Medtronic LABS launches ear-screening initiative for Uber drivers in India
Preventive healthcare initiative to focus on potential hearing loss in drivers due to prolonged exposure to high noise Medtronic LABS, an independent entity supported by Medtronic (NYSE: MDT), today announced the launch of an ear-screening initiative
Preventive healthcare initiative to focus on potential hearing loss in drivers due to prolonged exposure to high noise
Medtronic LABS, an independent entity supported by Medtronic (NYSE: MDT), today announced the launch of an ear-screening initiative for drivers on the Uber platform across India. The testing will be conducted under Shruti, a flagship program of Medtronic LABS in India that has emerged as the country’s largest outreach program in the domain of ear care.
According to the annual CPCB report (Central Pollution Control Board), almost 80% of the noise monitoring stations under the National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network (NANMN) reported higher than permissible limits of noise. Further, industry reports have established that traffic and specifically honking are some of the leading contributors to the noise levels in various cities in India. Given the prolonged exposure of drivers to such noise levels, they are particularly at risk of noise induced hearing loss, which is one of the most common workplace disorders among drivers. Such hearing loss can detrimentally impact an individual’s quality of life and employment. Noise exposure is also a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
The ear screenings will help assess the adverse impact of prolonged exposure to traffic noise for drivers, and identify cases that need further medical attention. By addressing an often ignored health concern, this initiative will increase awareness about noise induced hearing loss and will aim to bring corrective measures to impact drivers’ lives.
Dr A K Agarwal, President- Society for Sound Hearing 2030, Ex-Dean and Prof. of Excellence, Dept of ENT, MAMC said, “Early intervention can play a significant role in minimizing negative consequences of hearing loss. Community based solutions that combine tele-otology and tele-audiology can aid in timely intervention, especially for at-risk populations such as the drivers. This is indeed a groundbreaking partnership between Shruti and Uber. More such organizations should come together to spread the need for ear care.”
The screening will be conducted using an innovative ear screening kit called the ENTraview which is a custom designed smart otoscope designed by Medtronic LABS. The kit has been specifically built for field usage and the initial screening takes less than 2 minutes. A telemedicine application on the device enables one to capture and transmit patient ID, symptoms, images of the ear and preliminary diagnosis to a cloud server which can then be accessed by a clinician. Those who might need additional assessment for hearing loss are further assessed using additional applications. For those who might need clinical intervention, Medtronic LABS shall provide possible treatment pathways as may be applicable.
Medtronic LABS is an innovator in the global health space that pioneers tech-enabled community health solutions for the underserved segment of the population.
Kaustubh Bhatnagar, Chief Operating Officer, Medtronic LABS said, “Hearing loss is an invisible disability and ear care in general is often ignored. Shruti has been a path breaking initiative that has created an enabling ecosystem across the ear care continuum. From innovative field screening tools, cloud infrastructure to treatment pathways- Shruti has been instrumental in taking ear care to the communities and has screened upwards of 10 lakh people and more. We are excited to partner with Uber to offer this comprehensive ear care program to their driver partners.
Over the years, Uber has launched several initiatives to improve the health and well being of drivers on its platform. These include free online doctor consultations and up to 20% discounts on medicines. Uber’s insurance partners also provide on-trip accident insurance drivers.
Shiva Shailendran, Director – Operations, India and South Asia, Uber said, “Drivers are at the heart of what we do at Uber. We’ve continually focused on the safety and well-being of driver partners and their families. Our partnership with Medtronic is another step to address an often overlooked health concern and improve their experience with Uber. We believe that this initiative will help raise awareness and bring meaningful change in drivers’ lives.”
Medtronic LABS will roll out this initiative one city at a time starting with Bangalore followed by Hyderabad and Pune before scaling to other cities. The screening program will be conducted at various strategic locations in each city to ensure that the maximum number of driver partners benefit from this initiative.