When guidance gives you a new lease of life

Navya, a platform for evidence-based expertise co-founded by US-based Gitika Srivastava, offers support to cancer patients

Published: 03rd February 2018 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2018 03:39 PM   |  A+A-

Gautam Ruparel

Gitika Srivastava, a graduate in computer science from Harvard, and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, felt her world going topsy-turvy when she found in 2007 that a very dear relative of hers had been diagnosed with cancer. 

Anxious, she along with her family, friends and a host of healthcare organisations went through the entire ramifications of research, consultations till they could come up with the best treatment. “We knew that science and data mattered, and we were advised that a hospital with a good Intensive Care Unit and a pathology lab of high repute was crucial,” she says.

Gitika Srivastava

Time was the most crucial factor. They were desperate to start the treatment immediately but were hampered by not knowing where to go. “Anxiety,” says Gitika, the cancer crusader, “is winning half the battle as it gets you on winged spurs to scour around for the best in treatments which are many and varied and do work. But you don’t know that until you have tried it.” Realising that knowledge from the world’s best experts with proven medical evidence is vital and the need of the hour, an idea was sown in Gitika’s mind and Navya was born in 2010.

Co-founded by Gitika, who is also the CEO, and Dr Naresh Ramarajan—who is from Harvard and an MD from Stanford—at Navya it is important for the patient to be involved in his/her care. Naresh functions as the chief medical officer at Navya.

Gitika learnt from her experience how important it is to be aware of all the options. There were two different treatment protocols available at two different centres. Only with a careful study of the clinical trial published in research papers and by discussing openly with three experts in the field, who were evidence-based in their practice, did Gitika and her family arrive at the right decision. The choice to receive treatment was driven by data, expertise and personal experience.

Gitika explains, “To replicate this for each and every patient, we need to rely on technology to build systems and service that can scale access to evidence-based expertise and ensure that their preferences and resource constraints are factored into decision-making. This is what Navya does.” After the patient registers on, he/she fills out the form and uploads his/her medical reports and decision questions. The patient must upload their reports as per Navya’s list of requirements. The fee for
the service is `6,500 for Indians and $150 for international patients.

Navya’s trained clinical staff analyse and extract relevant information from the patient’s medical reports into a structured case summary and present it to experts at Tata Memorial Centre and the National Cancer Grid, using Navya’s Expert App. The experts in the medical field respond and provide their opinion and the next best treatment plan. Often more than one expert is consulted for complex cases and multidisciplinary treatment opinions.

Patient preferences such as affordability of medication, willingness or physical ability are factored in. This is given to the experts in the tertiary centres. The app presents the most applicable evidence-based treatment options for each case. The expert then looks at the pertinent information and makes a decision on the treatment options. Balancing the need to act quickly, while ensuring that the decision is made with all relevant expert’s inputs is where Navya’s online expert opinion services becomes a powerful ally.

Step by step account of treatment

1. After a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the first step is to register on, fill out the form and upload medical reports and decision questions. A fee of `6,500 is charged.

2. Next, Navya’s trained clinical staff will analyse and extract relevant information from the patient’s medical reports into a structured case summary, which is then presented to the experts at Tata Memorial Centre and National Cancer Grid world tertiary centres using Navya’s Expert App

3. The experts then respond and provide their opinion on the best treatment plan

4. After that, Navya prepares the final case summaries of the patient with patient preferences such as affordability, willingness and physical ability factored in

5. This is given to the experts in the tertiary centres who are quick to review, and their report will state an opinion on the current or relevant treatments needed for the patient in a comprehensive manner



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