Cardiotrack on the CSR path
From skill development to potable water to rural banking to healthcare….CSR funding has been sought vociferously by the government, government aided bodies and non-governmental organizations. The argument put forward is that companies should transcend beyond just profit and loss and become corporate citizens by taking on real world issues, making it their own and solving them. If that is an argument that stands to reason then Cardiotrack is indeed the way forward for companies looking to deal with a particularly difficult health epidemic – cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Since epidemic is not a term that should be used lightly, here are some recent statistics from the WHO to justify its usage –
- CVD is the number one cause of death globally; more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause
- An estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012 representing 31% of all global deaths
- Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low and middle income countries
- People with cardiovascular diseases or who are at a high cardiovascular risk (due to the presence of one or more risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyper-lipedema or an already established disease) need early detection and management using counseling and medicines, as appropriate
In India especially the ratio of patients to cardiologists is an abysmal 7500:1, while the cost of an invasive procedure could be anything between USD 2,500 – 5,000. which roughly translates to the annual income of many people. Families on the edge of poverty are financially handicapped to meet the cost of a single intervention. This effectively ends the hopes and dreams of an entire generation. The result can be debilitating for the family and the nation.
Every general physician in every primary healthcare centre in semi-urban and rural India can bring about a revolution in cardiovascular care if equipped with a Cardiotrack device. She can then check the cardiac health of every person who comes into the clinic and ensure that there is minimal chance of an incident. A prevention methodology working on such a large scale will not just save lives. It will save families.
The role of CSR in this scenario can be as simple as a company procuring Cardiotrack devices and distributing it in several primary healthcare centres in a district or a state. This type of an approach could very well become part of a long-term CSR engagement of the company.
A more strategic approach would be to treat the entire activity as a ‘shared value’ proposition, where benefits to the organization and the society in which it is functioning are aligned. For example, a smartphone manufacturer ties up with Cardiotrack, so that the cardio readings are displayed on the smartphone. These smartphones are distributed to all doctors who use a Cardiotrack device. The business prospers and the health of the community improves. The brand value grows exponentially leading to better sales, because consumers love businesses that do good.
In the new world order where smart cities will soon become a reality, Cardiotrack fits in seamlessly with health networks of a city. Network connected Cardiotrack shares information between point of care and district hospitals seamlessly, health trends of the population are captured automatically which in turn provides a scientific basis for developing a sound healthcare plan for the community.
In this new context, the CSR strategy of an organization will become sharply focused, i.e. the data gathered from Cardiotrack’s readings will allow the organization to decide how to run its CSR program to deliver the biggest bang for its buck. For example a manufacturer of cooking oil can use these results to influence and improve people’s eating habits. Improving health outcomes of a population is high on the agenda of any CSR endeavor and Cardiotrack makes that happen.
CSR is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any company. If done properly it can add luster to the company’s brand value, give its employees a renewed sense of purpose and create an overall broad corporate commitment. Studies have shown that a company pursuing a sound CSR policy can attract high caliber talent. Cardiotrack adds to this list of advantages by allowing companies to take up a cause that will put them directly on the track to ensuring a heart-healthy nation. It is an ambition that any company with a conscience will be happy to pursue.