March 28, 2024

ACT For Health doubles down on Navya Care

Cancer ranks among the top five causes of death in India and according to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the number of cancer cases is estimated to increase from 26.7 million in 2021 to 29.8 million in 2025. However, the cancer treatment pathway in India faces significantsupply-side challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, a ratio of one oncologist per million people and high treatment costs (ranging from 64,000 to 1.3 lakh in government and private hospitals). Additionally, the fact is that despite 70% of the population living in rural areas, 95% of cancer centres are in urban cities, requiring patients to travel long distances, leading to financial and logistical challenges.

At the same time, a significant challenge is also non-compliance with standard treatment guidelines, which can result in undertreatment, leading to patients advancing to later stages of the disease with higher treatment costs and lower chances of survival. In some cases, overtreatment can occur, potentially leading to a decline in the quality of life and toxicity from certain treatments. To address these disparities in standard of care, the National Cancer Grid (NCG) was formed with a primary mandate of promoting uniform standards of care across India by adopting evidence-based treatment guidelines. However, a recent analysis showed less adherence to treatment guidelines despite having protocols for 70 common cancers for the Indian context.

To bridge the gap, innovative solutions like Navya Care utilise a technology-plus-service model to provide patients with personalised, evidence-based cancer treatment plans. A member of the NCG, Navya Care has collaborated with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) for over a decade, offering its online services to cancer patients nationwide.

In 2022, ACT supported Navya in developing an MVP of the Earthshot Engine for breast, oral and lung cancer, which matches a patient’s medical record with clinical guidelines from the NCG. The engine will assist doctors in making informed decisions about a patient’s treatment pathway, aligning with the guidelines of the NCG. Navya successfully developed the MVP and were able to show early impact like 12% increase in compliance to NCG guidelines, 40% reduction in non-mandatory patient visits and 33% increase in doctor’s bandwidth.

With the aim of taking this innovation to the last mile, ACT For Health is continuing to support Navya with a follow-on grant to conduct pilots in district hospitals and tertiary cancer care centres across Andhra Pradesh and Assam. The grant intends to enable Navya team to:

  • Validate the model and conduct extensive user testing for around 5000-10,000 patients to check the robustness of the engine.
  • Gather data related to clinical improvements, savings in physician time, patient movement, and adherence to NCG guidelines. 
  • Based on the pilot results, refine and finalise the business model and enhance the MVP of the Earthshot Engine to cover 70% of prevalent cancers.

We look forward to supporting the team in demonstrating value across stakeholders such as oncologists, general practitioners, and hospitals etc. through a hub-and-spoke model. This approach aligns with the government’s goal of decentralising cancer care, making it more accessible and affordable for Bharat.

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