This blog was provided by Medtronic. This program recieved a plaque of commendation in the Innovation/Technology to Improve Health category of the 2015 GHC-GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards. 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 360 million people around the globe suffer from disabling hearing loss — nearly 5.3 percent of the world’s population.[1] Undiagnosed ear problems are particularly pervasive in India, where 77 percent of people with chronic ear infections will suffer from permanent hearing impairment due to a lack of public health awareness or limited access to ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists.[2]

The Medtronic Shruti Program is a social business initiative that harnesses the power of partners and technology to address this critical healthcare problem. Launched in 2013, the Shruti program brings sustainable, low-cost otology services — including education, screening, diagnosis, and treatment — to underserved communities, particularly in densely populated, low-income areas in six cities in India and Bangladesh.

Shruti’s trained community health workers go door-to-door screening residents for unchecked ear infections. At the screenings, health workers use a smartphone attached to an otoscope that uses a custom app to capture patient information and images of the ear canal and eardrum. People with infections, hearing loss or other problems are referred a Medtronic treatment partner, a local health care provider whose physicians can provide the care that patients need at a special rate affordable for Shruti patients.

Critical Success

In less than three years, the Shruti program has expanded from its original site in Delhi, India to include six sites across India and Bangladesh, with additional replications across India and eventually internationally already planned. The Shruti program has already performed 114,898 inner-ear screenings, diagnosed 43,383 people with ear infections and hearing loss, and helped 3,828 receive the treatment they need. This partnership has created an innovative healthcare ecosystem that can help solve a multibillion-dollar problem affecting underserved patients worldwide.


[1] World Health Organization, Deafness and Hearing Loss Fact Sheet.

Accessed Sept. 21, 2015.

[2] World Health Organization, “Chronic suppurative otitis media: Burden of Illness and Management Options.” Geneva, Switzerland, 2004.