Thursday, April 16, 2009

Frugal Innovation

Nano was hailed as being the worlds cheapest car. Tata engineers had to use frugal Innovation to ensure they made a car which could cost less. India as a culture had frugal built into it. Mostly because of the fight for resources given the density of population. One such area India is pioneering frugal innovation is healthcare.

The public sector has been overwhelmed, which is not surprising considering how little India’s government spends on health as a share of national income. Accordingly, nearly four-fifths of all health services are supplied by private firms and charities—a higher share than in any other big country

Some examples from this very interesting article in the Economist

“beating heart” surgery causes little pain and does not require general anaesthesia or blood thinners, patients are back on their feet much faster than usual. This approach, pioneered by Wockhardt, an Indian hospital chain, has proved so safe and successful that medical tourists come to Bangalore from all over the world.

Most of the new, expensive imaging machines are only a little better than older models. Meanwhile, vast markets for poorer patients go unserved. “We got out of this arms race a few years ago,” he says. Fortis now promises only that its scanners are “world class”, not the newest

International experts vouch that the care is good, not least because Aravind’s doctors perform so many more operations than they would in the West that they become expert. Furthermore, the staff are rotated to deal with both paying and non-paying patients so there is no difference in quality. Monitor’s new report argues that Aravind’s model does not just depend on pricing, scale, technology or process, but on a clever combination of all of them.
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