Explain what the "innovation" is about, e.g., is it the idea and/or the model you use to accomplish the idea, or your understanding of the target population, etc.?
Outside of Tier I and Tier II cities, there is currently no distribution blood glucose strips within villages. Patients are also unable to purchase them individually, unlike many products in India, which results in higher upfront costs and increases the barriers to purchasing the product. Blood glucose monitors currently retail at 4000 rupees, or roughly $80. We believe by lowering the cost of the strip, and layering it with a peer-based service model where the monitor is used free-of-cost, the patient will be financially empowered to make informed decisions regarding their own health purchases.
This model is meant to ensure scalability across states within India and even beyond as it addresses a critical need in the public health system. It provides a win-win for all stakeholders; free marketing to institutions for affordable follow-up treatment; increases patient flow; and provides significant opportunity for employing women and educating entire communities.
Describe how your innovation model is distinct from any other organization in your field?
Sucre Blue trains and employs low-income village women outside of Bangalore to be community health workers within their communities. This peer-based approach uses women who have a background in either treating a diabetic within their household, or themselves. Each community health worker is responsible for going door-to-door to screen, diagnose, and provide affordable blood glucose strips to those with hypertension, diabetes, or cardiac issues.
For each diagnosis, the community health worker follows up with the individual patient and uses SMS technology to collect and send patient data across to the partnered clinical institution. Each patient will also have the ability to buy the blood glucose strips, which currently retail at 25 rupees for a discounted rate of 15.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
Sucre Blue leverages existing resources within the healthcare system and uses it to connect on a grassroots level. What this means is we establish partnerships across stakeholders- from clinics, to the government, and the public health system. We provide incentives to get everyone involved despite their differences to ensure patients have every available option to them, but they agree on the basic need for this program as a way to prevent unnecessary strain on an already burdened system by empowering women with the tools they need to take care of their community.
How do you make sure you constantly innovate in light of (potential) external challenges, or your growth plan?
Our first priority is listening to the needs of our customers and our community health workers. Since our model relies off the peer mentoring and support of those with chronic illness, our obligation lies with making sure they are healthy before going into the field. That they are able to bring the right message, because their own lives have improved with this program, or the lives of those they are caregiving for. These village women are our ultimate support, and without their continued faith in our efforts, we would be unable to move forward.