in Kenya – compared to 40 in many European countries.[2,3] But a shortage of healthcare workers is just one of the many challenges around delivering services to people living in many places in the world, particularly in rural areas.

At our company, we want to help solve this problem. We are seeking to develop new ways to offer affordable, accessible and quality primary healthcare for patients wherever they live. And to succeed, we are excited to take the opportunity to work in partnership with others.

Startups are often the perfect partner to collaborate and initiate pilot projects with. They usually have a very agile way of thinking and working, leading to a win-win situation for both startups and big corporates like us. But these companies also need support, resources and partners.

DID YOU KNOW?

50%

of the world’s population cannot access essential healthcare services.[4]

~2

doctors per 10,000 people in Kenya – compared to 40 in many European countries.[5,6]

~600

people from local communities attend health camps hosted by our CURAFA points of care initiative.

Working together to make the world a better place

Many startups are working to solve big issues in our world. We push great ideas forward. For that reason, our Accelerator program enables collaborations with startups who are working on clever solutions to real-life problems. 

We aim to establish strong and sustainable partnerships with startups to help them achieve their goals – so together, we can help shape the future or even the present. Startups gain access to our broad network with a clear goal from the very beginning: to develop collaboration projects as well as co-create solutions. 

A successful collaboration between the health tech startup iXensor and our CURAFA™ points of care team[7], initiated through the Accelerator, illustrates just how much can be achieved by working together – and how this can have a real impact on people´s lives.

Can technology help transform the delivery of healthcare?

In our increasingly globalized and connected world, making quality healthcare accessible for all has never been more important. Technology has transformative potential to change healthcare delivery, helping to provide more people around the world with access to better care.

For that reason, the multi-award-winning team[8] at iXensor is empowering data-driven healthcare with instant medical tests and seamless data synchronization. They are developing a range of mobile digital devices that can enable instant medical test results - for example, for people with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and those trying to conceive. These can reduce waiting times for test results from days to as little as three minutes, enabling on-the-spot healthcare advice for patients. 

Installing these devices within decentralized settings in the community, such as in pharmacies or clinics, has great potential to reduce medical costs and waiting times for patients. In addition to making health checks more accessible, it also allows data synchronization to the cloud in real-time, making analytics and medical interventions easy and timely.

The health tech startup took part in our 2019 Accelerator program at the Innovation Center at our HQ in Darmstadt, Germany. This led to a successful pilot study of one of their portable healthcare devices that could help transform the delivery of healthcare services to hard-to-reach communities around the world.

CURAFA - improving access to healthcare in emerging economies

Our CURAFATM points of care initiative aims to improve access to primary healthcare services for underserved communities in emerging economies.

We are currently piloting the concept with five facilities located outside Nairobi, Kenya. These are run by local entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical technologists, clinical officers and nurses who can deliver basic pharmaceutical and clinical services, medicines, digital health solutions, insurance, and patient financing schemes. 

Our hope is that these modern spaces, which are equipped with WiFi access, tablet PCs and refrigerators, will also provide a base for fellow innovators to collaborate on new scalable healthcare service solutions.

A perfect match leading to a successful pilot study

Both iXensor and the CURAFATM initiative are convinced that providing an integrated healthcare service with point of care portable healthcare devices offers the potential to improve patient outcomes.
 
The teams were swiftly connected after joining the Accelerator program at our Innovation Center in 2019. Through this partnership, iXensor conducted a successful pilot test of one of their portable healthcare devices within CURAFATM points of care facilities in Kenya. 

The study involved the PixoTest POCT System, which enables the delivery of instant clinical tests for people with diabetes (HbA1c) and cardiovascular diseases (lipid panel) within a single instrument. This helps to support the management of people with these common diseases by enabling on-the-spot advice for effective behavioral change. The pilot has now finished, with users and pharmacies giving a very good response to the operation of the device and tests.

“Participating in the Accelerator connected us to a broad network inside Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany – and opened doors for a unique collaboration,” says Alan Tsai, CEO and co-founder of iXensor.

What’s next for this collaboration?

The partnership continues to go from strength to strength. For example, iXensor is sponsoring several health camps hosted by CURAFATM points of care to promote its new services to local communities. Around 600 people attend these events.     

In future, iXensor aims to deliver PixoTest devices and services to different partners in Africa.

This is a great example of what can happen when a corporate and a startup join forces.” says Michael Gamber, Head of Innovation Center. “It’s especially relevant when collaboration can improve, or even save lives.

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