From the Covid-19 test to teleconsultation, the current coronavirus situation in India has led to a spike in demands for non-traditional medical services.
To decrease the excess load on the healthcare system, some health-tech startups have been stretched beyond their capacity.
As the Covid-19 situation continues to worsen in metro cities due to lack of oxygen supply and ICU beds, the health-tech firms in India have expanded their business models and launched new services.
The Bengaluru-based telemedicine firm MFine has noticed an 80 per cent spike in online consultations all over India.
Since 2020, the number of people seeking teleconsultation has increased 10 times.
Currently, MFine, which has more than 4,000 doctors on its platform, is doing 12,000 medical consultations each day.
Over the last 14 months, the startup has launched several initiatives, including home RT-PCR tests, Covid-19 inflammation tests and high-resolution CT scans.
MFine, which has partnered with over 600 hospitals and 400 labs, has also launched a Covid homecare plan for Rs 2,499 for 15 days that covers four family members.
Under this plan, patients can get unlimited consultations with physicians, pulmonologists and dieticians.
The firm is also offering a proprietary algorithm-based application to measure the oxygen level in the blood (SPO2 level) using a smartphone camera.
Ashutosh Lawania, co-founder of MFine said that the firm has done sufficient testing and the measurements are precise.
Its beta version is currently available for Android users but soon its iOS version will be launched.
As per Lawania, since last year customer behaviours have changed a lot, while more patients are now willing to go for online medical consultation.
As reported by Moneycontrol, Dhruv Suyamprakasam, who is the founder of a Coimbatore-based telemedicine startup iCliniq, said that the platform also noticed demand increase of 8-9x in last year.
“While the demand came down in late 2020, the numbers are seeing 8-9x spike again over the last few weeks,” he added.
Both Suryamprakasam and Lawania agree that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the narrative for telemedicine in India.
According to Suryamprakasam, many non-Covid patients turned to telemedicine as they had nowhere to go.
During the pandemic Dozee, which is a remote health-monitoring platform, also became quite popular in the country.
This firm helps hospitals to monitor patients, using what is called a step-down ICU.
The company remotely tracks the key vitals of patients by using sensors under their beds and alert hospitals if there is any change.
Mudit Dandwate, the CEO of Dozee, believes that its technology backed initiative could take off the load from the healthcare system in India.
Dozee, which has partnered with over 150 hospitals, is now monitoring around 4,000 patients.
It has also launched a home care plan with a kit that includes a contactless sensor. The kit is available on e-commerce platforms for Rs 7,999.
The sensor will monitor heart rate, respiration, stress and sleep quality. If there is a change in the vitals the doctors and patient’s family will come to know.
But all these startups are also facing some challenges.
iCliniq, which has 50 employees, is planning to hire almost 30 to 35 people across various roles such as domain expert and content writing.
While explaining one of those challenges, Suyamprakasam said that well-funded companies are willing to pay more to the new hires and that makes it tough for iCliniq to get new people.
Lawania said that MFine has low capacity and the demand is way too high.
"It takes much longer to send reports and there is always a big queue,” he added.
In the case of Dozee, since the demand for step-down ICUs is increasing, it is also trying to expand its headcount from the current 29 employees.
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