Welcare Health Systems
Preventing blindness through affordable eye screening solutions
Most people in India cannot afford to have their eyes screened for eye diseases or even corrective lenses. In India, there are only 9 ophthalmologists for one every million people compared with the USA which has 81 ophthalmologists for a million people. Even if India were able to close that gap through training more ophthalmologists, the cost of providing direct eye screening through onsite ophthalmologists using traditional eye screening equipment would not be affordable to most people in India.
Additionally, with 6 crore (60 million) diabetics, India is the diabetes capital of the world. Estimates are that up to 1 in 5 people in India will become diabetics. One of most common complications of diabetes is an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy, which if untreated can lead to irreversible blindness. This is a serious situation which requires eye screening on a massive scale to address.
Today, due to costs and technology limitations, eye screenings are only available in specialty ophthalmology centers. Additionally, the cost and accessibility of an eye screening is beyond the reach of most people in India. This creates a huge opportunity for new solutions for affordable eye screening services in India.
Welcare has pioneered an innovative approach, wherein Welcare sets up an affordable eye screening service inside existing diabetes centers, general hospitals, and other health centers. Welcare installs an innovative Internet-connected retinal screening device and trains a technician to operate the device with patients. Patient information including retinal images are securely transferred online to Welcare’s certified ophthalmologists for review and diagnostics. The results and recommendations for follow-up are then shared to the patient via staff at the facility they visited.
Welcare is able to dramatically lower the cost of an eye screening procedure – by more than 50% — making it much more accessible to the masses of high-risk patients. Existing health centers can now add quality eye screening services to better serve their clients and generate additional revenue. Existing ophthalmologists will also receive more referrals for eye disease interventions allowing them to operate with higher efficiency.
Welcare’s solution makes eye screening services available to large numbers of diabetics and other high risk low-income patients at a cost they can afford and at a convenient location. This makes regular eye screening accessible and therefore patients are more likely to have early detection of eye-related diseases (including diabetic retinopathy), many of which can be treated to prevent irreversible eye sight impact.
Over the next 5 years, Welcare is targeting to provide screening to 5 lakhs (500,000) high-risk patients in multiple cities across India which is expected to identify up to 1 lakh (100,000) patients with treatable eye diseases which can then be prevented.
Welcare Health Systems Private Ltd is an affordable eye screening services company which is operating quality eye screening services for the masses in India. Welcare sets up eye screening services within existing health centers making them accessible to patients at high-risk for eye diseases (such as diabetes) which could lead to blindness. Welcare leverages new technology for the screenings and keeps costs low by having certified ophthalmologists working remotely. Welcare is based in Chennai.