Medical crowdfunding and COVID-19: awareness and perception of healthcare professionals and role of crowdfunding platforms in India
Keywords:Medical crowdfunding, COVID-19, Healthcare professionals, Crowdfunding platforms, Awareness, Perception
Background: In developing countries like India, where out-of-pocket expenditure forms a large part of overall health spending, crowdfunding can be an alternative to ease peoples’ financial burden. The COVID-19 pandemic in India imposed a huge financial strain on people causing many to turn to crowdfunding to pay for their medical expenses. Health professionals can play an important role in raising awareness among people regarding medical crowdfunding. The aim of the study was to assess the awareness and perception about crowdfunding among health care professionals and analyse COVID-19 relief campaigns run by selected crowdfunding platforms in India.
Methods: A mixed methods study was conducted including cross-sectional online survey among healthcare professionals and secondary analysis of COVID-19 relief campaigns run by crowdfunding platforms in India.
Results: Among 155 participants in our study, 121 (78%) were aware about crowdfunding and most of them (93%) had come to know about crowdfunding during the pandemic. Participants who had previously known someone who required funds to support their medical treatment had greater knowledge regarding crowdfunding (p=0.04) and believed that crowdfunding can reduce individual financial burden (p=0.02). However, 30% participants did not trust online crowdfunding platforms to be genuine. Three crowdfunding platforms (Ketto, Milaap and Impact Guru) were analysed for COVID-19 relief campaigns- most campaigns were run to raise funds for medical oxygen/oxygen concentrators.
Conclusions: We found that previous experience of unmet financial need affects both knowledge and trust in medical crowdfunding. There is a need to improve awareness and confidence related to crowdfunding among health care professionals.
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